Thursday, December 11, 2014

Susan Beal shows off Pendleton wools

In November, the WestSide Modern Quilt Club met for their monthly meeting and were met with oodles of wool showcased by guest speaker, Susan Beal. Susan also gave a brief history of Pendleton Wool; highlights from her new book, Hand Stitched Home.

Discussion continued about the upcoming theme for next year's Quilt Expo exhibit: Portland, The Pearl.  Geri inspired the group by sharing an article written by Margie Boule: "Pearl District's namesake was a jewel of a woman".   

"Pearl loved the gritty neighborhood and foresaw that it someday would be filled with creative people. These old, crusty exteriors on the buildings are like the exterior of the oyster shell. But inside it's amazing: There are literally thousands of people inhabiting them, some illegally . . . not only painters and sculptors, but software-makers, wine distributors, poets and musicians."

The format of the quilts will emulate a magazine: all portrait orientation and 32" x 44". Ideas for linking the quilts together with either a script or perhaps a pearl were offered.  Geri will be having sign-ups for various topics and parts of the "magazine".  The quilts will need to be completed by September 1, 2015.

A collection of beautiful quilts were shared by Ann Crowder, Debbie Sroggy, Elisa Corcoran, Carol Wilborn, Marjorie Elliott, and Sally Hass.

Crowder's hospital-inspired quilt
Scroggy's Tula-inspired quilt
Corcoran used her new Nova

Corcoran with a charity quilt

Wilborn's Intuitive Design Quilt

Elliott's Double Dutch quilt

Hass' quilt took on a variety of styles

An amazing job by everyone! Great background stories were shared on each one.  If you see these talented ladies, ask them about their quilts!

By Susan Beal

Susan started off the evening with a short synopsis of her book regarding the history of the Pendleton Woolen Mill. She shared photos and stories and relished her time wearing white gloves while researching in the archives! Thomas Kay arrived in Oregon in 1863 and eventually took over the mill in Pendleton in the early 1900's. Family-owned and operated for more than six generations, they continue to offer Native American-inspired designs, unique plaids and beautiful jacquards.

Late in the 1940's, after WWII ended, leisure activities were becoming more popular and Pendleton realized that women were ordering their goods. In 1949, they premiered a single garment, the "49er" - an unlined women's jacket. This is still their single most popular design and now women's-wear is the largest part of Pendleton's business.

In the early 1960's, California surfers were wearing wool shirts as early wet suits. The Beach Boys (who actually started out their career as the Pendletones) then made Pendleton wool an overnight sensation by wearing plaid wool shirts on their album cover.

In 1990, Pendleton partnered with the American Indian College Fund to honor their 1st customers. Pendleton began exclusively making trading blankets and could mass produce Indian master-weaver designs.

Q: Can the wool be washed?
A: Some are machine washable and they won't even felt or shrink! For other wools the default is to dry clean them. Care instructions can be found on the Pendleton website.

Q: How did you start being interested in Pendleton wools?
A: I always admired the clothing and blankets and in 2008 I saw the Centennial Blanket at the Oregon State Fair. My interest developed from there. I designed one wool quilt for my book Modern Log Cabin. I approached Pendleton about doing this book and they were very excited as they had never done a book before.

Q: Is wool hard to cut?
A: One amazing thing about the wool is that you can just make a little snip at the edge (through the selvage), and you can tear a clean and straight line! Note: you can't tear blanket fabric.

Q: What about seam allowances?
A: I usually do seam allowances at 1/2"

Q: Do you use batting for your wool quilts?
A: No. You can, but you will find that the weight of the wool is plenty without. Hint: if you use heavier wool on the pieced side, use a lighter weight on the back. Top-stitching also adds a nice touch.

Q: What about moths?
A: I store my wools with cedar. Pendleton also recommends that you air your garments between wearing.

NEXT MEETING (December 17)
Join us at the next meeting and bring a Pin Cushion (for a gift exchange) and 3 dozen cookies (for a cookie exchange. And don't forget to bring your Show and Tell quilts!