Road Trip – Day 8 – Pendleton

It’s been several days since I wrote the post about Day 7 of our vacation. The vacation wasn’t quite over. We needed to be back home on Tuesday but there were two places to visit in Oregon. (Actually I had marked many others on the map in my head–Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, a friend in Boise, a cousin near Portland–but those will all have to wait for another trip.)

We arrived in Pendleton…   DSC_5058 …and easily found the woolen mill. There is also a mill near Portland. That is where they weave cloth for the Pendleton clothing line. At this mill in Pendleton they spin and weave blankets. DSC_5068There were about a dozen people there for the tour even at 9 a.m. on a Monday morning. It was interesting to see the workings of the mill but now I have a lot of unanswered questions. We all wore headsets so that we could hear the tour guide over noise of the mill machinery but that meant that there was no opportunity to ask questions while we were walking. And the tour was fast. I would have liked to stop and watch what was going on with each loom. Now that I’m looking at my photos I realize that I have even more questions about what I was seeing. I guess I’ll just have to go back!DSC_5076The Mill uses Rambouillet wool from Oregon and surrounding states and Merino wool from New Zealand and Australia. The wool is scoured in Texas and then comes to Oregon for spinning and weaving. The carding and spinning equipment was on the second floor. That room was quite humid. The guide told us that high humidity lessons the quantity of airborne particles so employees don’t have to wear dust masks. Now I wonder if that is the main reason for the humidity or if it makes carding and spinning more efficient (or both). The photo above shows the carding equipment operating behind plexiglass.DSC_5073Pencil roving is spun onto big spools and the yarn is later transferred to cones.DSC_5065 IMG_0066The yarn is steamed to set the twist. Now I can’t remember the details. I think it was steamed for an hour or so.DSC_5071 This is a view from the second floor looking down on the looms that are on the first floor.DSC_5072Above the looms are the computers that operate them and fans that keep the lint from settling and, thereby, prevent overheating.Jacquard loomHere is where I now have more questions than answers. This is one of the Jacquard looms. A Jacquard loom can weave complicated patterns because all the threads operate independently. Notice the selvedge threads that are wound separately.DSC_5091It is only after looking at this photo that I see the selvedges being cut off as the cloth rolls onto the cloth beam. At least I think that is what I am seeing. (This will only have significance to those of you who are weavers.)DSC_5089  This is one of the dobby looms. I think that guide said that with their newer dobby looms a blanket takes 15 minutes to weave.IMG_0078The blankets in a continuous roll are inspected for flaws as they roll over a light table (middle of the photo where the bright light is). IMG_0076 Blankets ready for finishing touches.IMG_0087 Bags of selvedges ready to sell to people who want to make rugs.IMG_0089We left with a few bags of our own. Dan wanted to point out that his purchase (BBQ sauce) fit into that little paper bag.

Next post: Second half of Day 8–sheep.

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5 thoughts on “Road Trip – Day 8 – Pendleton

  1. Those look like bags of selvages — I can’t wait to see what you do with them! What’s so special about bbq sauce when you can buy selvages from Pendleton!?

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