Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It's All About the Clan!

The Celtic music is playing in the background as I begin my blog today.  The penny whistle (tin whistle--so many names) is so spellbinding to listen to.  It actually begins to stir up many memories, and the topic I was going to write about today gets tossed aside until another day to make room for a fond memory today.

Yep! That's the Clan....1970 something---don't judge!

I am Scot-Irish by descent, and my brother takes his “Clan Tartan” and slogan, “ora et labora” very seriously.  Through the years, the women in my family each had a kilt that was the clan’s tartan.  I think the men in the family must have been slightly envious, because for years my brother really wanted something out of that woven wool.  Hmmmm, should I analyze this?

He has a plaque hanging in his home that is the tartan, with the emblem and the slogan.  I guess this still wasn’t enough.

This is the tartan color we wear for "hunting".
We have a red one for everyday use.

One day about six years ago, while I was shopping at an Irish boutique in Frankfort, KY, I happened upon a man’s driving style woolen cap that was our clan’s tartan.  It was definitely more than I normally spend for my brother, even at Christmas; however, this was so perfect, so HIM, that I decided to buy it!
I wanted to give it to him early. I couldn’t handle the excitement of trying to wait for Christmas, but wait I did.  And while I was waiting, I began to think that I ought to weave a scarf to match the cap, and still of our tartan! I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it sooner, but I was still new to weaving and spinning at that time. 

This is the FIRST thing I'd ever done on a rigid heddle.
Not the tartan, just a simple dresser scarf.   It's old now.

I had a rigid heddle table top loom back then, so it was a simple weave. I didn’t have a tartan book at the time (I do now) so I didn’t have the directions for threading nor a plan for how the colors intersected and created different colors.  I studied both my kilt and his cap for a long time and worked backward to figure out the threading.  Now when I remember how seriously I thought about it, I laugh; but, at the time it seemed to be a bit daunting.

I was going to spin the wool, then dye the yarn, then weave the scarf.  After much deliberation, and spun skeins of black and white wool completed, I decided he really wasn’t worth ALL that time, so I bought the woolen yarn. (I know….the “B” word. We don’t say it in our house.  “Bought” yarn just doesn’t have the same connection for us; however, it sure was EASIER!) I tried to assuage my disappointment with my course of action by trying to convince myself that he probably wouldn’t like it anyhow, and then it would’ve been a waste of my time.

The Tartan has Red, White, Black, and Yellow in it.
Here is some of my hand spun Black and White
...slow going!

I warped the loom, took a deep breath, and began.  I hadn’t completed too many rows before I was sure that I’d love the finished product. I knew he would, too. It took a few hours to complete- not too arduous, but still, it required me to sit in one position and focus!

The floor loom I use now....very different!

When the scarf was completed, I took it off the loom, gently washed it in warm, sudsy water so that the wool would “full”, and then blocked it for drying. It handled so nicely, looked so sharp, and felt so wonderful.  I was just certain that he’d love it.

Well, I gave it to him that Christmas, and he put them on Christmas Day……and later that spring, he still hadn’t taken them off!  His wife is a principal at an elementary school in Maryland and one night, near the end of the school year, there was an event at her school that he was also going to attend to be supportive .  Her words to him that morning, as she left for work were, “See you at the school later tonight without your cap and scarf!”  It never happened; when he showed up with his cap and scarf on, he claimed he never heard those words!

You know it’s a HeartFelt Gift when it’s appreciated and loved that much!

No comments:

Post a Comment