A PLEASANT DISTRACTION.I happened on a high-end, all-American business which has been going strong since 1863: Pendleton Woolen Mills. The reason for this happy find was my disdain for the ugly, fussy things called duvet cover sets. Offered up across department stores to cover bedding, the fabrics are horrid, the whole production fluffy, fussy and feminine—with cushions and other ugly accoutrements that spell nonstop work. In Israel, I used bedspreads in striking patterns, made locally in the Druze villages.
And this is precisely what Pendleton Woolen Mills specializes in: The family produces Indian blankets and has introduced,
new designs, colors, and patterns to their product line. They also changed the construction of the mill’s Indian blankets. Prior to 1909 the blankets had round corners. The Bishop blankets featured square corners. Pendleton round corner blankets are highly coveted by vintage Indian blanket collectors. The company expanded their trade from the local Indians to the Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni peoples of the American Southwest. They also copied the multicolor pattern found on Hudson’s Bay point blankets for their Glacier National Park line of historic blankets. The Pendleton blankets were not only basic wearing apparel, but were standards of trading and ceremonial use.
Woven in an eastern Oregon mill, the blankets make for stunning bedspreads. It has been a while since I felt the thick, rough, yet unscratchy texture of pure wool; saw the label “Made in the USA,” and not China. Needless to say the blankets—art really—do not stink of chemicals impregnated in fabric made in China.
The online images of these Amerindian-inspired blankets do not do them justice.