Last week we got to take a field trip to the Pendleton Woolen Mill and go on a tour of the factory up in Washougal, WA. The excitement was like being in the second grade all over again and we didn’t even have to ride on a school bus. Joining us were our absolutely wonderful Pendleton Portland Collection and Prairie Underground reps, Tracey and Tyler Forest, from True Collaborative Fashion.
Jeannie Parrish, a Pendleton employee, led us on the tour and was very sweet and incredibly patient with us as we stopped to “ooh” and “ahh” at just about everything we saw. She talked and showed us through the entire process that churns out the Pendleton products we all know and love. Ahem, Pendleton Portland Collection anyone? Many things like Pendleton blankets and scarves are all produced from start to finish at the factory, so we got to see heaps of wool that would eventually be transformed into a beautifully crafted signature blanket.
Dyed wool, ready to be spun into thread
Pile of wool = Pendleton blanket
A table of alpaca wool
Giant rollers for thread to be spun onto. They would probably make for a pretty crazy hairdo also.
Colored thread ready to be transformed
As you can imagine, there are several steps that go into making a Pendleton blanket, shirt, pillow, etc. The process of turning wool into ready to use fabric is extremely labor intensive, and requires numerous stages involving different people and machines. The wool to thread process alone is mind boggling once you see all of the machinery spitting out huge spools of different colored thread. What was even more exciting was seeing stacks of luscious, printed fabrics that were just begging to be crafted into works of art. We also may or may not have gotten a glimpse of some Pendleton Portland Collection 2013 material, but that’s top secret information.
Blankets on blankets on blankets
It really was incredible to see each and every stage of the process, since we often forget how much time and energy goes into creating a single blanket. When we embarked to the sewing area, we learned that instead of an assembly line structure, the seamstress’ work on each piece until they are finished. So instead of sewing on some fringe and moving on to the next, they have ownership of the final product and their amazing work.
A skilled seamstress doin’ her thang
More blankety goodness
The “napper” is the machine that the straightens and presses the fabric so it’s ready to be tailored. We also thought it was a good place to take a snooze.
And of course, we couldn’t leave the Pendleton Factory without visiting the outlet store. Being surrounded by rich patterned bags and signature wool shirts sent us into Fall mode and and put our anticipation for the Pendleton Portland Collection into overdrive. Let’s just say Christmas came early and we left with a bag or ten of pure Pendleton love.
Just one of our piles of goodies we bought
We couldn’t forget you guys though! And since it’s Monday, we wanted to start the week off right with a giveaway. Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a Pendleton wool zip pouch. Share the original Facebook post with this blog link and you’ll be entered twice! They’re the perfect size for carrying cards and cash and we’ve got a few styles to choose from. They look similar to the pouch below, but we’ll have photos of all the options for the winner to select from. There are masculine and feminine patterns, so ladies AND gents are encouraged to enter. The contest is open until this Thursday (8/9) at midnight and we’ll announce a winner on Friday. Good luck and happy Monday!