When I was 3 my mother gave me a blanket that became my comfort ‘blankie’. Whether I used it for sleep or not, it was always laying about my bedroom. As an adolescent, when it suddenly became embarrassing to have such a thing as a ‘blankie’, I packed it away, sent to the attic and never given a second thought. Then some years ago as I transitioned from single to married life, I was clearing out some of my old things and I came across it again. Suddenly, memories of my mother and my childhood came flooding back.
Here is the blankie today, in all its glory and for everyone to see. For the kids to snuggle up with during those rainy afternoons or for me to curl up with during precious reading time. My Tartan blankie in our Scottish flat. Funny how things work out.
Tartan didn’t just extend to my blankie; I remember seeing Tartan around the house all throughout my childhood. Grandparents, parents, all tartan appreciators. So, its definitely not only since moving to the Tartan-appreciating nation that is Scotland. But I’d never followed up its history until now!
Googling tartan history will present you with a lot of facts and figures, it has a pretty interesting history. It wasn’t always associated with Scotland but became part of its culture over time. The Scottish Highlands in particular have always been partial to a bit of Tartan and now it is well and truly part of its culture and identity.
‘Originally, tartan designs had no names, and no symbolic meaning. All tartan cloth was hand woven, and usually supplied locally. While it may have been true that certain colors or pattern motifs were more common in some areas than others, no regulated or defined “clan tartan” system ever existed. Tartan, in general, however came to be extremely popular in Scottish Highland culture’ – Excerpt from Scottish Tartans Museum website
Certain patterns, designs and colours now represent particular clans/families. There is even a national register to record all the different ones that exist! The Scottish are most definitely proud of their Tartan and rightly so.
I guess my relationship with Tartan and plaid at that early age, along with all the memories associated with it, fuelled my appreciation of it as an adult. As a crafter I find tartan fabric extremely beautiful and elegant, although woven fabrics such as these may be tricky to sew! You are sure to find lots advice on the net to help you along and you should definitely try it once.
There simply isn’t a way I could present all the rich history of this beautiful fabric in such a short blog post but I will provide some links where you could find out a bit more about it. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Sewing with Tartan – A decorative throw pillow with Tartan applique made a great wedding anniversary gift for a close family member was well appreciated by all. My next Tartan project is probably going to be a dress for the little girls!
Scottish Tartans Museum: http://www.scottishtartans.org/tartan.html
The Scottish Register of Tartans: https://www.tartanregister.gov.uk/
Also…………..my Pinterest board Tartan Amore: https://uk.pinterest.com/aleesmum/tartan-amore/