When I was in grade school I hated history… it was my least favorite subject… that and geography. Now that I am older, I find history and geography fascinating. We tour places around the world and seek out museums and tours to heighten our knowledge, whether it’s home or abroad. Education gives one new perspective and insight.
We recently had the opportunity to tour the Pendleton Woolen Mill in Pendleton, Oregon. Not something I would have normally took a great deal of interest in, but given the opportunity all knowledge and education is good right?
Well, I was fascinated by the vast work and manipulation that goes into the simple task of not just making a Pendleton blanket… but the YARN, that goes into the Pendleton blanket.
It starts from the ‘fur’ from the sheep. It begins as coarse clumps of fur, which is picked through by large rollers with fine comb brushes to pick it apart. This fur goes through the rollers several times before it starts to resemble cotton.
These woolen fibers are then layers like puff pastry and kneaded through a series of rollers to press it into fine layers of strands until it can be funneled into a fine singular strand of fibrous wool, then twisted into individual strands of woolen yarn.
The yarn it then threaded onto individual bobbins that can be loaded into looms to weave Pendleton products.
It takes 2-1/2 sheep to make one blanket, and about 2 months of work and process. It’s a fascinating process to watch as this dying art comes to life. Only 5 woolen mills still exist in this country, and 2 are owned and operated by Pendleton.