The Complete Guide to Pendleton Blankets – Are They Really Worth It?

As one of America‘s most iconic heritage brands, Pendleton Woolen Mills has been churning out exceptional blankets, clothing, and accessories for over 150 years. But are Pendleton blankets really worth the often hefty price tag?

In this ultimate buyer‘s guide, we‘ll take an in-depth look at the pros, cons, and things to consider before investing in a Pendleton blanket. You‘ll get the real scoop on quality, value, care instructions, and where to find the best deals – everything you need to decide if a Pendleton blanket belongs on your bed, sofa, or campsite.

All About Pendleton Blankets

Founded in 1863 in Portland, Oregon, Pendleton established itself early on as a leader in quality woolens. They gained widespread fame when their colorful trademark Native American-inspired designs started appearing in Hollywood westerns in the 1950s and 60s.

Today, their 218 acre mill in Washougal, Washington supplies their iconic blankets and other wool products. Fun fact – it takes a mile of yarn just to make one blanket!

What truly sets Pendleton‘s blankets apart is their commitment to sourcing premium wool. They use grade AA virgin wool, carefully selected from high mountain sheep ranches to ensure exceptional softness, loft, and durability.

In recent years, Pendleton has expanded into apparel and other home goods. But for wool fanatics, it‘s still those legendary blankets that are the pride of Pendleton Woolen Mills.

The Pros of Pendleton Blankets

There are some very compelling reasons Pendleton blankets command premium pricing. Here are the major benefits that help them stand out from the competition.

Timeless Style

Pendleton has hundreds of blanket patterns and solids to choose from. But it‘s those classic Native American designs in vibrant colors that Pendleton is most famous for. They never go out of style.

Many blankets like the Chief Joseph are basically unchanged since the 1920s. You‘ll find Pendleton blankets passed down for generations as family heirlooms.

Heirloom Quality

Between the premium virgin wool and exacting manufacturing standards, Pendleton blankets are built to last decades. The intricate jacquard looms ensure flawless weaving with zero pulled threads. And the dense, tight nap resists pilling or fraying over time.

With reasonable care, expect 30+ years of regular use from a Pendleton. The quality is so robust, many vintage examples still look brand new.

Made in the USA

In an age when everything is imported, Pendleton still weaves their blankets at their Pacific Northwest mills. They are one of the few remaining made in USA heritage wool brands. Supporting American manufacturing has a nice ring to it!

Versatile and Multi-Functional

Pendleton blankets aren‘t just for beds or the living room sofa. The generous size, vibrant colors, and textures make them fantastic statement pieces for home decor.

Drape them over chairs, fold them as table runners, or display them as wall art. Use them at your next picnic or camping adventure. However you use them, Pendleton blankets always add a lively pop.

The Potential Downsides of Pendleton Blankets

For all their merits, Pendleton blankets do come with some caveats. Make sure to weigh the negatives before pulling the trigger.

Premium Pricing

Be prepared to pay a premium for that legendary Pendleton quality and style. Blanket prices range from $100 on the low end to $300+ for special runs and collabs. Considering their lifespan, the price/value ratio is reasonable but still substantial.

You can often find discounts of 20-40% on previous season‘s designs. But the iconic patterns almost never go on sale. Limited incomes need not apply.

Questionable Quality Control

This mainly pertains to newer offerings vs vintage Pendleton blankets. But buyers complain about uneven stitching, dye bleeds from the bright colors, and other quality issues indicating looser QC standards.

It seems the focus now is more on fast fashion and scaling production vs the meticulous old-school craftsmanship Pendleton built its name on.

Shrinkage Problems

Follow Pendleton‘s explicit care instructions and pre-wash any blanket before use. Why? Many reviewers report significant shrinkage (up to 25% or more) when washed improperly in hot water or high heat dryers.

Wool is tricky – it felts and shrinks when exposed to high heat and agitation. So cold gentle cycles are a must, along with low or no heat drying.

For pre-washing, the tried and true method is to soak new blankets in cold water with hair conditioner or fabric softener. This process tightens the weave, releases any excess dye, and prevents future shrinkage issues down the road.

Too Heavy and Bulky

Weight equals warmth with wool blankets. But for some people, Pendleton‘s blankets are oppressively heavy, making them too hot for many homes. Trying to fold them neatly can be an exercise in futility.

Pendleton uses a dense 24 oz wool weight for maximum durability. The heft adds to the overall substantial feel but limits their practicality for everyday beds. Fine for picnics and camping however!

If weight is a concern, consider their lighter cotton blends or high country wool options.

Not as Soft as Other Fine Wools

To be clear – Pendleton blankets are not scratchy itchy horrors that make your skin crawl. The fibers produce a pleasant warmth thanks to lanolin and other oils.

However, brands like Faribault Woolen Mills or L.L. Bean tend to offer super fine merino and lambswool known for exceptional softness and luxurious drape.

Pendleton favors durability, intricate weaves, and vibrant colors instead. This gives their blankets more visual impact but a slightly crisper hand feel. For maximum snuggle factor, look elsewhere.

Best Uses for Pendleton Blankets

How you plan to use your future Pendleton blanket dictates which style best suits your needs. Here are our top recommended uses to match with the right blanket choice.

Everyday Bed Blanket

Pendleton‘s high country or eco-wise wool styles strike the best balance of light/medium weight and breathability for regular sleeping comfort. Look for their washable merino wool options as well.

For beds, steer clear of heavier jacquard blankets unless you live in a cold winter climate and want maximum insulation.

Living Room Couch Blanket

This is prime Pendleton blanket territory. Drape those vibrant Chief Josephs or rustic Tartans over your sofa for flashy style points. The heirloom styles blend color and texture beautifully to tie together any room‘s decor.

Picnics & Outdoors

You can‘t beat Pendleton‘s National Park blanket series or their inspiring earth tone patterns for outdoor adventures. Many styles use insulation or reverse weaves to help weather wind and cold. Just roll up in your Pendleton blanket next to a crackling campfire or park vista for instant coziness!

Gifts & Family Heirlooms

Special occasion? New baby? Housewarming? Few gifts radiate heritage quality and timeless style like a Pendleton blanket. They often become cherished generational treasures.

And Pendleton‘s custom embroidery service lets you personalize blankets with names, dates, and special messages for unforgettable one-of-a-kind gifts.

Pendleton Blanket Care & Cleaning

To enjoy a Pendleton for decades, proper care and cleaning are crucial. We break down the key steps everyone should follow:

Always Pre-Wash

As covered earlier, pre-washing in cold water removes excess dye and allows blankets to achieve their final size BEFORE regular use starts. So skip this key step at your own peril!

Dry Clean Only For Some

Pendleton recommends dry clean only for certain speciality blankets and vintage examples in delicate condition. Check care labels to see if machine washing might damage fibers or dyes. When in doubt, opt for dry cleaning.

Use Cold Cycles & Air Dry

For machine washing, ALWAYS use cold gentle cycles with mild detergent. Then tumble dry low or no heat. Repeat as needed when blankets get soiled. Taking shortcuts risks shredding, fraying, and dreaded shrinkage.

Steam As Needed

Between washes, use a fabric steamer to freshen blankets and remove odors, dust, etc. This helps extend time between deep cleanings.

Follow these rules, and your next Pendleton blanket will last multiple lifetimes. Break them and you may end up with a baby sized blanket!

Where to Find the Best Pendleton Blanket Deals

As mentioned earlier, discounts on Pendleton blankets are rare due to their heirloom positioning and collector demand. But bargains can be found with some effort:

Pendleton Outlet Store – Portland, OR

The brand‘s outlet headquarters offers blankets, robes, shirts, and other products often priced 30-50% off MSRP. Definitely plan a visit here if visiting Portlandia!

Nordstrom Rack

This discount retailer carries past season‘s Pendleton blankets at steep markdowns both online and in clearance stores. Selection varies but can reach 60% or more off!

Sierra Trading Post

Another discount site specializing in outdoor gear and apparel. Check often for sales offering 30% off or more on wool blankets.

eBay

Search for "vintage Pendleton blanket" and sort by newly listed or ending soon. Collectors donate blankets still flawless despite their age, usually around $100-150. Way better than buying brand new!

Follow these leads, set price drop alerts online, and check back often. With patience, you can land that dream Pendleton for cheap!

Pendleton Reviews: What Do Customers Really Think?

With nearly 150 years in business, Pendleton blankets generate some strong reactions and opinions. Below we share some enlightening testimonials from passionate consumers on both sides of the fence:

"I have bought over 50+ blankets from Pendleton over decades. The older ones are bulletproof while newer ones are hit or miss quality wise. But still better than most everything else out there and I just adore Pendleton." (Sharon O, avid collector)

"My Pendleton blanket from the 1960s still looks immaculate. I bought a new one last winter and it felt rough, colors bled like crazy washing it, and it started pilling almost immediately with light use. Maybe I just got a dud but I expected better." (Dan K., first time buyer)

"Bought a Pendleton blanket for my boyfriend and he absolutely loves it. We take it everywhere – beaches, parks, snuggling on the couch. It‘s warm but breathable and just gets softer over time. I want one now too!" (Lauren J.)

The takeaway based on buyer experiences? Vintage Pendletons reign supreme but quality control seems questionable on newer offerings. But when you land an exceptional blanket, nothing compares to wrapping yourself in that Pendleton style and comfort.

The Verdict: Are Pendleton Blankets Worth It?

Despite some concerning declines in quality workmanship lately, Pendleton still achieves a standard other heritage wool brands aim for. The materials, designs, and craftsmanship largely live up to their hard-earned reputation.

For the right customer – Pacific Northwest natives, style mavens, knitter hobbyists, vintage Americana lovers – that timeless Pendleton style and spirit just can‘t be replicated. Owning a piece of history never goes out of vogue.

But more casual buyers simply seeking an everyday use blanket have plenty of options that cost far less without sacrificing warmth, softness, and durability.

Our final recommendation? Approach Pendleton blankets as aspirational yet practical investments. Let your budget, aesthetic tastes, and collecting spirit guide you to the right styles. Proper expectations and care make all the difference owning a Pendleton for the long haul.

When viewed accordingly, yes indeed…Pendleton blankets prove well worth their higher cost over time. Just try not falling in love once one drapes your bed or sofa!

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