Trade: A Tale of Survival

Charlie Bishop is keen on touting the virtues of wool. Besides being all natural and biodegradable, wool, he will tell you, is flame, water, wrinkle and stain resistant--plus it keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer. But first and foremost, he wants to spread the word that wool isn't scratchy. "That's the presumption we've got to change," he says with a grin. Today's wool, like the kind being produced by his family's business, Pendleton Woolen Mills in Portland, Ore., is soft, supple, lightweight and not at all irritating.

The Bishops are among the world's best wool craftspeople, outfitting legions...

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