Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pendleton Woolens


There is a small town in New Hampshire called Guild. At one time there was a Pendleton Woolen Mill there. Last I knew, they still made wools there but not for Pendleton. You could go in and purchase yardage quite inexpensively at their "real" outlet. This was the kind of outlet like you used to have in New Bedford and Fall River before the decline of the textile industry, rather down and dirty and an unobtrusive door into the factory. I loved going there and shopping. It closed probably in the early nineties. They now have a regular retail store, quite nice, across the street. You can't miss it if your find you way to Guild.  But it won't have this fresh Pendleton yardage at cut rate prices.

I love Pendletons. They are timeless. The black wool you see just glows and that black watch plaid is to die for. I am overwhelmed by the possibilities here with another Ima legacy. I have spent the last couple of days freshening them up by hanging them outside in the sun. It did the trick nicely and they all smell fresh as a summer meadow, even in the cold here. Nothing like good air circulation. Then I proceeded to shrink them per Pam's (off the Cuff) method (scroll down) which is just so kewl. I shrank two pieces and while getting ready for the next few I found they had tags with the following:

What great labels, even the dry clean only! These tags were pinned to some of the yardage. You can see with a click to read that there was no need to preshrink and the wools were needle ready. Don't you wish all fabrics came with this sort of info and a tag?

When I think of style for these wools I have visions of little New Hampshire Yankee "elder" ladies with their white hair, pleated skirts, and boiled wool jackets going into the white spired Congregational Church on Sunday. Great image, but not quite what I would be going for here. Years back I made a beautifully black boyfriend blazer, back in fashion now, that gave me so much wear. Alas, it was actually stolen and I have missed it ever since. So that is one possibility. Others are the perfect Burda jacket for a plaid, so I am leaning there in more current style.  We shall see what develops. All I know is that this fabric tailors exquisitely and how I love that!

I am overwhelmed with all dear Ima has passed to me. Right now I continue to go thru, clean, and organize. The choices are mindboggling. It will all settle down and I will eventually utilize my gift. For now I will continue with my current children's Christmas gifts and such. Come January it should be delightful to pass that glowy black wool thru my hands.......Bunny

13 comments:

  1. Dear Bunny,

    I've been a Pendleton girl since the age of 4 or 5 when my mother made me a winter coat. I started sewing the woolens at 12 when I made a skirt from the blackwatch and Mom bought the first of my many Pendleton navy blazers. I know I have clothing in each of the fabrics you show.

    Enjoy, so many great possibilites.

    MaryEllen
    Windsor, CT

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  2. When I was little, my mom made my sister and I matching plaid wool skirts every year for years. Of course, once I got older, I'd graduate to my sister's left-behind plaid skirt, so I wore the same plaids for years and years. Little girls in plaid is just one of those great things. When it was not too cold, we wore blouses with them with maybe a cardigan; when it got cold, we got put in heavy tights, orlon sweaters and wool cardis. I always thought it odd that my friends were wearing summer dresses with big bouffant petticoats, little white socks and shoes in the middle of the winter (with their snow pants underneath so that the dress was outside, like a sort of flower), while my sister and I soldiered on in wool.

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  3. Thank you for the reminder! I live in Manchester NH and had not been to Guild, even though I thought I had carefully checked out all fabric stores in NH and MA. But, according to their website, they are still there. It's The Dorr Mill Store and they have a wonderful website. I will be there before the month is out! We used to have the Stevens Woolen Mills in North Andover, MA when I grew up and I always went there with my mother when she bought wool to sew for us. It's so sad all these places are gone now....

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  4. Ah, yes, Pendleton wools. My mom and dad had matching Pendleton jackets. The wool fabrics used to be available and not hard to find, but alas, times to change. Lucky you.

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  5. I am so enjoying you sharing this endowment with us! What a wonderful gift she has given you and I have to admit to beating back the green-eyed monster several times! *LOL*

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  6. My mother was absolutely addicted to Pendleton wools and her kilt skirts. She was a classic New Englander through and through. This post makes me miss her.

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  7. I came across your blog a bit ago and thought, after seeing your picture, that you looked a lot like someone I worked with in Concord, NH, (Jo-Ann Fabrics). Some of the info matched but I wasn't sure, especially since Bunny was not the name by which I knew you. Anyway, I was looking at your purse for the Hoffman challenge and lo and behold I could see the name on your sew in label. I was always impressed with your sewing and design skills; you were a great inspiration to me. Now, thanks to your blog, I can still be inspired. Mostly just wanted to say hello.

    from Chris Griffin, still in Concord, NH

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  8. Oh, I so love Pendleton woolens.

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  9. Oh, they're lovely. There still are some of the mill stores around and Dorr is one of them.

    I've got some woollens from an older friend's departed aunt. This aunt used to work in one of the wool mills in our area and would buy the seconds and overruns. She, of course, didn't use them all, and when she died her neice brought them to me. I've saved most of them waiting for the right projects. Vogue 1132 is one of those.

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  11. OMG, Chris, please email me. I would love to chat. Thanks for the lovely comments.

    FWIW = Bunny is the nickname I have had since birth. My name is the same as my mom's, Mary. So the family felt a need to distinguish and that is where Bunny came from. I always used Mary in the workplace.

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  12. Mary,
    I can't figure out how to send you an email from your blog site. Perhaps you could give me some suggestions without either of us publishing our email for all to see. (I'll be away for a show and will be back online on Monday.)

    Chris Griffin

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  13. Try this but substitute the punctuation for the words at (@) and dot (.) Bunny pep at wild blue dot net and put all the words together. Hope this helps.

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