I have a huge amount of life/work stuff to catch you up on, but that will have to wait until next week. I signed up for a art/music festival at TTU (my alma mater) on Saturday and have zero inventory to speak of. For now- on to more interesting things.
Did you know that tartan patterns are as old as the eleventh century? Each Scottish clan had its own tartan- 4 actually: the chief's tartan, the clan tartan, the dress tartan, and the hunting tartan. In the early days, it was possible to recognize the Scottish district from which travelers came by their tartans. There were also tartans for the royal family, regimental tartans, and occupational tartans for shepherds and clergymen.
The tartan was originally wrapped around the body and belted at the waist. The upper part was then thrown over the left shoulder and fastened in place with a brooch set with a native stone called the Cairngorm. That extra part thrown over the shoulder served as extra protection against the cold mountain winds. Tartans are also associated with kilts- worn exclusively by men, and silk tartan sashes for women's evening wear.
Tartans are typically made of wool and the colors most generally used are red, azure, dark blue, light and dark green, yellow, black, and white. Often, the colors would blend together to create beautiful hues of greens, greys, and blues.
The tartan pattern that I chose is from the Clan MacPherson. Like many other Highland clans, the MacPherson history is full of romance as well as strife. I am generally not a history buff, but I find the idea of each clan having its own tartan pattern-- kind of like a family crest- really intriguing.
The pattern inspiring my tartan scarves and the background about the clans all came from this great book I found used at a store here in town called New Key to Weaving from 1957.