Why Are Pendleton Blankets So Expensive? – A Close Look

Pendleton wool blankets have developed a reputation as one of the finest, most luxurious blankets available today. But this quality comes at a steep price – Pendleton blankets often cost $200, $300, or even upwards of $500.

What exactly justifies these lofty price tags, when other wool blankets sell for a fraction of the cost?

The reasons are multilayered, but essentially come down to the unrivaled materials, expert craftsmanship, and storied brand heritage behind each Pendleton blanket.

By exploring the origins, production process, and enduring appeal of these special blankets, it becomes clear why Pendleton can command such premium prices for its renowned woolens.

Reasons For Pendleton Blankets Being So Expensive

pendleton blankets
  • The Meaning Behind Owning an Heirloom Pendleton Blanket

Before diving into the specifics, it helps set the stage to consider the deeper meaning and value proposition of a Pendleton blanket. For most owners, these blankets are far more than a basic bedding item bought out of utility.

Owning a Pendleton blanket represents owning a piece of American history, made with a level of quality and craftsmanship that makes each blanket special.

Pendleton aficionados often speak of the blankets becoming family “heirlooms” – passed down through generations as treasures. The company itself proudly uses words like “legacy,” “iconic,” and “heritage” when describing its products.

There is a sense that each blanket will not just be used for one season, but potentially for decades or more. Paying Pendleton’s signature premium price offers buyers the promise of a blanket crafted to stand the test of time.

  • The Superb Wool at the Heart of Pendleton Blankets

So what exactly goes into making these celebrated woolen blankets? It all starts with the wool itself. Pendleton goes to great lengths to source exceptionally high grades of virgin wool known for its softness, durability, and warmth.

Most Pendleton blankets contain anywhere from 82% to 95% premium wool. The wool primarily comes from American Rambouillet sheep, though some specialty blankets feature alpaca, mohair, or camel hair blends as well.

The Rambouillet wool is ultrasoft while retaining lanolin oils for water resistance. Pendleton combs and spins the fibers into yarn at their mill in Oregon. From there, the yarn gets dyed in rich hues using time-honored techniques.

This meticulously sourced wool makes Pendleton’s blankets extraordinarily cozy, breathable, and insulating. The natural air pockets between the wool’s woven fibers trap body heat efficiently. So Pendleton blankets provide top-tier warmth without bulky weight.

The wool also naturally wicks moisture, increasing comfort. Owners rave about the blankets feeling sublimely soft yet providing consistent temperature regulation in all seasons. Even after decades, the lofty wool retains its insulating properties and irresistibly plush texture.

For Pendleton devotees, only the pinnacle of wool quality will do. The remarkable softness and durability sets these blankets apart from inferior wool that can scratch, pill, and lose its loft.

When customers pay a premium for Pendleton wool, they can rest assured knowing it will maintain its luxurious feel and reliable warmth for years on end. That consistency and longevity helps justify the initial splurge on a top-tier product.

  • Complex Weaving Craftsmanship Baked Into Each Blanket

In addition to the first-rate wool, arguably the most significant factor accounting for Pendleton’s high cost comes from the expert craftsmanship that goes into weaving each blanket.

Making a Pendleton blanket involves painstaking attention to detail at every step.

The intricate weaving patterns push far beyond basic machine production. Human hands make all the difference.

Pendleton’s skilled weavers work on special broad Jacquard looms to handle the complex designs.

Operating these looms requires extensive training and experience. The weavers read each blanket’s design map with utmost precision as they interlace the delicate wool strands and colors together.

Pendleton patterns often incorporate 8 or more custom-dyed colors in geometric Native American-inspired motifs. Ensuring the tight uniformity and alignment of the patterns takes time and care. Weavers must follow the design plans exactly, keeping close track of each colored yarn.

For large blankets, the weaving process can take multiple days of hands-on specialist attention. Contrast this to mass-produced machine-woven blankets churned out rapidly. With Pendleton, buyers pay for a return to meticulous traditional techniques.

The artistry infused into each blanket comes at a cost – reflected in the finished product’s price. But for Pendleton enthusiasts, owning a blanket made with this level of skill is worthwhile.

  • Where It All Began: Pendleton’s Lasting Brand Legacy

Beyond just materials and construction, Pendleton’s brand legacy also factors into explaining the inflated prices. Paying the Pendleton premium brings the intangible value of owning an iconic piece of Americana history.

The Pendleton Woolen Mills story begins in 1863, when founder Thomas Kay settled in Oregon and built a small mill harnessing the power of the local river.

For over 150 years since, continuous family ownership has shepherded Pendleton’s rise to become one of America’s most cherished and respected woolcrafters. The steady focus on quality and innovation laid the foundations for today’s luxury status.

Pendleton has also been nimble in adapting to changing tastes and cultural trends over the decades. In the early 1900s, Pendleton worked closely with local Native American tribes to translate tribal designs into intricate woven patterns.

These authentic collaborations sparked a nationwide fascination with Native arts. Under the stewardship of later generations, Pendleton went on to bridge traditional technique with contemporary lifestyle fashion. They made wool approachable, aspirational, and transcended generational appeal.

This masterful blend of heritage with modern style continues attracting new fans today. Pendleton has maintained its identity as a premium brand beloved by everyone from Native American artisans to urban fashionistas to Wild West aficionados.

For buyers, owning a Pendleton blanket often symbolizes honoring a piece of authentic American craft. It connects them to the storied history of this Pacific Northwest brand. Pendleton’s hard-earned prestige and cultural cachet imbue the price tags with extra significance.

  • American Made Craftsmanship Commands a Higher Price
Pendleton Yosemite National Park Wool Blanket

Tied into Pendleton’s brand heritage is another driver of its premium pricing – its staunch commitment to local manufacturing.

Since its founding days, Pendleton has woven, milled, and sewn its woolen goods at facilities in Oregon.

Keeping production based in the Pacific Northwest allows for start-to-finish quality control and heritage preservation.

Today, Pendleton takes enormous pride in being one of the rare remaining made-in-USA wool producers. Over 600 skilled craftspeople work at their mill, dye house, garment factory, distribution center, and retail stores in Oregon and across the country.

Keeping production onshore comes with higher labor and sourcing costs compared to overseas manufacturing. But for Pendleton, paying more to support local craftsmanship is a sound investment.

The “Made in USA” tag matters deeply to buyers as well. Customers are often willing to pay more knowing their purchase supports American jobs and reduces environmental impacts from transport. There is something special about owning an authentic piece of American workmanship.

For Pendleton, it reaffirms their legacy with every blanket woven in their Pacific Northwest homeland. The care and pride involved in domestic production gets passed to customers in a higher quality product.

  • Investment Value of Pendleton Blankets as Heirlooms

Stepping back, all of these meticulous production elements combine to make Pendleton blankets worth every penny for buyers motivated by long-term value.

The exceptional materials plus handcrafted artistry result in blankets made to last decades, not just seasons. Properly cared for, many Pendleton blankets get passed down as cherished heirlooms through generations.

When viewed through the lens of cost-per-use over the lifetime of a blanket, suddenly $250-$500 doesn’t seem so unreasonable. The value proposition stems from knowing a Pendleton blanket will only get softer and more beautiful as the years go by.

Any signs of aging, like slight irregularities or puckers, get embraced as marks of authenticity and loving use. That only increases the blanket’s meaning and storytelling appeal.

What buyers pay extra for upfront is the confidence that they are purchasing a high-caliber product crafted to stand the test of time. A new Pendleton may seem expensive, but as an investment, it promises to pay itself off in enjoyment for years on end.

And for collectors, some vintage or rare Pendleton blankets fetch even higher prices at auction or resale. All signs point to Pendleton blankets retaining their long-term value – both financial and sentimental.

Unpacking The Pendleton Difference: Frequently Asked Questions

Pendleton’s premium pricing often leads potential buyers to have lingering questions around what exactly makes these blankets special. Here we address some of the most common queries:

Are Pendleton blankets worth the high cost?

For most buyers, yes, Pendleton blankets are worth their high price tags. Devotees rave that the soft virgin wool, striking patterns, and lasting quality make them well worth investing in. Given the care and artistry woven into each blanket, they deliver excellent value, especially when factored over years of use. But those simply seeking a basic wool blanket have cheaper options.

What makes Pendleton blankets different from regular wool blankets?

Several key factors set Pendleton apart, including:
1. Their meticulously sourced wool from American sheep, specially selected for softness and durability. Most competitors use recycled or lower-grade wool.
2. Intricate designs woven in on Jacquard looms by specialist craftspeople. Cheaper blankets tend to have basic patterns and machine production.
3. Timeless, appealing patterns influenced by Native American artists and local tribes. Most companies lack this authentic cultural inspiration.
4. 150+ years perfecting wool blanket production as a multigenerational family company. Their expertise is nearly impossible to replicate.
5. Brand legacy and appeal that taps into Pacific Northwest heritage and American pride. Competitors lack this storytelling dimension.

How do Native Americans feel about Pendleton blankets?

The relationship is complex, but many Native Americans appreciate Pendleton for helping preserve tribal textile techniques and motifs. Pendleton has worked with Native artisans for over a century to translate cultural designs into blankets and apparel respectfully. They employ Native craftspeople and publicly credit the tribal origins of every pattern used.
However, there have been some concerns voiced over appropriation of sacred symbols for commercial gain. Overall though, Pendleton is respected for paying homage to Native arts and partnering with tribes on authentic representation. The company’s blankets motivate broader interest in Indigenous arts and culture.

Why are Pendleton blankets so popular and beloved?

Pendleton owes its lasting popularity to painstakingly crafting a high-caliber, aspirational product and effectively blending heritage with contemporary appeal. On the quality side, the blankets’ soft virgin wool and enduring, sophisticated designs impress buyers across generations. Just as important is Pendleton’s stellar brand reputation cultivated over decades. The rugged Pacific Northwest roots mingled with Native collaborations and modern lifestyle fashion attracts broad admiration. Pendleton feels simultaneously vintage yet fresh – their blankets appeal to just about everyone.

How does Pendleton compare to other premium wool blanket brands?

Pendleton stands as the gold standard that other luxury brands aim to emulate. The combination of masterful craftsmanship and desireable brand prestige gives Pendleton an edge. Companies like Faribault and France-based Bianca Munthe produce excellent wool blankets, but lack Pendleton’s Americana cool factor and cultural depth. And established names like Ralph Lauren and L.L. Bean source their blankets from Pendleton. When it comes to heritage, quality, and overall appeal, no other wool blanket brand quite measures up to the original luxury icon.

Conclusion: Paying for Longevity, Craftsmanship, and Heritage

In the end, Pendleton’s elevated prices reflect a perfect storm of premium materials, expert workmanship, long-lasting quality, and brand legacy. Customers willing to pay top dollar for one of these special blankets know they are investing in a future heirloom.

For those who appreciate craftsmanship and design details, Pendleton blankets deliver on every front. The sheer softness of the virgin wool paired with enduring colors and patterns withstand trends.

Each blanket takes skill intensive labor days to produce versus machine efficiency. And behind it all, Pendleton’s century-old brand reputation reassures buyers they are purchasing an icon of American craft.

Perhaps most importantly, Pendleton blankets promise to only improve with age as they get passed down through generations. A certain patina and weathered vintage charm emerges the more a blanket gets used and loved.

The price paid upfront brings decades of enjoyment wrapped in a blanket that reflects the true meaning of quality and permanence. For those seeking an exceptional wool blanket crafted to last, Pendleton remains the gold standard.

The level of materials, processes, history, and heritage woven into these special blankets is truly something to treasure.

Ralph Wade

Hey...Ralph is here! So, did you find this article useful? If so, please leave a comment and let me know. If not, please tell me how I can improve this article. Your feedback is always appreciated. Take love :)

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