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Ed. Note: Please enjoy a post on National Tartan Day, parts of which have appeared before on our blog.
Thursday, April 6th is National Tartan Day. Some of our readers live, breathe, eat and sleep tartans. They are steeped in their clan histories. They know the difference between the ancient, dress, hunting and standard versions of their clan’s tartan. But other readers aren’t quite sure of what exactly makes a tartan a tartan. How does a tartan differ from any other plaid?
We say it best with the title of one of our most popular Pinterest boards: All tartans are plaids, but not all plaids are tartans. A tartan looks like a plaid, but it is so much more than that. A tartan is a statement of identity. Tartans were originally regional designs, worn as “plaids,” pieces of fabric worn slung over the shoulder. Scotland’s warriors wore their plaids with pride to announce their family affiliations and political loyalties.
The Dress Act of 1746 was enacted to prohibit the wearing of the plaid, as part of colonial suppression of the Highlands: That from and after the first day of August, One thousand, seven hundred and forty-six, no man or boy within that part of Britain called Scotland, other than such as shall be employed as Officers and Soldiers in His Majesty’s Forces, shall, on any pretext whatever, wear or put on the clothes commonly called Highland clothes (that is to say) the Plaid, Philabeg, or little Kilt, Trowse, Shoulder-belts, or any part whatever of what peculiarly belongs to the Highland Garb; and that no tartan or party-coloured plaid of stuff shall be used for Great Coats or upper coats, and if any such person shall presume after the said first day of August, to wear or put on the aforesaid garment or any part of them, every such person so offending … For the first offence,shall be liable to be imprisoned for 6 months, and on the second offence, to be transported to any of His Majesty’s plantations beyond the seas, there to remain for the space of seven years.
That’s right, tartans were illegal; inflammatory and subversive. If you’re not a history buff, but you watch Outlander , you already know this.
In 1782, the Dress Act was repealed through the following proclamation: Listen Men. This is bringing before all the Sons of the Gael, the King and Parliament of Britain have forever abolished the act against the Highland Dress; which came down to the Clans from the beginning of the world to the year 1746. This must bring great joy to every Highland Heart. You are no longer bound down to the unmanly dress of the Lowlander. This is declaring to every Man, young and old, simple and gentle, that they may after this put on and wear the Truis, the Little Kilt, the Coat, and the Striped Hose, as also the Belted Plaid, without fear of the Law of the Realm or the spite of the enemies.
When the Dress Act was repealed in 1782, tartans were no longer worn as ordinary Highland dress. They were adopted as the official national dress of Scotland. Tartan grew from regional plaid to warrior garb to a badge of kinship. These patterns are a visual illustration of the bond between personal and political freedom.
We’re not tartan experts at Pendleton, just fabric experts. When we we use these designs, we do it with respect for the history of the design we’re using. Our designers refer to rare reference books stored under archival conditions in our design department (please don’t ask to see them because they will not hold up to visitors, we have to say no). We also use modern tartans, like Canada’s Maple Leaf, and our own Pendleton Hunting Tartan, registered with the Scottish Tartan Society in 1999.
Tartans have been part of the Pendleton offering since our earliest days, beginning with our motor robes. We call them that because we originally wove them to cover the laps of motorists in the earliest days of the automobile.
We’ve been making tartan shirts, Topsters, motoring caps and robes for men since the 1920s. Women have always been part of the Pendleton tartan action, as well. Today, tartans have taken fashion by storm, because these patterns are timeless, we return to them.
If you’re wanting to add tartan, but you’re not sure where to start, try Black Watch tartan, the tartan designed to look black from a distance (pictured is a vintage Pendleton shirt, get a new one from us here — or here, if you want a Sir Pendleton!).
This is also known at the Government or 42nd tartan, developed to wear by the Black Watch, one of the early Highland Independent Companies. From a distance, the pattern reads black. It’s the stealth tartan. Around here, we call it Highland Camo, and though it’s one of our perennial bestsellers, it’s a challenge to photograph for a catalog. But we do, as you can see if you pay us a visit at pendleton-usa.com. We have tartan items galore for women, men, and home.
We hope your National Tartan Day is a good one, and remember: Wear Your Plaid With Pride.
We recently worked with our designer friends Fancy Smith and Kimberly Anderson on decor for a tiny home featured in the 69th Annual Kansas City Home Show. Their results were so much fun that we thought we’d share photos and give some background on the project. Enjoy!
Please tell us a little bit about who you are, and what your role was in decorating this tiny home.
Cactus Creek was given the distinct pleasure of decorating the Tiny House at the 69th Annual Kansas City Home Show. Cactus Creek’s Design Team of Fancy Smith & Kimberly Anderson were handed an amazing, fun and surprisingly spacious 295 square foot blank palette. Our role was to provide realistic living options to maximize a small space, while bringing a design style all our own.
Our Design: Trailblazer Mod….designed to bring home reminders of the open road wrapped in warmth & whimsy. The Tiny house was packed with eclectic, unique goods from Cactus Creek , perfectly accented with towels, pillows & blankets from Pendleton.
Were there any specific challenges in this décor?
The main challenges were maximizing the space in a tiny home which – with only 295 square feet – means utilizing vertical space.
We wanted it to feel cozy but truly a place where people would want to stay and even see themselves living there. By adding a queen bed covered in stunning Pendleton bedding to the large loft we made the vertical design very livable. The second smaller loft was styled to be storage space which is critical for tiny home dwellers.
Please tell us about the show the home was part of.
The Home Builders Association held Kansas City’s first home show in 1948 and the annual event has become the go-to showcase for home improvement, technology, and design ideas as well as a fun-filled day with activities for all ages.
The 2017 Home Show was the 69th year of the event held at Bartle Hall March 17-19, 2017. This year the focus of the show was alternate home solutions that are rising in popularity – this included both the tiny home and a yurt.
Is there anything super special about this particular home?
Everything about this home is special. It was hand crafted by a small family in Kansas. Every detail in a tiny home has to be thought through so that space is well used but modern day conveniences are still included. The kitchen area was truly spacious, so many cupboards, and the cubbies under the stairs for storage. Cactus Creek’s vision is to layer a space. Fancy and Kimberly started by adding practical pieces… living area, bed, lighting, storage containers. Then the layers of Pendleton and Cactus Creek vintage decor that gave the space comfort and beauty which is what really made it feel like an amazing home or weekend getaway.
Where can interested people learn more about this brand/builder of tiny homes?
Contact Arlin at Globe Tiny Homes 913-633-0529
Where can people learn more about you, Kimberly?
Where can people learn more about you, Fancy?
Fun Facts: Kimberly & Fancy love to hit the road! They are available for your tiny home, camper, RV, yurt or whatever you can dream up. Shop www.cactuscreekshop.com for all the rustic & eclectic items featured!
With sunny weather on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to freshen up your home…and we can help! It’s amazing what a fun pillow, colorful quilt or cool basket can do to transform your space. Our website is brimming with more than 160 new home items, and here’s your handy guide to our top 10 can’t-miss pieces. Check ’em out:
- Arrowhead Pieced Quilt
Pendleton’s known for wool blankets, but during warm weather, many people prefer cool, lightweight cotton. For those of you who asked for more cotton choices, we listened! Our new expanded collection includes the Arrowhead Pieced Quilt, which has a modern, Southwestern vibe in machine-washable cotton:
- Glacier National Park Pieced Quilt
This one could easily sell out! These instantly recognizable stripes are seen on everything from throws to hats to mugs—and now a beautiful quilt. Our Glacier design is a tribute to Montana’s natural beauty and the stunning colors of its landscape. The timeless pattern is ready for the season in breathable, easy-care cotton percale.
- Coquille River Accessories
Rushing mountain rivers inspired the aqua and coral Coquille River design, and it’s a breath of fresh air if you like lighter colors and geo patterns. The fabric is woven in our Northwest woolen mills of a premium wool/cotton blend that resists stains, so it’s durable too. The small purse is shown, and there’s also a big tote bag and smartphone wallet if you want to get the whole set.
- New Cotton Throws
Noticed a theme? Southwest-inspired geo designs are so popular right now, yet have staying power for a room that won’t look dated in a few years. Case in point: these cool blue cotton throws. Not only are they made of supersoft, machine-washable organic cotton, but they’re certified environmentally responsible.
- Nesting Baskets
Natural woven baskets are everywhere right now. Our accessories designers created their own spin on the trend with a set of soft, flexible baskets to store your throw blankets, magazines, craft supplies or whatever you want to stash inside. The bright, cheery stripes coordinate with our serape throws and blankets, so they’ll look right at home in your space.
- Star Wars Accessories
Calling all Jedis: More Star Wars accessories just got here! Dry off with two new Star Wars beach towels, or carry your essentials in a tote bag, purse, backpack, and more. A brand new design celebrates the 40th anniversary of the first film, A New Hope, which debuted in 1977.
- Pendleton x Sunbrella® Outdoor/Indoor Cushions
Patio furniture and accessories often sacrifice comfort for durability. Not these!
Pendleton x Sunbrella pillows are surprisingly soft and silky. They don’t have the usual rough feel of indoor/outdoor cushions, plus they’re weather-resistant, antimicrobial and won’t fade. And in familiar stripes and diamonds, they have classic Pendleton style. Heat up the grill!
- Serrado Towel for Two
This giant towel shares its modern, colorful geo design with one of our new blankets, inspired by sawtooth mountain ranges. Although it’s technically a beach towel for two, customers tell us they use the plush, soft cotton as a mini-blanket or even as a dog blanket in the car. What will you use it for?
- Chimayo Sculpted Bath Towels
Upgrade your bathroom with these luxe sculpted bath towels. Versatile teal and rust stripes are finished off with diamonds and other shapes at the edges. If you like matched sets, get the bath towel, hand towel and washcloth all together. Much more fun than solids, right?
- Crater Lake Stroller Blanket
We didn’t forget about little ones. Pendleton’s Crater Lake blanket design has been reborn as a pint-sized fuzzy blanket for kids. One side is plush faux-sherpa fleece; the other is a soft cotton knit in navy and colorful rainbow stripes. Need a great gift for new parents? You’re all set.
What is your favorite item from our Top 10 list? Want to see more? You’re in luck! Find all 160+ spring new arrivals here.
We get by with a little help from our friends, @Duluthpack! Here’s to celebrating two century-strong, Made in America companies coming together for a great spring break giveaway! HOW TO ENTER AND WIN A @duluthpack bag and @pendletonwm towel, journals and water bottle! 1) Follow both of our Instagram pages at @duluthpack and @pendletonwm 2) Like this photo on both of our pages 3) Tag your best pal below who you would love to travel with during spring break! 4) You’re entered! How easy was that?
Prize package contains:
1 – Bison Leather Market Tote by Duluth Pack
1 – American Treasures Towel
1 – American Treasures Water Bottle
1 – Notebook Pack – Set of 3, Jacquard
Official rules and regulations after the jump:
Brandon, tell us a little about where you live and what you do.
I reside in Salt Lake City, Utah with my beautiful wife Leia and two daughters, Ella (4) and Eden (2). I specialize in wedding portraiture, family portraiture and product photography. Photography is my full time job. I enjoy creating everyday. I am extremely organized, meticulous and detail oriented.
I love exploring the great outdoors. I love hiking, A-frame cabins, leather goods, mountains, ranches, lakes, canoes and evergreen trees. I rarely go anywhere without my camera, tripod, and Toyota FJ Cruiser.
Photography Experience: 10 years
What drew you to photography? Was it always your passion?
Growing up I always loved to express my creativity. My junior year of high school I took a photography course where I learned to shoot and process film. After high school I served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was located in Atlanta, Georgia during that time. In Atlanta, I focused full-time on serving the Lord. After my return home I started doing photography as my occupation and the rest was history.
How did you learn your craft?
I started my photography career working at a upscale photography studio in my early twenties. No college – just hands on experience. The photographer I worked under had been in the business for some 25 years. While I was working at the studio, I was simultaneously building my own clientele on the side. Once I had enough clients, I left the studio to work my own photography business full-time.
Your photos have a refined sense of arrangement and composition. How long does it take you to set up a shot?
A set up for a product photo can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a full hour. Flat lay photography definitely takes longer. Over the last year I have also created pieces where the product and elements are built upward, vertically – I call them “Vertical Builds”. The key here is to build different visual levels: high, low and medium height levels. I did a flat lay photography job for my good friends over at Clif Bar where I spent around one hour setting up each photograph in addition to the 30 hours searching antique shops and Ebay for all the vintage items I used in my set up. You can view my Clif Bar photos here .
Do you have any advice for people who look up to you?
I would advise to work hard at your craft, pay attention to the smallest details, be original and create often.
That is wonderful advice. What draws you to Heritage brands?
Heritage brands are classic and timeless. They never go out of style. Made in America manufacturing is important to me. I love the quality of workmanship that comes with a good Heritage brand.
What is the secret to the distinctive and warm look of your photography (or as much of the secret as you’d like to share)?
Some key items that make up my style of photography on my Instagram account. Lighting, attention to detail, warm brown tones, reclaimed wood and adventurous vibes.
Are there other photographers you admire that we should check out?
One of my favorite photographers is Roberto Dutesco. He photographs wild horses. I love how it’s his sole focus. Website: dutescoart.com
What do you love most about Instagram?
I have always loved creating. Instagram is the perfect way for sharing my creativity to the world. I also love being able to see what others are creating. Instagram has been a great way to improve and sharpen my photography skills. I am able to analyze which photographs my following like best and continue to create imagery based around that.
What made you decide to showcase your sense of fashion on Instagram?
I first started my account showcasing some of my scenic and portraiture work. As I continued to spend more time on Instagram, I started to network and follow other people posting their sense of style and threads. It slowly evolved into me starting to do the same.
Where do you find inspiration?
One person who inspires me is Albert Einstein. He had the most incisive mind! I love his creativity and unique way of thinking. I am also inspired by a lot of what I see on Instagram. It’s amazing how much better of a photographer Instagram can make you. Every image you put out there is a open critique for the world to see, comment, like or dislike etc.
What have you learned from creating your art?
There are people who do art to do art and then there are people who do art to make a living. As artists a lot of us are perfectionists. We want to hang onto our art and work on it for days and months making it perfect. We have a hard time letting go of it. To be a full time artist and make a living at doing so, you have to learn to let go of your art – get the job done and move onto the next one.
What are some of your favorite Pendleton pieces?
I love the Chief Joseph Blankets – I use these all the time on portrait session.
I also love my Pendleton pillows and my Sky Stone Turquoise Gorge Jacket.
Did you know April 6 is National Tartan Day? It’s true! National Tartan Day is a relatively new holiday in the United States. The U.S. only began celebrating it in the last 20 years. (Oregon Tartan Day is April 12, so we Oregonians have double the chances to celebrate.) Keep reading to learn how to celebrate National Tartan Day, get tartan outfit ideas, and more.
Why April 6?
April 6 is a pretty momentous day in Scottish history. (Think of it as Scotland’s 4th of July.) On this day in 1320, Scottish officials signed the Declaration of Arbroath, signifying their independence from England. Some historians even say it inspired America’s Declaration of Independence!
What happens on National Tartan Day?
National Tartan Day celebrates Scotland’s freedom, as well as Scots’ impact on America’s history and culture. (Did you know that many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent? Today, roughly 6 million Americans say they’re of Scottish descent.) To celebrate, people wear their family tartan (or simply their favorite), and there are parades and events in various cities with bagpipers, Highland dancing, Scottish food…and plenty of kilts, of course.
Wait, what are tartans?
Here’s a quick refresher on tartans. In a nutshell, a tartan is a plaid that’s been officially listed on the Scottish Register of Tartans, most likely due to familial significance. (All tartans are plaids, but not all plaids are tartans.) Most tartans are worn by Scottish clans to show their family pride. Here at Pendleton, we create blankets and clothing in famous tartans like Black Watch. We’ve also created some of our own tartans, like the Pendleton Hunting Tartan, registered in 1999:
Here are a few well-known tartans—Black Watch, Rob Roy and Black Stewart:
What to wear for National Tartan Day
Tartan, obviously. But beyond that, if you need outfit ideas for National Tartan Day, we’ve got you covered! There are lots of plaid Pendleton shirts to choose from, some of which are also tartans:
Pendleton offers plenty of women’s tartan clothing as well, from shirts and blouses to skirts and dresses. And if you just want to curl up under a cozy tartan blanket, Pendleton makes those too, from machine-washable blankets to a luxurious, supersoft throw. Having a party for National Tartan Day? Serve up some smoked salmon or haggis on these lively tartan plates:
Once you’ve got your festive tartan, celebrate by reading some poetry by Scottish writer Robert Burns, listening to bagpipe music or Auld Lang Syne, finding a parade in your area or simply wishing someone happy National Tartan Day!
How will you celebrate National Tartan Day this year?
BodyVox, the innovative Portland dance company, creates work that breaks boundaries in the most beautiful ways. From their website:
Breathtaking productions rich in imagery, athleticism and humor: Led by Emmy Award-winning choreographers Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland, BodyVox is known for its visual virtuosity, distinctive wit and unique ability to combine dance, theater and film into breathtaking productions rich in imagery, athleticism and humor. Since its founding in 1997, BodyVox has toured to critical acclaim on stages around the world, developed 9 award winning films, 30 original shows and 3 operas, featuring more than 200 original dances.
We were delighted to open our BodyVox 2017 calendar and find some beautiful shots featuring Pendleton. March takes flight with this image.
Photo courtesy BodyVox, used with permission
Inspired by a blanket in an early 20th-century photograph by Edward S. Curtis, this blanket is inspired by the peerless weaving of the American Southwest. It incorporates classic Navajo elements in an eye-dazzling pattern. The central dragonfly, an emblem of water, symbolizes life.
Later in the calendar, we found this gravity-defying hackysack game.
Photo courtesy BodyVox, used with permission
You can check out our accessories here: Pendleton Accessories
You can see The Original Board Shirt here: Board Shirt (original Blue Surf Plaid)
And see the Water blanket here: The College Fund Water Blanket
We celebrate today with a blanket based on Hopi basketry. Stand strong on this day and every day. See the blanket here: BASKET DANCE
Like beloved Pendleton blankets, Hopi baskets are passed from generation to generation and offered as gifts from friend to friend. These intricately woven baskets and the ceremony associated with them inspired our Basket Dance Blanket. Its design celebrates Hopi craftsmanship and traditions. A Hopi basket is offered as a sign of kinship, friendship and sharing. Autumn is the time of the Basket Dance, a harvest ceremony performed by women of the Lakon Society of basket weavers. The women first gather in a kiva to fast, pray and chant. They then emerge chanting and dancing while raising and lowering baskets to the four directions of the compass. Traditionally the women toss many baskets to onlookers afterward. This harvest dance of sharing and generosity ensures rain and bountiful crops the next spring.
The Hopi culture is built around honorable, peaceful reverence for life and nature. You can read more about their beliefs here: The Peaceful ones & Gift of the Earth
Thanks for the beach image by FireHawk: Timeless Earth Wisdom
Ever decided not to buy a wool item because it was itchy or dry clean only? Good news: Thanks to fabric innovations, wool is better than ever, and some old myths about wool aren’t true anymore. Read on to learn the truth about wool.
Myth #1: Wool is scratchy.
Admittedly, some wool is softer than others. Rough, scratchy wool exists, but so does silky, fluffy wool that feels wonderful next to your skin. It all depends on quality, the type of sheep, and how the wool is spun. Some of the nicest, softest wool is superfine merino.
Merino wool (from merino sheep) is famous for being smooth and luxurious. The fibers are very fine—thinner than human hair! It is wonderful woven or in knitted accessories, like the mittens above.
But quality matters: The best merino is virgin wool (not recycled) from healthy, happy sheep (yes, that makes a difference!). Finally, wool is softer when it’s worsted. That means the fibers are long, smooth and parallel, rather than fibers of different sizes in different directions.
For Pendleton’s softest wool, try our 5th Avenue throws. They’re woven of superfine virgin merino and incredible to snuggle up with!
And men should try our Sir Pendleton wool shirts, made of worsted merino for a refined feel. A mile of yarn goes into each one! These aren’t the itchy wool shirts of the past.
Myth #2: Putting wool in the washing machine ruins it.
This is true of some wool, but not all. Many people have accidentally shrunk wool sweaters in the washer, not knowing that heat and agitation cause felting. The spin cycle mats the wool fibers together, bonding them. This video explains:
Thankfully, some wool can go in your washing machine! Our Eco-Wise Wool blankets and throws undergo an anti-felting treatment, so not only are they washable, but they get softer with every wash. This treatment prevents the fibers from locking together and felting. Now you don’t have to run to the dry cleaner whenever your wool blanket needs refreshing!
Myth #3: 100% pure wool is better than wool blends.
In some cases, it’s true—a sweater that’s 100% merino wool will be nicer than one that’s mostly acrylic or polyester with only 5% wool.
Wool sweaters are cozy and comfortable and a lot less likely to pill or fuzz. And a high wool content makes for a wonderfully warm blanket that naturally keeps the heat in on cold nights. But sometimes 100% wool isn’t ideal. Wool socks are more comfortable with a little stretch, so nylon or spandex is often added.
Pendleton baby blankets are mostly pure virgin wool with a bit of cotton to keep them soft and fluffy (they’re also napped for a cozy feel).
Myth #4: Wool is heavy and bulky.
This depends on the breed of sheep. For example, wool from Icelandic sheep is rugged and coarse, often used to make carpet. In contrast, wool from the Rambouillet breed—a relative of merino sheep—is very fine, perfect for soft, silky clothing. Fabric innovations have made wool lighter, like Pendleton’s Wool-Lin fabric. It’s pure virgin wool that feels like linen but doesn’t wrinkle nearly as easily. (Perfect for spring suiting.)
Myth #5: Pendleton only makes wool blankets.
While Pendleton is perhaps best known for our first product, wool blankets, we began to branch out into apparel in 1927 with our first men’s shirts. Our line has grown to include wool sweaters, shirts, blazers, skirts, accessories and much more. We also use other natural fibers, such as silk and cotton, for comfortable, quality clothing year-round.
So there you have it! Any other questions about wool? Ask us in the comments below!
Thanks to the wonderful Grace Adams for her Brand Ambassador photography.
See more of her work here: Grace Adams Photography
And follow her on Instagram here: @grace_adams