Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tartan blankets

"Before the advent of power looms the weavers of Kilbarchan were renowned for their blankets. Particularly special were the extra-warm, double-sided tartan blankets which only a few highly-skilled weavers could make due to the number of shafts involved. They were often commissioned as wedding gifts, one side featuring the tartan of the man's family and the other that of his wife's. Johnston have supplied the Royal Family with these blankets - originally used in open cars and on board steam ships. In his book 'In Scotland Again' (1936), H V Morton publishes extracts of his interviews with the weaver William Meikle, who mourned the demise of this craft. While observing Meikle weave a blanket with a Grant tartan on one side and a Maclean on the reverse, Morton enquired how he did it. He replied, 'Well, my eyes are on the Maclean and my mind is on the Grant.'"

Christine Macleod, The Weaver's Cotage, Kilbarchan, and James Sugden, Johnstons of Elgin, in Dickson, Elana, de la Haye, Amy, Dodd, Eugenie, Lorenz, Rolf (eds), Textile Tales, boxed set of cards, Published by TextileTales 2003,


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