Pendleton Preservation Series

What is the Preservation Series?

These USA-made wool blankets are part of our Preservation Series, a unique collection that recreates historic weavings from across the Americas. Pendleton designers collaborate with museum curators and private collectors to select noteworthy work, establish provenance, and attribute historical textiles to the original weavers when possible. The descriptions of dyes, materials, sizes and age are drawn from curator notes on the original weavings. Each wool blanket is expertly dyed, woven and hand-finished in our American mills.

A portion of sales from each blanket helps fund Native American art and education programming and outreach at the Fort Lewis College Foundation and the Center for Southwest Studies.

Please note: many of the descriptions below refer to the curator notes on the original weavings. Pendleton’s versions are made of 82% wool/18% cotton, and are 64″ x 80″ unless otherwise noted.

PS01 – Early Navajo (Diné) Sarape, 1800-1850 

Pendleton Preservation Series blanket PS01 face (front).

This very early weaving contemporary with the Ute-style First Phase Chief blanket. This unusual early sarape combined the simple striped and terraced stepped design elements in use at the time without incorporating red bayeta yarns. Woven of indigo-dyed blue, indigo with vegetal-dyed green, and natural white hand-spun churro wool yarns.  The color scheme suggests a Rio Grande Valley influence. Based on an original weaving in The Durango Collection®  (DC-NC-43), Center of Southwest Studies Collection #2000:03007

Pendleton Preservation Series blanket PS01 reverse.

This design is the first in the Preservation Series to be offered as a bedding collection in multiple sizes. Choices are Twin (or robe), Queen, and King, with matching standard-sized shams offered as well. These blankets are completely made in the USA of virgin wool on a cotton warp.

See more information on the blanket here: PS01 

PS02 – Navajo (Diné) Child’s Blanket, 1870

Pendleton Preservation Series blanket PS02 face (front).

These weavings are referred to as child’s blankets because of their small size, complex patterning, and tight weave. This blanket is a wonderful example of the late Classic Period, and incorporates Spider Woman crosses in the design. The variation in the red color comes from red trade cloth that weavers unraveled and respun. Other colors are handspun gray and white wool and vegetal-and-indigo-dyed yarns. Based on an original weaving in The Durango Collection® (DC-NC-51), Center of Southwest Studies Collection #2000.03007

Pendleton Preservation Series blanket PS02 reverse.

Though the original weaving on which we’ve based this blanket is referred to as a “child-size blanket,” the Pendleton version is woven in our traditional robe size of 64″ x 80″. The crosses represent Spider Woman, a powerful teacher and benefactor in Navajo legends who taught the art of weaving to the Dine/Navajo people. Her traditional home is atop the Spider Rock formation in the Canyon de Chelly National Monument.

See more information on the blanket here: PS02 

PS03

Pendleton Preservation Series blanket PS03 face (front).

This unusual early striped Zuni blanket incorporates design elements found in Spanish-American weavings from the Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico. A combination of simple bands with central diamond and stepped designs was woven of handspun natural gray, dyed greens, indigo-dyed blue, plied commercial yarns, and red “Bayeta” wool. This design is based on an original weaving in The Durango Collection®, Center of Southwest Studies Collection.

Pendleton Preservation Series blanket PS03 reverse.

Bayeta is a red woolen flannel that has been raveled and respun. According to the Donald Ellis Museum website:

The term “bayeta” refers to bolts of machine-woven red flannel. Bayeta also refers to red yarns raveled from bolts of red flannel. By 1830, Navajo weavers were accomplished at dying handspun yarns with indigo but lacked the ability to dye handspun yarns with cochineal, which produced a deep red color in woolen yarns. The weavers’ only sources of red yarns were the yarns they raveled from bolts of red flannel imported either from England or Spain. Known among the Navajo and the Spanish as “baize” or “bayeta,” and among Anglo- Americans as “red stroud” or “red trade cloth,” red flannel was used for garment insulation by Anglo- American and Spanish-American settlers.

You can read more of that museum’s fascinating history of Bayeta yarn here: Donald Ellis Museum 

See more information on the blanket here: PS03 

Made in USA label with eagle for Pendleton

Serapes for Spring & Summer

 

Serape on Film

Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in a promotional shot from "Killers of the Flower Moon." Photo used bypermission of Apple Original Films.

Ah, the serape. This bold striped blanket reads modern, but it has been around a long time. In fact, a (very) vintage Pendleton Serape will be featured in Martin Scorcese’s upcoming Apple Original film, Killers of the Flower Moon. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Ernest Burkhart and Lily Gladstone plays Mollie Burkhart in the film depicting the true story of the Osage tribe murders in the 1920s. In this promo shot (courtesy Apple Original Filsms), Lily Gladstone is wrapped in a vintage Pendleton fringed shawl serape, provided to the film by our friend and vintage blanket expert Barry Friedman. 

Serape History

The serape’s roots are in the Mexican weaving tradition, but it is now common to both Spanish and Native American textiles. Here’s a photo of a Native family in a historic Babbitt Brothers wagon with a serape peeking over the edge. This was taken in the Southwest, where the Babbitts plied (and still ply) their trade.

HistoricBabbitWagonEdit2

Colorful, sturdy and functional, this blanket shawl was part of life in the traditional Mexican home. It could serve as clothing, bedding, and shelter. The serape is known by many names throughout Mexico, including chamarro, cobiga, and gaban. It can be woven of a variety of materials and patterns but is generally lighter in weight. Different regions use different palettes, from the elegant neutrals of the Mexican highlands to the bold gradients of Coahuila.

Serapes Today

Pendleton serapes hang on pegs in front of a white wall, with more folded on a crate.

Pendleton’s serapes are woven of 82% wool/18% cotton in bands of gradient colors to achieve that beautiful eye-popping dimensional effect. This is your perfect spring and summer blanket, just waiting to be invited along wherever you go. And this year we have a new design in Aqua.

Pendleton Aqua Serape

All made in the USA and available at www.pendleton-usa.com .

Made in USA label with eagle for Pendleton

Bring the Great Outdoors to Your Wrist with Pendleton’s Bands for Fitbit

A young woman holds a Pendleton blanket wearing a Pendleton Fitbit device

An exciting new collaboration

From running local trails to exploring the great outdoors, Fitbit goes on every kind of journey with you. That’s why we are excited to partner with a company that shares our zest for adventure.

The logo for the Fitbit x Pendleton collaboration

Fitbit helps people lead healthier, more active lives by empowering them with data, inspiration and guidance to reach their goals. Fitbit designs products and experiences that track and provide motivation for everyday health and fitness. Through this collaboration, Fitbit brings iconic Pendleton patterns to an original accessory collection for Fitbit Versa 3TM and Fitbit SenseTM.

These heritage-inspired woven bands are made with REPREVE® recycled plastic fibers for thoughtful, sustainable style that brings nature’s energy and beauty straight to your wrist. We’re sure you’ll fall in love with these two bands as much as we’re excited to bring them to you.

A young woman wearing a Pendleton Fitbit on her wrist and a Pendleton blanket around her shoulders

Blue/Grey Canyonlands

The Canyonlands band celebrates the grand pinnacles of the famous rocks that create Utah’s skyline, and embodies the movement of sunlight skimming across the state’s canyons.

 young woman wearing a white sweater and a Pendleton Fitbit device

Blue/Pink Basket Maker

The Basket Maker band pattern pays tribute to the traditional basket weaving techniques of traditional basket makers in the American Southwest, the Yavapai. These skilled artisans wove baskets so tightly that they could carry grain and hold water— and wove patterns so intricately that their artwork still lives on in museums, and as highly prized family pieces that have stood the test of time.

See both bands and the new Fitbit Versa 3 device here: Pendleton and Fitbit

This collaboration is a place where heritage and high tech unite. Both iconic bands are designed to work with Fitbit Versa 3 and Sense—so you can focus on the adventure ahead of you.

The Craftsman Collection – From Our Hands to Yours

Three blankets hang over a branch.

A new collection

In 1909, three Bishop brothers opened a mill in Pendleton, Oregon, to weave trade blankets in dazzling colors and patterns. Over one hundred years later, we are excited to bring you The Craftsman Collection celebrating the history, artistry, and craftsmanship of our blankets.

For the introduction, we chose three patterns with stories to tell; Canyonlands, Journey West, and Sierra Ridge. These patterns have been recolored and specially dyed to evoke vintage blankets. One side of each blanket is napped for softness and warmth. The reverse is unnapped, to smoothly showcase the geometry of our exclusive Pendleton patterns. Hand-cut rounded corners recall the shape of blankets from the earliest days of the mill.

On the loom: Canyonlands

Canyonlands celebrates the amazing natural wonders of Utah’s Canyonlands National Park.

Canyonlands Craftsman Collection blanket by Pendleton

To quote the National Park Service, “Canyonlands invites you to explore a wilderness of countless canyons and fantastically formed buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Rivers divide the park into four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers themselves. These areas share a primitive desert atmosphere, but each offers different opportunities for sightseeing and adventure.”

See it here: Canyonlands, Craftsman Collection

Journey West

This dynamic blanket celebrates the pioneering spirit of our founder, weaver Thomas Kay, who journeyed to America from England, arriving in Oregon in 1863. Its design was inspired by a blanket discovered in a 19th-century European mill that included the designer’s notes and calculations handwritten neatly along the sides.

Journey West Craftsman Collection blanket by Pendleton

The pattern highlights the universal appeal of geometric shapes and lines. The hooked patterns inside the large diamonds are common symbols of luck and prosperity. Its quality and beauty is a tribute to the generations of weavers that have continued Thomas Kay’s legacy of quality and excellence.

See it here: Journey West for the Craftsman Collection

Sierra Ridge

Sierra Ridge is the third offering in the Craftsman Collection. The Sierra Nevadas are the traditional grounds of many Native peoples. The Sierra Miwok, Mono, Kawaiisu, Northern Paiute and Tubatulabal tribes have lived and hunted here over the ages. The Paiutes called the range’s highest granite peak Tumanguya, or, “the Very Old Man.” Also called Mt. Whitney, it is the highest point in the contiguous United States. The mountains of the 100-mile range are represented by stepped peaks, with arrows guarding the streams and rivers of the Great Basin watershed.

Sierra Ridge Craftsman Collection blanket by Pendleton

See Sierra Ridge here: Sierra Ridge for the Craftsman Collection

Packed with care by hand

Each blanket in the Craftsman Collection is labeled and hand-packed in a special box with a presentation card.

Special commemorative box for the Craftsman Blanket COllection by Pendleton

If you’d like to learn more, you can see the blankets here: Pendleton’s Craftsman Collection Blankets

Thistle for Spring

Why thistle?

There are two stories behind Pendleton’s affinity with thistle. One is about the thistle’s long-ago part in getting fleece ready for weaving.

The process of carding wool cleans, mixes and smooths fibers as part of the transformation of fleece into yarn. The word “carding,” from the Latin carduus, means thistle or teasel. In weaving’s earliest days, dried teasels and thistles were used to pick raw wool as the first step in carding.

Once wool was spun and woven, handheld combs called “teasel crosses” were used to ‘full’ woven goods to raise the nap. You can see one here: teasel cross  So you can understand our love for a plant that was an actual tool for wool processing!

Tartans & Pendleton

The thistle stands fair and tall, with a nectar-filled flower that is well-protected. This duality of nectar and spike befits the national bloom of Scotland, home to the tartans for which Pendleton Woolen Mills is renowned. Our affinity for tartans is so strong that Pendleton used thistle-patterned buttons on many items of tartan womenswear in the 1950s through the 1970s.

You can see those buttons and learn about the vintage skirt that inspired our modern Thistle pattern in this video. It features some of our favorite designers talking about adapting vintage inspiration to modern designs.

Thistle for Spring

We took our Thistle inspiration into Spring with lighter weight wool, for a versatile layer that keeps you just the right amount of warm during transitional weather. It’s a lined dress-up-or-down jacket with a flattering neckline, cozy cuffs, neck and hem, and those all-important pockets. The fabric is woven in our own USA mills.

A woman with long blond hair stands in front of a white background, wearing black pants and a black wool zip-up jacket with blue thistle flowers in the fabric pattern.

We love the colors. Check it out here: Thistle Bomber Jacket  

New for Spring 2019 – Spirit Seeker

A bed made up with the Pendleton Spirit Seeker blanket.

Happy Spring!

Another beautiful blanket for Spring 2018 has arrived at the website!

Spirit Seeker

The Spirit Seeker blanket is predominantly woven in indigo and cream. Accent colors of lime green, orange and fuchsia are used sparingly in complex bands of arrows and flowers. It’s a beautiful arrangement of line and color!

The front of the Pendleton Spirit Seeker blanket.

The blanket’s reverse lets the accent colors shine.

The back of the Pendleton Spirit Seeker blanket.

Spirit Seeker:

The quest for knowledge leads the spiritual seeker on many paths. In Australia, bush people go on ritual wanderings known as walkabouts. The Babongo people of Africa have a rebirthing ritual that includes a journey to find spiritual truth.  Native Americans from many different tribes go on vision quests, rites of passage that include fasting, prayer, and a solitary journey to find life’s purpose. Spirit Seeker celebrates Spirit Seekers and their journeys with multi-directional arrows bordering a medallion, the central truth reached by multiple paths.

Perfect for Spring, perfectly Pendleton.

Pendleton logo label that shows a drawing of a bald eagle, and the words: "Pendleton since 1863 Highest Quality Made in the USA." This blanket is sewn onto all Pendleton's traditional wool blankets, which are still 00% made in the USA.

Pendleton Fabric Expertise – A Story of Generations

A Century of Weaving

Pendleton textiles are renowned for their quality, beauty and craftsmanship. Where did we learn to make fabric like this? Our expertise is generational, earned over a century of weaving in America.

The Beginning

The company known today as Pendleton Woolen Mills actually had its genesis in one mill; the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill in Salem, Oregon, founded by Thomas Kay, a master weaver from England.

A photo of the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill in Salem, Orebon. This 2.5 story building is red brick with rows of white-trimmed windows.

Thomas Kay brought extensive knowledge to his own mill, after a career that started in his childhood as a bobbin boy, and grew into management of large mills in the UK and the US before he finally opened his own. He specialized in fabrics for tailoring, and produced the first bolt of worsted wool west of the Mississippi.

The Next Generation

His daughter, Fannie Kay, became her father’s protégé in her teen years. She learned weaving and mill management at her father’s side. Fannie Kay became Fannie Bishop upon her marriage to Charles P. Bishop, a prominent Salem merchant. Their three sons opened the Pendleton Woolen Mill in Pendleton, Oregon, in 1909. That mill is still running today! The Kay/Bishop history extends through today’s Pendleton. The Bishop family still owns and operates Pendleton Woolen Mills. And Pendleton’s fabric expertise grows each year, as we challenge ourselves to do more with wool.

Today’s Mills

Fabric weaving was once a major industry in the United States, with more than 800 mills in operation. Today only a handful of those mills remain.  Our facilities in Pendleton, Oregon, and Washougal, Washington, are two of the very few woolen mills still operating in North America.

Pendleton, Oregon

This photo is a vintage postcard image of the Pendleton, Oregon woolen mill. The building is grey brick, with rows of windows trimmed in white, and large front doors on the first, second and third floors at the front of the building.

The Pendleton, Oregon mill opened in 1909, taking over a defunct wool-scouring plant on the banks of the Columbia River and transforming it into a full mill under the direction of Clarence, Roy and Chauncey Bishop. The location had been scouted by Fannie Kay Bishop, who encouraged her sons to make use of the existing building, the nearby Columbia River, and the supply of high quality wool fleece available from local sheep ranchers.

The company’s original products were wool blankets for Native American customers. Today, the Pendleton mill is open for tours. Travelers can watch those world-famous blankets being woven on two-story looms.

Washougal, Washington

Our Washougal facility sits on the banks of the Columbia River at the entry to the scenic Columbia River Gorge. The Washougal community helped fund the startup of this mill in 1912, and it has been a major employer in this small Washington town ever since.

A vintage sepia-toned photo of the Washougal woolen mill owned by Pendleton Woolen Mills. The mill is two stories tall and in the photo, it is dwarfed by two water towers.

The additional mill gave Pendleton the ability to weave a wider variety of fabrics.

AirLoom Merino (found in our Sir Pendleton shirts) and Umatilla woolen fabric (found in so many of our flannel shirt styles) are both woven in Washougal, as well as fabrics for the women’s line.

Its roots may be historic, but the Washougal mill is a 300,000-square-foot model of modern efficiency. Mill owners come from around the world to tour it, and to learn about Pendleton’s weaving techniques, dyeing processes, and fabric finishing.

The Fabrics

Pendleton Woolen Mills has maintained the quality and craftsmanship of its textiles through decade upon decade of manufacturing in its own facilities. This allows us to maintain quality control from start to finish, from fleece to fashion. Our state-of-the-art computer dyeing technology controls water, dyes, heat, and more. Carding machines, looms and finishing processes are also computer-controlled, allowing for minute adjustments to guarantee uniformity of weave, weight and hand.

Eleven different Pendleton woolen fabrics in a line, showing the different weights and patterns woven on the Pendleton looms.

We can perfect it because we control it, and it shows in our fabrics. We will be exploring some of those special fabrics in the months to come. We hope you’ll follow along.

PWM_USA_label

Artist profile: In Their Element by Joe Toledo

On the wall hangs the Pendleton Legendary Series blanket, "In Their Element" designed by artist Joe Toledo. The blanket design contains four eagle feather, a mountain range, and a herd of grazing buffalo.

Legendary Series

In Their Element is a blanket in the Pendleton Legendary series, created from an original watercolor painting by artist Joe Toledo.

Pendleton Legendary Series blanket, "In Their Element" designed by artist Joe Toledo. The blanket design contains four eagle feather, a mountain range, and a herd of grazing buffalo.

In Their Element

Eagle feathers and bison are sacred symbols in Native American culture. Navajo artist Joe Toledo uses these symbols in his painting, “In Their Element,” representing three elements; Earth, Air and Water. A herd of bison graze on the Earth, offering prosperity and protection. A range of mountains towers above the herd, their snowy peaks covered with life-giving Water. Standing Eagle feathers rise into the sky, joining together Earth, Water and Air, and carrying Eagle’s spirit to a place of strength above the clouds.

One of the most arresting details of this design is found in the line created by mountain peaks passing behind the white portion of the eagle feathers.  Looking closely, you can see that they work continuously to create the snowy peaks of the mountain range.

The Artist, Joe Toledo

Mr. Toledo is a native of Jemez Pueblo in New Mexico. He currently lives in Tiffany, Colorado, with his wife, Ann. He enjoys working in watercolor because it is “spontaneous and unpredictable.” Mr. Toledo mixes soft rainwater with his paints, for colors that reflect the colors and images of his home landscape. His works are exhibited in collections in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Artist Joe Toledo smiles for the camera at an art show.

According to Mr. Toledo, “…as an American Indian, the bison are symbols of cultural enrichment. There was a traditional ceremony at the killing of the buffalo, so the animal was respected. Bison represent strength, power and protection, assurance, and strength.”

Buffalo Roam

Several years back, Mr. Toledo designed another blanket with us, Buffalo Roam, based on one of his works of art. His exceptional studies of buffalo are based on watching, sketching and painting a Great Northern bison that lives on his property.

The "Buffalo Roam" blanket by Pendleton Woolen Mills, from a work of art by Joe Toledo. At the top of the blanket, two large buffalo travel to the right. Below them, six rows of smaller buffalo are shown. Mr. Toledo's buffalo studies show the strength and agility of this massive animal.

The buffalo was revered by many Native American tribes. The meat gave them food. The hides provided robes for warmth, tepee covers for shelter and shields for protection. Horns were crafted into bowls and arrowheads, and fat was rendered for candles and soap. The Buffalo Roam blanket captures the power of that mighty beast of the plains. The design by Native American watercolor artist Joe Toledo puts the sacred buffalo in perspective. Looming large in close-up and appearing smaller in the distance, it was ever present in the lives of the Plains Indians. (This blanket is retired)

We very much enjoy working with Mr. Toledo, whose warmth and wit are only matched by his talent. Here is hoping there’s another blanket down the line.

PWM_USA_label

 

Artist profile: Raven and the Box of Knowledge by Preston Singletary

The Pendleton blanket, Raven and the Box of Knowledge, hangs on a wall.

The artist

Preston Singletary is an internationally reknowned glass artist who incorporates traditional Pacific Coast elements in his work. He draws upon his Tlingit heritage with a special concentration on motifs found in Chilkat weaving.

Artist Preston Singletary in his Seattle studio.

Preston Singletary in his Seattle Studio

Traditional Northwest Coast tribal art uses formlines and ovoids fluid to create work that is vigorous and stylized; paintings, weavings, baskets, masks and totem poles and more. Singletary’s uncommon choice of media–glass and light—invests traditional motifs with breathtaking dimensionality and luminosity.

Artist Preston Singletary works a ball of molten glass on a steel tool.

At Pendleton, we have enormous respect for traditional arts done with traditional materials. Glass was traditionally only used in Native American beading. Anyone viewing Preston Singletary’s work in glass would probably agree with the artist when he says that glass “transforms the notion that Native artists are only best when traditional materials are used.”

A work in glass by Preston Singletary.

A work in glass by Preston Singletary.

Works in glass by Preston Singletary.

A work in glass by Preston Singletary.

Singletary’s show at the Museum of Glass left viewers in a state of awe. See more in this show catalog: ECHOES, FIRE AND SHADOWS

Glass may seem static, but it is extremely visually interactive with its environment. In this excerpt from a documentary by filmmaker Todd Pottinger, Singletary talks about his inspiration, his studio, and the crucial role of light in his work.

And here is his TED talk.

The Blanket

When Preston designed a blanket for the American Indian College Fund, he chose to tell the tale of Raven and the Box of Knowledge. You can see that this design carries the same glowing dimensionality of his art pieces, with ombred stripes of color that meet in the heart of the design to light it from within.

Raven and the Box of Knowledge, a Pendleton blanket designed by Preston Singletary

Raven and the Box of KnowledgeThis intriguing blanket is based on a work by internationally renowned glass artist Preston Singletary. Mr. Singletary grew up in the Pacific Northwest–both of his great-grandparents were full-blooded Tlingit Indians. His works explore traditional images and legends of his Tlingit heritage translated into glass. The image on this blanket represents Raven, a shape shifter and trickster who often employed crafty schemes to achieve his goals. In the story, the old chief who lived at the head of the Nass River kept his precious treasure –the sun, the moon and the stars– in beautifully carved boxes. Raven steals the light, and making his escape carries the sun in his mouth. The sun is a metaphor for enlightenment or knowledge. The ombred background shades meet in the center in vibrant colors of sun and light. Mr. Singletary’s artworks are included in museum collections from the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC to the Handelsbanken in Stockholm, Sweden. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Seattle Art Museum. A portion of the proceeds from this blanket will be donated to the American Indian College Fund.

See the College Fund blankets here: American Indian College Fund Blankets