Tartans

In the January/February issue of Handwoven, Linda L. Davis celebrates her weaverly Scottish ancestry with a tartan jacket. The earliest evidence of tartans in Scotland is a scrap of woolen cloth from the 3rd century AD, which was used as a stopper in a clay pot full of Roman coins. The sample is woven of undyed brown and white wool from native Soay Sheep. A uniform set of clan tartans didn't come into being until the late 18th century, after decades of conflict between the Scottish Highlanders and the British crown during which tartan wearing was banned. After the bans were repealed in 1782, "Highland Societies" were formed to restore the spirit and culture of the highlands. By 1822, weaving manufacturer William Wilson had over 200 tartans recorded, and the Highland Society of London had persuaded the majority of the clan chiefs to record their clan tartans. If you'd like a wee bit of Scottish style for yourself, you can design a tartan of your very own with the House of Tartans interactive tartan designer.

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