Pendleton Woolen Mills

Is nothing sacred? They’re making Pendleton blankets in China now! Hokay. So be it. Mine are safely in a black garbage bag in a storage locker in Texas somewhere packed in mothballs. No way the damned Chinese are getting their hands on them. Those non-Chinese made Pendletons have seen me through a winter-or-two and would have seen me through a lot more if I were up to the job and held up my end. But instead I’ve spent the past winter-or-two in a WWII goose down Army Mountain sleeping bag from back when good American geese provided the down. At least until I got to Kansas. And I confess it was warmer than Pendleton blankets. Even from wool sheared from good American sheep. Old Jules

Jeanne Kasten Studio

For many years, I’ve promised myself a stop at the Pendleton Woolen Mill in eastern  Oregon. Pendleton wool has always been held in high regard by my family, probably because of my mom being from Salem where their first retail store was located. It’s not a familiar name to people in the mid-west.

IMG_2964I was trying to get from Boise to Salem as quickly as possible to meet my aunts for dinner at their retirement center. I promised myself 15 minutes to just look quickly, but I didn’t get out for about 40 minutes, and I never even bought anything!

IMG_2966The designs fascinate me. I knew I couldn’t afford a blanket, but I do have one already that Old Jules gave me, so it’s not like I don’t own any. I just wanted more.

IMG_2967
I was pleased to see other products, like book covers and bath towels, and national…

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6 responses to “Pendleton Woolen Mills

  1. You guys talking about blankets give me the chills. It’s in these last days of summer, you see, that I go completely berserk, cursing having lost most of it, and generally feeling depressed ‘in anticipation,’ which is a double yummy: it’s exactly the same feeling, aggravated a notch or two, that I’ll be feeling a couple of months from now. Assuming I’ll still be here, etc. Brrrrr

    • Hi Wesley. It’s been a coolish summer though, here. I slept under a blanket part of the night last night. That’s my only excuse. Is it not written that a moth finds himself a good wool blanket during the summer? Likely good American moths are suffering as a result of Chinese intervention in the wool blanket trade. Gracias, J

  2. We just got back from Portland Oregon and the Pendleton Mills within the last month or so. The issue of Chinese production came up. I recall they said that a number of their clothing items came from China. But I think their blankets are still being made in the United States. I felt a bit cheated to find out that the Chinese were doing this too even with the clothes. With my horrible memory I have forgotten a lot of the details of the lecture on the tour. You can buy pieces of blanket material and edging to make your own blankets, if you so wish.

    • Hi Anonymous. Jeanne’s post mentioned the Chinese blankets only as the ones sold to the US Park Service, I think. But I talked to her this morning after I posted the blog entry and she said there’s a lot of Chinese stuff in there. Maybe it’s just a matter of being alert to labels. She’s heard me rant and seen my arms wave around about Chinese products invading US markets and production I think sometimes she sees Made in China labels in her dreams as well as down at the Indian blanket store. Anyway, I’m keeping the hair I brush off Hydrox and putting it into bags, compressing it into felt under rugs and between matress and bedsprings. I’m figuring I might get enough for a good felted cat fur blanket eventually. Made a good saddleblanket that way once inside a burlap bag. Idea being to put the burlap bag full of cat fur under the saddle until the burlap wore away. Leaves one hell of a cat fur saddle blanket. But it stinks of horse sweat somewhat strongly. Gracias, Jack

  3. My sister & I both got Pendleton wool blankets passed down from our grandparents, she used her’s for the dog house outside. I used mine on my bed but now 30 years later I don’t know where it is.

    • Hi Rob. Some dog managed to get some high quality warmth out of it. The trading posts on the Navajo Rez do a constant trade in old Pendletons, people hocking them during the summer months, unhocking them in the fall. The older ones bring a lot better prices. Maybe it would be worth locating yours and putting a tag on it identifying it as an hierloom. Lucky dog your sister had. Gracias, J

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