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plaid and tartan patterns

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  • Callahan
    Hello: On a totally different note: Could anyone help me in finding out what plaid and tartan patterns might be similar to those that were actually produced
    Message 1 of 11 , Sep 5, 2006
      Hello:

      On a totally different note: Could anyone help me in finding out what
      plaid and tartan patterns might be similar to those that were actually
      produced in our time period? I have read that modern tartan and
      fashion plaids (Aka. 'walmart' plaids) are a quit different from their
      ancestral predecessors, but I am still uncertain as to what `a truly
      ancient plaid' should look like. Colors, Designs, Etc. would be most
      helpful. I look forward to what you can come up with.

      Patrick
    • Charles Hartman
      There were NO set patterns for the tartan. They were what you wanted and could redily get as to color and pattern. Callahan
      Message 2 of 11 , Sep 5, 2006
        There were NO set patterns for the tartan. They were what you wanted and could redily get as to color and pattern.


        Callahan <naspiritwalker@...> wrote:
        Hello:

        On a totally different note: Could anyone help me in finding out what
        plaid and tartan patterns might be similar to those that were actually
        produced in our time period? I have read that modern tartan and
        fashion plaids (Aka. 'walmart' plaids) are a quit different from their
        ancestral predecessors, but I am still uncertain as to what `a truly
        ancient plaid' should look like. Colors, Designs, Etc. would be most
        helpful. I look forward to what you can come up with.

        Patrick






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      • Keith Howard
        Charles is correct. The tartan would be made from whatever they could get their hands on, it wasn t until later in history that clans would adapt specific
        Message 3 of 11 , Sep 6, 2006
          Charles is correct. The tartan would be made from whatever they could get
          their hands on, it wasn't until later in history that clans would adapt
          specific tartans.

          One other thing, and I know this is being anal. The tartan is the actual
          design, the plaid is the piece wornover the shoulder.

          Aengus


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Maria
          Patrick If you go to http://www.house-of-tartan.scotland.net/ and click on the Tartan Finder link, you will find all the clans listed there. You can find the
          Message 4 of 11 , Sep 6, 2006
            Patrick

            If you go to http://www.house-of-tartan.scotland.net/ and click on the Tartan Finder link, you will find all the clans listed there. You can find the clan tartan and then buy the material from them. I'd suggest the lightweight wool. It's not as hot as you'd think and you can even wear it in the summer.

            The company has been making the tartans for a long time and they even have some of the ancient tartans in their database.

            If you have any more questions please feel free to contact me privately at scarlettmb@....

            Maria
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Callahan
            To: scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2006 10:02 PM
            Subject: [SCA Newcomers] plaid and tartan patterns


            Hello:

            On a totally different note: Could anyone help me in finding out what
            plaid and tartan patterns might be similar to those that were actually
            produced in our time period? I have read that modern tartan and
            fashion plaids (Aka. 'walmart' plaids) are a quit different from their
            ancestral predecessors, but I am still uncertain as to what `a truly
            ancient plaid' should look like. Colors, Designs, Etc. would be most
            helpful. I look forward to what you can come up with.

            Patrick






            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Steve Pote
            As wide as Granny s loom and with what ever color wool she had dyed. The side note is the tartan was (sort of) local cammo - so a rocky area might tend toward
            Message 5 of 11 , Sep 6, 2006
              As wide as Granny's loom and with what ever color wool she had dyed.
              The side note is the tartan was (sort of) local cammo - so a rocky area might tend toward greys, blues by the sea, etc. Color coded clans were much more a product of granny's dyes until very late in period.
              While I do dress my clan in the same tartan (based on what I can find 20 yards of at Joanne fabric in 11 weight worsted wool...), I have no issues switching to one without a specific family precident.
              Did I mention the ancient tartans are great dirt/grass stain cammo too?


              Keith Howard <khoward001@...> wrote:
              Charles is correct. The tartan would be made from whatever they could get
              their hands on, it wasn't until later in history that clans would adapt
              specific tartans.

              One other thing, and I know this is being anal. The tartan is the actual
              design, the plaid is the piece wornover the shoulder.

              Aengus

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






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            • Patrick Callahan
              Greetings All: If I except that “plaid” is a natural consequence of “vertical and horizontal” threads that any primitive culture would have come up
              Message 6 of 11 , Sep 6, 2006
                Greetings All:

                If I except that “plaid” is a natural consequence of
                “vertical and horizontal” threads that any primitive
                culture would have come up with; then the question
                becomes, what colors were favored in Scottish weavings
                of the 15oo’s and what dye stuffs would have been
                available to a given region, (I would have to pick a
                region. Here-to-for I have simply been, a sort of,
                generic, “clan caledonia” type of Scott.) locally or
                through trade?

                Simply weaving a modern plaid in washed out colors
                that resemble vegetable dyes and calling it “ancient”
                (the way most tartan companies do) does not make it
                truly ancient. Nor dose it really answer the question
                what the Scotts that used early “tartan”, “plaid”,
                etc. wore.

                I agree whole heartedly with the notion that “specific
                clan tartans” are late in coming and probably out of
                time period. I similarly note that the Irish, the
                Welsh, the Americans (specifically U.S. citizens) and
                probably numerous other populations never adopted
                “clan tartans” for use in their own countries. They
                have created regional and commemorative tartans,
                however.

                A person of specific Scottish clan would of course
                still have the option of using tartan with their name
                on it even if it was not created with in the country
                where they live. Lets face it, we are mostly talking
                about people of Scottish ancestry that created the
                tartans of these other places. I do not know,
                historically, if Native Irish ever really embraced
                “plaid” or “tartan”, nor did the Native Welsh or the
                Native Americans.

                In reference to “Actually Clan Douglas took its name
                from its tartan which is black and grey (dubh & glas).
                It is a tartan which can be made with little or no
                dye, from the natural wool of the grey and black
                sheep. Black dye can be made from oak gall. It is
                very old.”

                Right. You refer to a Shepherd's Plaid which is also
                the Northumberland Tartan. It is, in-deed, very old.
                Possibly the oldest tartan pattern known and is time
                period. The draw back of this tartan is, it’s
                traditionally woven in a small check, which is
                purported to be not very manly. Women generally wear
                smaller designs and men wear larger ones. I had not
                heard of the Douglas connection, but it interests me,
                I will look it up and try to find out more.

                In reference to “There are also certain tartans which
                have been listed in inventories with their setts, but
                I doubt that there are more than a total of 8 truly
                ancient setts.”

                Studying these setts whether they are produced today
                or not would be a great help. This would give me a
                base for colors and patterns I could use in looking
                for close substitute.

                In reference to “Morgaine whose hobby is designing and
                making tartan shawls for the Queens of several SCA
                Kingdoms and the Baronesses of Caid.”

                May I ask, what tartans you favor and why you chose
                them?

                Sincerely:

                Patrick Callahan
                Aka. Dances With Salmon
                Aka. Lost and Confused
              • Coblaith Mhuimhneach
                ... The only artifact of this type dating to before 1600 C.E. of which I m aware is the Falkirk Plaid
                Message 7 of 11 , Sep 6, 2006
                  Patrick Callahan wrote:
                  > Could anyone help me in finding out what plaid and tartan patterns
                  > might be similar to those that were actually produced in our time
                  > period?. . .I am still uncertain as to what a truly ancient plaid'
                  > should look like. Colors, Designs, Etc. would be most helpful.

                  The only artifact of this type dating to before 1600 C.E. of which I'm
                  aware is the Falkirk Plaid
                  <http://www.keithcommunity.co.uk/site/museum.htm#Falkirk>. Its pattern
                  closely resembles what's now called Shepherd Tartan
                  <http://www.tartanstore.net/material/shepherd.html>.

                  The Scottish Tartans Museum site hosts an article on "Pre-Culloden
                  Plaids" <http://www.scottishtartans.org/oldtartans.html> which lists by
                  their modern names tartans whose patterns are documented to before
                  1746. The Tartan Store <http://www.tartanstore.net> is a good place to
                  get a look at the modern versions--just search for their names.

                  Reconstructing History's article on medieval Scottish women's clothing
                  <http://www.reconstructinghistory.com/scottish/arisaid.html> includes
                  some quotes from 17th-century sources related to the colors used in
                  plaids and one colored 17th-century illustration showing an airsaid.



                  Coblaith Mhuimhneach
                  Barony of Bryn Gwlad
                  Kingdom of Ansteorra
                • Coblaith Mhuimhneach
                  ... Not according to William Sachceverell, who in 1688 wrote, “The usual habit of both sexes is the pladd;  the women s much finer, the colours more lively,
                  Message 8 of 11 , Sep 6, 2006
                    Patrick Callahan wrote:
                    > The draw back of this tartan is, it’s traditionally woven in a small
                    > check, which is purported to be not very manly. Women generally wear
                    > smaller designs and men wear larger ones.

                    Not according to William Sachceverell, who in 1688 wrote, “The usual
                    habit of both sexes is the pladd;  the women's much finer, the colours
                    more lively, and the square much larger than the men’s. . ."
                    <http://www.reconstructinghistory.com/scottish/arisaid.html>.



                    Coblaith Mhuimhneach
                    Barony of Bryn Gwlad
                    Kingdom of Ansteorra
                    <mailto:Coblaith@...>
                  • Patrick Callahan
                    Dear: Coblaith Mhuimhneach Barony of Bryn Gwlad Kingdom of Ansteorra In reference to: “The usual habit of both sexes is the
                    Message 9 of 11 , Sep 7, 2006
                      Dear:

                      Coblaith Mhuimhneach
                      Barony of Bryn Gwlad
                      Kingdom of Ansteorra
                      <mailto:Coblaith@...>

                      In reference to: “The usual habit of both sexes is the
                      plaid; the women's much finer, the colors more
                      lively, and the square much larger than the men’s. .
                      ."
                      <http://www.reconstructinghistory.com/scottish/arisaid.html>.

                      I was unable to get to link to work, but I concede
                      that you are probably right, as I think I read the
                      same site a some point in my research. The following
                      is an article by Matthew A. C. Newsome that caused my
                      confusion, resulting in what I posted being incorrect.
                      Sorry for any misunderstandings as such was not my
                      intent.

                      http://blog.albanach.org/2006/04/northumberland-tartan.html


                      Friday, April 28, 2006
                      Northumberland Tartan
                      Ok, so this post will mainly be of interest to the
                      guys reading this thread on X Marks the Scot.

                      There has been some interest there about the
                      Northumberland tartan (also called the Shepherd's
                      Check). This is a very simply black and white tartan
                      that can be expressed in the basic formula K = W. In
                      other words, it doesn't really matter what the thread
                      count is, so long as the black and white threads are
                      equal.

                      The same design in different colors is used as the Rob
                      Roy tartan (K = R), the Moncrieff tartan (R = G) (this
                      also is an old MacLachlan tartan, by the way), the
                      Robin Hood tartan (K = G) and some other variants.

                      It is an extremely traditional design. The oldest
                      tartan found to date in Scotland, called the Falkirk
                      tartan (being discovered in Falkirk) is a simply check
                      of light and dark undyed wool.

                      The tartan came to be associated with Northumberland,
                      in northern England, because it was adopted as the
                      official dress of the Duke of Northumberland's piper
                      in 1760. From the Northumberland Tartan Company web
                      site:
                      It is not widely known that the county of
                      Northumberland has an official tartan and moreover
                      that this tartan is held by many to be one of the
                      oldest check patterns, predating the more colourful
                      Highland tartans which followed it. The Northumberland
                      Tartan, variously known as the Border or Shepherd
                      Plaid, is also closely linked to the Percy family,
                      forming the official dress of the Duke of
                      Northumberland's piper.

                      You can read more history on their site. You can
                      purchase this tartan through the Northumberland Tartan
                      Company, of course, but also through any regular
                      tartan retailer under the name "Shepherd tartan." It's
                      the same material.

                      I've always liked this tartan. Probably partly because
                      my own surname of Newsome is English (though not from
                      Northumberland that I know of), and partly because of
                      the extreme simplicity of the design.

                      What I do not like about the tartan, and the reason
                      that I have never owned a kilt in it, is because it is
                      always produced with such an incredibly small setting.
                      Even in heavy weight kilt cloth, the thread count is
                      miniscule. Here is a picture of a gentleman wearing a
                      kilt in this tartan. (This was taken a couple of years
                      ago at the Stone Mountain Highland Games in Georgia).

                      The kilt does not look bad, mind you. The small
                      pattern is simply not to my taste, and not to the
                      taste of a lot of men I talk to about this. Compare
                      this to the size sett you typically see the Rob Roy
                      tartan, or the Moncrieff tartan woven in. I've seen
                      those tartans woven with anything from 1" to 4"
                      squares. I've always thought that the
                      Northumberland/Shepherd tartan would look much more
                      striking (and much more masculine) in a larger
                      setting.

                      If I were ever to own a kilt in this tartan, I would
                      have the cloth woven for me in a large pattern,
                      perhaps with 2.5" squares or so. It would cost a bit
                      more than using the cloth that is standardly
                      available, but I think it would be worth it.

                      To give some idea of what that would look like, here
                      is a picture of a kilt I made for a client in the
                      Moncrieff tartan (red and green). I edited the photo
                      to be black and white and played with the contrast and
                      brightness to achieve something like what the
                      Northumberland tartan would look like on a larger
                      scale. I think I might even go a bit larger than what
                      is in the photo, but this gives you some idea.

                      So how about it woolen mills? When your current stock
                      of heavy weight Shepherd check runs out, why not try
                      weaving it up with a larger setting. I'm willing to be
                      it will increase your sales of kilts and cloth in this
                      tartan. In the mean time, if anyone wants a kilt like
                      this and doesn't want to wait for the tartan industry
                      to begin to produce it in a larger pattern, let me
                      know and I'll be glad to order up a small batch for
                      you (and maybe enough for a kilt for myself while I am
                      at it!)
                    • Callahan
                      Greetings: Following the idea that early tartan was based on whatever they could get their hands on . I still need to figure out what they could get there
                      Message 10 of 11 , Sep 8, 2006
                        Greetings:

                        Following the idea that early tartan was based on "whatever they could
                        get their hands on". I still need to figure out what they could get
                        there hands on, dye stuffs, colors they could produces. The "local
                        cammo" comment helps a lot to. I will need try to look for earth
                        tones and avoid the bright colors of the more modern tartans.

                        I am aware that properly speaking (in Scottish or British usage) the
                        tartan is the pattern and the plaid which is rarely seen these days is
                        the piece worn over the shoulder. In Gaelic the word plaid originally
                        meant "blanket" and tartan is derived from the French word tiretaine a
                        type of cloth made of woolen-linen blend. So at least historically
                        speaking tartan referred to the fabric itself and not a particular
                        design. In American English it get all jumbled up and few American
                        know their tartan from their plaid. So the word plaid is often used
                        when describing a fashion tartan. (basically a tartan cloth that has
                        no specific meaning; regional or clan associations, etc.)

                        Patrick





                        Re: [SCA Newcomers] plaid and tartan patterns

                        As wide as Granny's loom and with what ever color
                        wool she had dyed. The side note is the tartan was
                        (sort of) local cammo - so a rocky area might tend
                        toward greys, blues by the sea, etc. Color coded
                        clans were much more a product of granny's dyes
                        until very late in period. While I do dress my
                        clan in the same tartan (based on what I can find
                        20 yards of at Joanne fabric in 11 weight worsted
                        wool...), I have no issues switching to one without
                        a specific family precident. Did I mention the
                        ancient tartans are great dirt/grass stain cammo too?


                        Keith Howard <khoward001@...> wrote: Charles is
                        correct. The tartan would be made from whatever
                        they could get their hands on, it wasn't until
                        later in history that clans would adapt specific
                        tartans.

                        One other thing, and I know this is being anal.
                        The tartan is the actual design, the plaid is the
                        piece wornover the shoulder.

                        Aengus
                      • Patrick Callahan
                        Greetings All: The article Pre-Culloden Tartans on albanach.org was very helpful to me. There I found three tartans with pre-16oo dates: Lennox District
                        Message 11 of 11 , Sep 8, 2006
                          Greetings All:

                          The article Pre-Culloden Tartans on albanach.org was
                          very helpful to me. There I found three tartans with
                          pre-16oo dates: Lennox District Tartan is dated only
                          as pre-16oo, Ulster District Tartan is dated as 159o,
                          Shepherd's Check (Northumberland Tartan) is dated a
                          325. In addition to these, there were three more
                          possibilities. These were old tartans did not have
                          enough documentation to be defiantly proven to be time
                          period, even though it seems likely that they were.
                          They are Rob Roy Tartan, Gow Clan Tartan and Caledonia
                          Tartan. I would like to thank everyone for coming up
                          with so many good comments, links and ideas.

                          Patrick
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