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Thread: Confused !

  1. #1
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    Confused !

    Dear Rabble,
    As my username suggests, I am clan Donnachaidh/Robertson. I have just one kilt (8 yards heavyweight wool) in my clan tartan - Robertson. Having reviewed my wardrobe, my kilt is showing signs of wear and tear, and due to vast quantities of ale over the years, my 'waist' (read 'pot belly') has gotten bigger. I am in need of a replacement kilt. I have looked on many websites, found a price that suits my pocket, and have decided to have a new kilt made to measure. Ok - so far, so good.

    I have come across a phenomenon that I do not understand.

    My 'old kilt' has about 4 and a half big red squares from top to bottom.
    I have seen kilts purporting to be Robertson (red) tartan, and they have varying numbers of big red squares - 5, 6, 7,.....? from top to bottom. i.e. a smaller 'check' tartan.

    Could anyone be so kind as to explain why this is? Are they variations of my tartan? Modern versions, cheap imports, fakes? (I don't think they are extra long kilts!)

    Many thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    If the ratio of threads is the same, then it's the same tartan, just different threads. Is the weight of the cloth less? That could also shrink the pattern. You'll get better answers from others, but perhaps this will get you started.

    Now, work on that beer belly!
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Father Bill View Post
    ...
    Now, work on that beer belly!
    I been working on mine for years - started out a puny little 6-pack and now it's a mighty keg!

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  6. #4
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    You are noticing the difference between sett and threadcount per the individual "warping" of said sett.

    The Robertson Red sett is what it is: 1/2 pivots - RGRBRGRBRBRGR.
    However, depending on the reed used, the porters in that reed and the inches of the warp, one can determine to a mathematical certainty the size and density of the fabric woven over the standard ell (appx. 37 inches or, single width).
    These differences enlarge or reduce the sett proportionally, but don't change it. It is still Robertson Red.

    "Father Bill" is correct, the weight of the fabric will reduce the sett (within wool) from Regimental weights down to 10oz. through semi-synthetics and into silks. Rocky Roeger, proprietor of USA Kilts, has a wonderful explanation of this on the forum.

    See The 1819 Key Pattern Book: One Hundred Original Tartans, Peter Eslea MacDonald 2012, pgs.11-18, 66; Tartan: The Highland Textile, James D. Scarlett, 1990
    Last edited by Domehead; 30th August 13 at 02:42 PM.

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  8. #5
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    Thanks guys - your comments (and knowledge) is/are very much appreciated!
    My biggest fear was that I bought a 'reduced check' tartan only to be told I was wearing a womans skirt!
    This is a great site!
    Thank you!

  9. #6
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    If your old kilt has 4 1/2 "big red squares" find out, if you don't already know, the weight of its fabric and be sure to order your new kilt in that same weight. There is a big difference in the feel and behavior of a 16oz wool kilt and one with 6 or 7 "little red squares" which would, as has been pointed out, indicate a lighter weight wool. It is not just the esthetic look of having more or less squares, the weight of the kilt fabric significantly effects how the kilt behaves and wears.

    Best of luck with your new purchase!

  10. #7
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    While sett size can be a "quick-and-dirty" indication of fabric weight, it is not a 100% accurate indicator. For example, in this thread, the OP shows off a lovely kilt in custom-woven fabric with a "purposefully huge sett." Just because the sett is larger doesn't mean this kilt is made of, say, 48 oz fabric!

    As I understand it, as long as you maintain the ratio of threads in each colorway, you can weave any weight fabric in (practically) any sett size. Of course there are limitations in loom size, and (for example) trying to create a tiny sett in the relatively large strands used to weave Harris tweed would be silly, but the concept stands.
    Proudly Duncan [maternal], MacDonald and MacDaniel [paternal].

  11. #8
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    Thread moved to "The Tartan Place"

    You may get more answers here!

    Bill+
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

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