I recently came back from a week in the Portland, Oregon area. It was my dad's 93rd birthday, and I was so fortunate to be able to celebrate it with him. He is healthy, sharp, strong, and doing amazing—lives alone, drives, cooks, cleans, gets together with friends, and mows his field by himself on his own John Deere—but more about him and my family later. What I want to tell you about is the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store. I discovered it last summer, and had been dying to return ever since.
They sell Pendleton merchandise, but the main reason to go is for their fabric!
Twice a year, they have a huge sale, and designers and crafters arrive in droves. I happened to arrive on the first day of the sale. Fabrics that normally retails for $84/yard are 30% off, all month long.
As my sister, Anne, and I walked into the store, a smiling couple was exiting pushing a wheeled bin of fabric purchases toward their car. We had to get the story. Turns out, the guy—Richard Flittie—is a Native American drum maker. And his wife makes Pendleton wool bags for the drums. We followed them to their car to see one of his drums. Impressive. (You can check them out on his Facebook page.) They went on a road trip from the Bay Area just to hit the Pendleton sale. This was going to be good.
I headed straight to the back of the store where they sell the fabric remnants—my favorite. They have them separated into bins. Larger pieces in the $5/pound bin, and smaller remnants for $2.50/pound.
I sorted through jumbled mounds of wool, pulling out colors and patterns that made me smile. Plaids, heather grey, fringed pieces, thick wool. I created a yes pile, while pushing the nos to the side, all the while thinking—this one, a potholder; this, a zippered pouch; and this? I don’t know but I love it and I have to have it and I will have it.
As I checked out, the salesperson told me that designers were lined up that morning waiting for the doors to open. Happens every year. She also said there is another sale in March. Checking my calendar...