There is often confusion about the difference between tartan and tweed. Both are hand Mucros Weavers Tweed Patch Cap[/caption] woven fabric, made of hand spun and dyed wool. Is that where the similarities begin and end? Let's look a little closer. From Wikipedia: Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands Tartan Swatches at The Celtic Ranch[/caption] in multiple colours. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns. Tartan is often called plaid in North America, but in Scotland, a plaid is a tartan cloth slung over the shoulder as a kilt accessory, or a plain ordinary blanket such as one would have on a bed. Tartan is made with alternating bands of coloured (pre-dyed) threads woven as both warp and weft at right angles to each other. The weft is woven in a simple twill, two over—two under the warp, advancing one thread at each pass. This forms visible diagonal lines where different colours cross, which give the appearance of new colours blended from the original ones. The resulting blocks of colour repeat vertically and horizontally in a distinctive pattern of squares and lines known as a sett. Also from Wikipedia: Tweed is a rough, woollen fabric, of a soft, open, flexible texture, resembling cheviot or homespun, but more closely woven. It is usually woven with a plain weave, twill or herringbone structure. Colour effects in the yarn may be obtained by mixing dyed wool before it is spun. Tweeds are an icon of traditional Irish and British country Mona Tartan Bag[/caption] clothing, being desirable for informal outerwear, due to the material being moisture-resistant and durable. Tweeds are made to withstand harsh climate and are commonly worn for outdoor activities such as shooting and hunting, in both Ireland and the United Kingdom. "Lovat" is the name given to the green used in traditional Scottish tweed. In Ireland, tweed manufacturing is most associated with County Donegal. But, according to Gentleman's Gazette: The wearing of tweed entered a new phase when in Carraigdonn Single Buckle Tweed Bag[/caption] the first half of the nineteenth century many estates in Scotland were acquired by English noblemen wishing to expand their life of leisure. In 1848, Prince Albert ignited a rush on Scottish estates when he purchased Balmoral. Although the foundation of the castle wasn’t laid until September 28, 1853, he designed The Balmoral Tweed earlier. Blue with white sprinkles and crimson in color, it was no coincidence that it looks gray from afar resembling the granite mountains of Aberdeenshire around Balmoral because it was designed for deer stalking in the area. As such, one of the first Estate Tweeds was born, and subsequently it became all the rage among estate owners to commission their special tweeds. Two of the main families of tweeds are Clan Tartan Tweeds and Estate Tweeds, but what’s the difference? Think of it this way:
- Tweed is the general category that includes both varieties.
- A Clan Tartan identified the members of the same family no matter where they live. (Family based)
- An Estate Tweed used to identify people who live and work in the same estate, regardless of whether they are related or not. (Location based)
Scotland is just plain romantic. The churches, the mountains, the castles, and of course...MEN IN KILTS (swoon). This is probably why Diana Gabaldon chose to set her epic love story, Outlander, in Scotland. The story, for those not in the know, centers around Claire, an army nurse during World War 2 who travels back in time to the 18th Century where she meets James Fraser, a Scottish fugitive from the British army. Time travel, strong women, MEN IN KILTS. It doesn't get much more romantic. The series Wool tartan tie[/caption] has been made into a TV series for the Starz network, and as such has made us all fall in love. The costumes and scenery are big stars in the series, and there has been international clamor for clothing and accessories, so Outlander fans can keep a piece of their favorite romance with them, and perhaps feel a little like a Claire or Jamie themselves. Be a Claire! Hamilton and Young Standing stone pendant[/caption] Ingles Buchen, a renowned maker of plaids in Scotland, has created and exclusive licensed line of beautiful wool fabrics of both the Fraser and Mackenzie tartans, as well as a special Outlander tartan. These have been made into hats, shawls, ties, bow ties, scarves, and stoles which are now available in select stores. To complement the plaids, there are pieces of jewelry commemorating special parts of the books, for instance there is a beautiful thistle and knot ring like the one Jamie gave to Claire, pieces with the Fraser crest and motto, and delicate pendants to add to your collection. These pieces are available exclusively at The Celtic Ranch, and can be purchased online or in store. Please go to our website to see our full collection of Outlander pieces, they make an unusual and romantic gift for your loved one, or even yourself!
Oh, Outlander, how we love thee. The drama, the scenery, the lush costumes, the delicious details...whether reading the novels or watching the program, as an Outlander fan we eat it all up as a feast for our senses. We simply cannot get enough. If you count yourself as one of those with an insatiable appetite for Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, you must join The Celtic Ranch for an Outlander-inspired Scotch Whisky tasting on Saturday, May 16. Master Scotsman Joel Stewart joins us for an unforgettable afternoon of unforgettable libations and treats inspired by the literary phenomenon. Attendees may visit to your heart’s content with others who have memorized lines, debated alternate endings, watched and re-watched every episode, and still cannot stop talking about Claire and Jamie. If you are less familiar with the epic story, grab a glass and sit back to enjoy the tale unfold around you. No doubt you will be a devotee by the time you leave. Consider Gabaldon's own appreciation for good Scotch Whisky:
She stretched out her hand toward the table by her chair, not bothering to look. She didn’t need to; the butler set down a crystal tumbler softly, just where her fingers would touch it. Her hand closed around it, and she lifted it, passing it under her nose and sniffing, eyes closed in sensual delight.
“There’s a good bit left of it yet. A great deal more than I can guzzle by myself, I’ll tell ye!” She opened her eyes and smiled, lifting the tumbler toward us. “To you, nephew, and your dear wife – may ye find this house home! Slàinte!
Slàinte mharl” Jamie answered, and we all drank.
It was good whisky; smooth as buttered silk and heartening as sunshine. I could feel it hit the pit of my stomach, take root, and spread up my backbone.
Drums of Autumn (Chapter 10 – Jocasta)Later grab your own bottle of Scotch and, while you are sipping, create the kind of morsel every true fan deserves: Double Chocolate Icebox Shortbread with Smoky Whisky Sugar or Chicken in the Heather with Cauliflower, Whisky and Cheese. Then toast Scotland, Gabaldon, and the beautiful escape that a well-told story provides.