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  1. #1
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    Weaving Setts for Thomson Tartans

    Hi, just had a query from my Brother as to whether I had access to the Setts for Thomson Tartan?

    I'm not talking about setts in the terms of what most people talk about (ie Thomson Dress, Hunting, Camel, Grey) but the actual guidelines for a weaver to weave the tartan. He has a handloom and wants to have a go at weaving some. He's looked at the Tartan Registry but was advised if he wanted access to the sets he would need a profile to log in. He's managed to find one for McTavish, which obviously is connected, but very different from Thomson Tartan.

    Any other suggestions as to where he could get access to them, or could anyone actually provide them?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allan Thomson View Post
    Hi, just had a query from my Brother as to whether I had access to the Setts for Thomson Tartan?

    I'm not talking about setts in the terms of what most people talk about (ie Thomson Dress, Hunting, Camel, Grey) but the actual guidelines for a weaver to weave the tartan. He has a handloom and wants to have a go at weaving some. He's looked at the Tartan Registry but was advised if he wanted access to the sets he would need a profile to log in. He's managed to find one for McTavish, which obviously is connected, but very different from Thomson Tartan.

    Any other suggestions as to where he could get access to them, or could anyone actually provide them?
    Ah the Register, what do they know, not a lot!

    There are a number of Thomson/Thompson tartans. If it's on the Register and the image shows at least a half sett, click to enlarge, save the graphic and extract the threadcount from that. The half sett (to the half pivot) count is all that is required, then fit to the loom and size of sett required.

  3. The Following User Says 'Aye' to figheadair For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
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    Thankyou Figheadair.

    Just thought in my query I probably should have said this will be his first crack at weaving Tartan, he's produced bolts of plain cloth, but nothing with a pattern before.... He just wants to have a go and learn from the experience.

    He mentioned something (this was over the phone) about sections being separated by guidelines like section A5 should contain x amount of so many colours, and A4 being of a different number of pattern. Not being a weaver myself and not having looked too closely into that side of it (yet....) it was slightly technical, so I might not be taking on board what he said properly. I have suggested he join these forums as I think it's probably his best chance and he could talk to you directly.

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  6. #4
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    Tartan fabric is almost always woven in a Twill pattern today.

    What you are asking for is "the thread count'. This is the number of yarns, of a given color, in a particular order, that create the tartan 'pattern'.

    Most, but not all, Tartans are the same warpwise as weftwise. So the result is a series of squares.

    There are also things called 'pivot points'. This is where if you fold the fabric it is a mirror image of itself on both sides of the fold.

    If you are a member or either the Scottish Tartans Authority or the Scottish Register of Tartan you can ask them to email the thread count of any Tartan on their listings. If you do not choose to become a member almost any kiltmaker can ask for the thread count for you.

    You will need the specific name of the Tartan and the number it is registered under to get the thread count.

    For example the Thompson/Thomson/MacTavish Tartan is listed with The Scottish Register of Tartan as #4114.

    With this description -

    "D.C. Stewart writes, " This tartan has recently (1950) come into use as being that appropriate to the Thomsons; Thomson is the anglicised form of the name MacTavish. It is not recorded in any of the early illustrated books. Many MacTavishes wear the Campbell of Argyll." Stewart may not have considered Johnston's publication in 1906 as 'early' and this may have been the source for the sett he recorded in the 'Setts of the Scottish Tartans' in 1950. Some versions show black in place of the mid blue stripe . The sett was agreed by Dugald MacTavish of Dunardry 26th Chief to be the Clan tartan. It is on the Lord Lyon Court Books as the "MacTavish" clan tartan."

    This same Tartan is listed on the Scottish Tartans Authority as Thomson Red or ITI 6155.

    "Yet another Thomson variation - this one woven by Lochcarron".
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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  8. #5
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    Thankyou very much Steve, I think both the information you and Figheadair provided are of great benefit to my brother & I've suggested he joins the forum to get access to the considerable knowledge base here.

    What is the process for registering for membership with the Scottish Tartans Authority and The Register Of Tartans and would there be any cost in joining them?

    I have also suggested approaching the local woollen mills and asking them, but wasn't sure if they would provide a thread count for someone who would weave it themselves.

  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allan Thomson View Post
    Thankyou very much Steve, I think both the information you and Figheadair provided are of great benefit to my brother & I've suggested he joins the forum to get access to the considerable knowledge base here.

    What is the process for registering for membership with the Scottish Tartans Authority and The Register Of Tartans and would there be any cost in joining them?

    I have also suggested approaching the local woollen mills and asking them, but wasn't sure if they would provide a thread count for someone who would weave it themselves.
    Details of STA Membership are here. You can sign up the to Register to receive updates of new designs for free but be aware, they don't hold a comprhensive list of tartans, nor do they have any detailed knowledge. For the latter they refer people to the former, which in turn means me.

    You brother should try and get hold of a copy of Jamie Scarlett's How to weave fine cloth.

  10. #7
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    Will have a look out for that and see if I could find it around xmas time. Sounds like a good suggestion. I know he has got some locally based advisors who have given him some direction, but Tartan is totally different from anything else he's woven before.

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