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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Last week of March 2010 in Washington State

We went to see Jim's son and his family including our glorious grandchild Ella Jacqueline Wolf. What a love she is. She was 9 weeks old when we were there and was getting a personality. She was just starting to talk and smile.

While we were there, we took the opportunity to do 3 mill tours that we (I) had been wanting to do: The two Pendleton factories (1 in Pendleton OR and 1 in Waushougal, WA) and the Bob's Redmill Factory and Grain Store in Portland. People at work can't figure out why I'd want to go to these places :o). I guess they aren't weavers :o).

The Pendleton factory in Pendleton OR is the place where they make the indian blankets and it is also where they have the electronic jacquard looms. They look like normal large wide electronic looms but because they are jacquards, which means that each thread is controlled individually across hundreds of threads. They are extremely expensive looms and cost probably twice as much as a normal loom. They are absolutely amazing to watch. The shuttles go faster than the eye can see. The tour was only about 20 minutes long but was fun nonetheless.

The next day, as we were going back to Portland, as we were going right by there anyway, we stopped in Waushougal, WA at the big (primary) Pendleton factory. This factory has regular looms and makes plain weave, stripes and plaids. This place was huge. It looked like the size of a couple of football fields. We had a nice long hour tour and everything was explained in detail. They would not let me take pictures though - I suppose because of some proprietary designs that they were creating. It was really fun to watch the weavers. They actually do a lot of the work by hand still and it is very labor intensive.

The next day, the day we were leaving, we took the opportunity in Portland to go through the Bob's Redmill factory and store. That tour was lots of fun. They kept us outside of the food areas though, behind glass, presumably to keep things clean in there. Everyone who worked in those areas wore their hair in nets - whether it be the face or their heads for sanitation.

It was a great trip.

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