In our last post, we talked about Shelter Bay, a pattern that combines our camp stripes with the motif from one of our most popular blankets, San Miguel (read the post here: Shelter Bay). Part of that pattern’s beauty lies in its camp striped borders.
photo by Cassy Berry
Pendleton’s camp stripe blankets are popular, and not just for their utilitarian history. Camp stripes bring the spirit of the outdoors to whatever they grace, thanks to colors that reflect Western landscapes: forests, lakes, river gorges, coastal crags, and the rich colors of the high desert. These stripes find their way to home goods and apparel, especially outdoor shirts and warm outerwear. See them here: Camp Stripes
But what about our other stripes?
With their bands of contrasting colors, serape stripes are designed to dazzle.
photo by Pendleton Woolen Mills
Traditional serapes (called sarapes south of the border) are colorful, sturdy blanket shawls that were part of life in the Mexican home. A serape could serve as a tablecloth, bedding, impromptu hammock, or improvised tent. It could be worn as a shawl, or converted to a poncho. Clothing, bedding, shelter: the serape was versatile!
When southern California’s surfers made trips to Baja, Mexico, to ride the waves, they brought home serape blankets and Baja jackets. The serape stripe became part of the “Endless Summer” of American surf culture. Pendleton’s serape stripes are found on shirts, jackets, hoodies, and bold wool blankets that are perfect for the beach, the porch, or the park.
photo by Danielle Visco
In the Southwestern United States, Pendleton serapes are also known as “Goopesala,” or “Good Blankets.” They are often used in the Give-Away Ceremony, performed at honor dances, weddings and many other occasions. Hosts give gifts to their guests, with no expectation of return. “What is given away returns to the giver, in another form of good.”
photo: Pendleton Archives
In this photo from the Pendleton archives, a Pueblo family rides in one of the original wagons like those used by the Babbitt brothers, five shopkeepers who came west in 1886 to make their mark. They founded the CO Bar cattle ranch, in addition to opening a mercantile in Flagstaff, Arizona. In time, their success with commerce equaled their success with cattle. Over the next 100 years, the Babbitts owned and operated over twenty trading posts, doing business with the Navajo, Hopi and Apache peoples. Babbitt’s is still active and thriving—and working with Pendleton.
See our serapes here: Serape Stripe Blankets
Some are bold, some are busy, but every National Park stripe blanket celebrates America’s Treasures, with a portion of sales supporting the work of the National Park Foundation.
photo by Kyle Houck
Here are a few fun facts about Pendleton National Park blankets:
- The oldest design, Glacier Park, originally had “points” to give it the feel of an old-time “candy stripe” blanket traded by fur trappers, but the fur trade had ceased long before Pendleton began weaving blankets.
- Any Pendleton National Park blanket with points was made before 1938. These marks referred to blanket size, and as the blankets grew in length and width, the points became inaccurate.
- Pendleton has made blankets for 17 different parks. Two blankets, Crater Park and Shasta, are mysteries. They are listed but not pictured in archival sales materials, and there are no surviving examples.
- Pendleton introduced plaid National Park throws after World War II. There were four different Grand Canyon plaid throws in those days, plus a newer one introduced in 2009.
- Part of a National Park blanket’s appeal is its striped simplicity, but some older blankets featured mountains, pine trees, flowers—even a stylized Thunderbird.
Photo by Kristen Irey
Park stripes are not just for blankets anymore. Their bold colors and happy associations make them a natural to wear and use each and every day. Park stripes prove their versatility in farmhouses, industrial spaces, ranch homes, tiny houses, lake cabins, tents, yurts and trailers! Wherever you live, park stripes are right at home.
See them here: Park Blankets
Which stripe is your favorite?