I love tartans! As a weaver, I love textiles in general . . . but, tartans fascinate me and I believe my love of tartans may have to do with the British components of my DNA . . . after all, like thousands and thousands of people around the world; I’m a distant relation to many in Great Britain . . . including Queen Elizabeth II (my 12th cousin) and King Henry VIII (my 16th cousin). But, rest assured, I don’t condone beheading . . . although, an invitation to the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last year would have been nice. Anyway, since I doubt my heritage is of interest to many people, let’s get back to tartans.
Tartan fabrics have a long history and many have fascinating stories. Information about tartans can be found at http://www.scotshistoryonline.co.uk/tartan-history.html. Plus, in my opinion, a kilt can be one of the sexiest garments a man can where. If your family has a tartan, it can make you feel a connection to generations long ago. But, even if you don’t have a family tartan, designing one can provide the following:
- A fun way to pass some time when you are in need of a diversion
- Easy experimentation with the interlacement of different color combinations . . . such as a color palette from Colourlovers.com (the first of my favorite things on this blog)
- A great way to observe how proportion of colors influence the overall appearance of a fabric
- A method to understand Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 200 year-old theory of color intensity and how a little addition of an intense color goes a long way. (You can learn more about von Goethe’s theory at http://www.framedreality.com/color-in-photography-color-theory . . . you just need to scroll down about 2/3rds of the way down the page ).
At first designing a tartan may seem rather ominous . . . from choosing the colors . . . deciding the order of the colors . . . whether certain colors will be repeated . . . how much of each color to include . . . and whether the tartan pattern will be symmetrical or asymmetrical. Fortunately, there are on-line tartan design tools that are just a click away and below are three to choose from.
House of Tartan – http://houseoftartan.co.uk/interactive/weaver/index.html
The on-line tartan design tool at House of Tartan takes you through several screens . . . starting with selecting your colors and then moving on to placing them in order and finishing with the number of ends for each color.
Tartan Maker – http://www.tartanmaker.com/
Tartan Maker makes it easy to design a tartan on a single screen. It may not be the most robust tartan-design tool, but it’s simple to use.
Tartan Designer at Tartan Generator – http://www.tartangenerator.com/tartan/
Tartan Designer provides a digital shelf of yarns above the tool. Select what you like, adjust the number of threads, and see what you come up.
Now, what if you design a unique and distinctive tartan? Did you know you can register it? To learn more about registering a tartan, check out The Scottish Register of Tartans at http://www.tartanregister.gov.uk/. Someday I would love to design a tartan for my husband and register it. His mother’s family were Scottish descendants, but I’ve never located a tartan for them. Until then, I can still entertain myself with designing tartans to see the limitless possibilities.