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Re: [SCA Newcomers] plaid and tartan patterns

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  • 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 1 of 11 , Sep 5, 2006
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      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 2 of 11 , Sep 6, 2006
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        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 3 of 11 , Sep 6, 2006
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          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 4 of 11 , Sep 6, 2006
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            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 5 of 11 , Sep 6, 2006
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              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 6 of 11 , Sep 6, 2006
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                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 7 of 11 , Sep 6, 2006
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                  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 8 of 11 , Sep 7, 2006
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                    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 9 of 11 , Sep 8, 2006
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                      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 10 of 11 , Sep 8, 2006
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                        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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