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  1. #1
    Join Date
    30th November 04
    Location
    Deansboro, NY
    Posts
    2,634

    Surprise with the US Air Force Reserve Pipe Band Tartan

    Many, many years ago, when our daughter first started Air Force ROTC in college (she's a piper, and now actually plays for the USAF Reserver Pipe Band), I made her a US Air Force tartan kilt out of the stock fabric that Strathmore weaves and lists as US Air Force. It's only 10 oz, and I wasn't very happy with it as a kilt (although it is nice fabric). When she commissioned in the Air Force, I had a custom weave done in 16 oz at DC Dalgliesh, and I sent a swatch of the 10 oz so that they could match the sett. Here's the kilt:





    OK! So all was good until I had a client order a kilt last summer, and he wanted heavy weight USAF, so I went to the Scottish Tartans Authority and found the sett:



    The thumbnail at the Register of Scottish tartans shows the same sett:



    I did a screen shot, and sent it to Dalgliesh for a custom weave. I just about had a heart attack when I got the tartan, because it didn't match Carolyn's kilt. The shades of color were different (which isn't all that surprising), but I was stunned that the sett wasn't the same. In the photo below, the new weave is on the left, and Carolyn's weave (which matched the 10 oz tartan from Strathmore) is on the right. Those of you with sharp eyes will immediately see the difference - an extra dark blue stripe between the red and the light blue in the STA/Register version.



    Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the sett in the new weave matches the tartan listed as the US Air Force Reserve Pipe Band tartan at both STA and the Register of Scottish Tartans and that the Strathmore weave does not. I couldn't actually find a tartan in either the STA or the Register that matches the Strathmore sett. (And, BTW, my husband's AF tartan shirt is also the "wrong" sett....)

    So here's what the tartan with the Register sett looks like made up into a kilt. Very handsome, but quite different from Carolyn's:

    Last edited by Barb T; 14th November 11 at 08:26 PM.
    Kiltmaker, piper, and geologist (one of the few, the proud, with brains for rocks....
    Member, Scottish Tartans Authority
    Geology stuff (mostly) at http://people.hamilton.edu/btewksbu
    The Art of Kiltmaking at http://www.celticdragonpress.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    14th October 10
    Location
    Los Alamos, NM, USA
    Posts
    3,115

    Re: Surprise with the US Air Force Reserve Pipe Band Tartan

    Barb: Let me start by saying that is a beautiful kilt, and a superb picture of a kilt with accoutrement. It looks like a picture out of a fashion magazine. Great work! Unfortunately, we only get to see the models' (daughter and husband, I presume) pleats.

    I am puzzled by the sett "problem", and if a problem even exists. On the Strathmore web pages they label the subject tartan "US Air Force (Not Official)". Does the parenthetical phrase refer to "unsanctioned by the Air Force" or "an unofficial sett" (ie different from that shown by the STA and SRT)? If the latter, then there does not appear to be a problem beyond possible misinterpretation. Please correct me, if I am wrong.

    Not that it matters all that much, but I prefer the simplicity of Strathmore's sett and Carolyn's kilt. To my eyes the other appears a bit too busy.

    John
    I changed my signature. The old one was too ridiculous.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    30th November 04
    Location
    Deansboro, NY
    Posts
    2,634

    Re: Surprise with the US Air Force Reserve Pipe Band Tartan

    Quote Originally Posted by mookien View Post
    Barb: Let me start by saying that is a beautiful kilt, and a superb picture of a kilt with accoutrement. It looks like a picture out of a fashion magazine. Great work! Unfortunately, we only get to see the models' (daughter and husband, I presume) pleats.

    I am puzzled by the sett "problem", and if a problem even exists. On the Strathmore web pages they label the subject tartan "US Air Force (Not Official)". Does the parenthetical phrase refer to "unsanctioned by the Air Force" or "an unofficial sett" (ie different from that shown by the STA and SRT)? If the latter, then there does not appear to be a problem beyond possible misinterpretation. Please correct me, if I am wrong.

    Not that it matters all that much, but I prefer the simplicity of Strathmore's sett and Carolyn's kilt. To my eyes the other appears a bit too busy.

    John
    If you go to the Register of Scottish Tartans and type in "Air Force", you'll see all of the tartans that have "Air Force" in the name. The one listed as "US Air Force Reserve Pipe Band" (tartan 2437) has a commentary in the text about it being woven by Strathmore and adopted by the US Air Force Reserve Pipe Band, despite the fact that what Strathmore weaves does not match the sett of the one listed in the Register. There is another USAF tartan listed as US 2001 Air Force (tartan 4089) that is virtually identical to that woven by Strathmore, except that there's a _green_ stripe instead of a gold stripe. And if you actually look at the sett, it's specified as green even though it's a little hard to tell what the color is in the thumbnail.

    So, it's a bit of a mystery....
    Kiltmaker, piper, and geologist (one of the few, the proud, with brains for rocks....
    Member, Scottish Tartans Authority
    Geology stuff (mostly) at http://people.hamilton.edu/btewksbu
    The Art of Kiltmaking at http://www.celticdragonpress.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    1st August 11
    Location
    Romsey Nr Southampton UK
    Posts
    2,005

    Re: Surprise with the US Air Force Reserve Pipe Band Tartan

    Barb I cant even begin to tell you how little I know about kiltmaking but I do know what I like. While I can understand the confusion insofar that as I understand it the Strathmore weave doesnt match the STA sett I think that the Air Force should immediately stop wearing the STA version and adopt the Carolyns weave version. It is an absolute belter of a kilt.
    Kind regards- Simon M Taylor-Dando
    Member Cameron Clan Association -Scotland
    Chlanna nan con thigibh a so's gheibh sibh feoil

  5. #5
    Join Date
    14th October 10
    Location
    Los Alamos, NM, USA
    Posts
    3,115

    Re: Surprise with the US Air Force Reserve Pipe Band Tartan

    As you mentioned in your previous post, the SRT threadcount of the US 2001 Air Force specifies GREEN, not GOLD, ie

    Threadcount: BL66RB6BL14RB6BL66R4K44G6B98G6K44R4

    Pallet: R=C80000RED;G=006818GREEN;RB=1C0070ROYALBLUE;
    K=101010BLACK;B=2C2C80BLUE;BL=1474B4BALMORAL BLUE;

    Strathmore's (Not Official) tartan appears to resemble more closely the tartan shown on the STA web pages as "U.S. Air Force Reserve P. B. (Corpor" (sic). ITI # 2437 that can be viewed at

    http://www.tartansauthority.com/tart...n_name_search=

    According to the STA, this tartan is also called the "Lady Jane".

    While Strathmore's (Not Official) tartan closely resembles the Lady Jane, to my eye it does not appear to be identical. For example the two dark(er) blue stripes over the light(er) blue appear further apart in the Lady Jane than in the (Not Official). I cannot tell with certainty, however, because I am not able to interpret the threadcount as given on the STA web page.

    Thus, I can only conclude that the Strathmore US Air Force tartan is Not Official in either sense. But, it looks nice.
    I changed my signature. The old one was too ridiculous.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    22nd June 11
    Location
    Walcott, IA 52773
    Posts
    351

    Re: Surprise with the US Air Force Reserve Pipe Band Tartan

    LOVE the accessories--especially the sporran chain! Kilt is beautiful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    30th November 04
    Location
    Deansboro, NY
    Posts
    2,634

    Re: Surprise with the US Air Force Reserve Pipe Band Tartan

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBrus View Post
    LOVE the accessories--especially the sporran chain! Kilt is beautiful.
    It's a custom Air Force sporran set. The maker used Air Force uniform buttons on the sporran chain, sgian dubh, and kilt pin, plus her career classification badge on the belt. It's pretty swell.
    Kiltmaker, piper, and geologist (one of the few, the proud, with brains for rocks....
    Member, Scottish Tartans Authority
    Geology stuff (mostly) at http://people.hamilton.edu/btewksbu
    The Art of Kiltmaking at http://www.celticdragonpress.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    30th November 04
    Location
    Deansboro, NY
    Posts
    2,634

    Re: Surprise with the US Air Force Reserve Pipe Band Tartan

    Quote Originally Posted by mookien View Post

    While Strathmore's (Not Official) tartan closely resembles the Lady Jane, to my eye it does not appear to be identical.
    Actually, in terms of color blocks, stripes, and proportions, the Strathmore Air Force tartan is absolutely identical to the US 2001 Air Force tartan, with the sole exception that the green stripe is gold in the Strathmore tartan. The US Air Force Reserve Pipe Band tartan is actually quite different from the Strathmore tartan. It has an extra medium dark blue stripe between the narrow red stripe and the light blue, and the double dark blue stripes are wider and more widely spaced than in the Strathmore version.

    As I said, it's a mystery. Was it recorded wrong, or is it being woven wrong?
    Kiltmaker, piper, and geologist (one of the few, the proud, with brains for rocks....
    Member, Scottish Tartans Authority
    Geology stuff (mostly) at http://people.hamilton.edu/btewksbu
    The Art of Kiltmaking at http://www.celticdragonpress.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    18th July 10
    Location
    Cincinnati
    Posts
    295

    Re: Surprise with the US Air Force Reserve Pipe Band Tartan

    Barb,
    Thanks for posting this interesting background on my kilt. It is a beautiful work of art; nothing short of stunning. I can't wait for it to arrive.
    Re: " Those of you with sharp eyes will immediately see the difference - an extra dark blue stripe between the red and the light blue in the STA/Register version." As my eyes were pretty severely damaged testing ejection seats, I don't find the differences all that great. When I blew up the photos on my special computer software, I did notice one significant difference that I was surprised you didn't mention - my kilt seems to have some funny white zig-zag lines the other did not... <grin> At least the ejection seat tests didn't seem to affect my sense of humor!
    Thank you for all of your efforts! I am looking forward to wearing it on Veteran's Day next week, and will be proud to be the owner of a Bart T. kilt!
    Mark Stephenson
    Region 5 Commissioner (OH, MI, IN, IL, WI, MN, IA, KY), Clan MacTavish USA
    Cincinnati, OH
    Be alert - the world needs more lerts

  10. #10
    Join Date
    2nd October 04
    Location
    Page/Lake Powell, Arizona USA
    Posts
    13,678

    Re: Surprise with the US Air Force Reserve Pipe Band Tartan

    Most surprising since I thought Strathmore was the go-to mill for tartans related to the American military.
    Ol' Macdonald himself, a proud son of Skye and Cape Breton Island
    Lifetime Member STA. Two time winner of Utilikiltarian of the Month.
    "I'll have a kilt please, a nice hand sewn tartan, 16 ounce Strome. Oh, and a sporran on the side, with a strap please."

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