Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [SCA Newcomers] plaid and tartan patterns

Expand Messages
  • Patrick Callahan
    Dear: Coblaith Mhuimhneach Barony of Bryn Gwlad Kingdom of Ansteorra In reference to: “The usual habit of both sexes is the
    Message 1 of 11 , Sep 7, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      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 2 of 11 , Sep 8, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        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 3 of 11 , Sep 8, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          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
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.