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A fabric project; Clan Johnston tartan for a kilt

r1mein54's picture
warp loaded on loom
warp on section beam
beginning of weave
laid over loom as it came off of the cloth beam
multiple layers folded on a full sized bed (7 yards long) unfinished ends, raw edge on right, finished selvedge on left for kilt hem
11 inch by 30 inch "banner" piece from remaining yarn on warp
tartan with "instruction book"
tartan with pleats pinned to work out pleat size and depth to match sett of weave
stabilizer sewn to inside waistband
inside waistband with hair canvas stiffener
under apron strap and outer apron straps sewn on with buckles
wearing finished kilt as complete outfit ready for Robert Burns Dinner on Jan.28th
Project
Draft: 
2/2 Twill
Project Status: 
Finished
Project Date: 
Tue, 12/06/2011 - Sat, 12/17/2011
Yarn
Yarn:
Color:
Type:
Loom
Number of Shafts: 
4
Number of Treadles: 
4
Sett: 
22.00 EPI
Length on Loom: 
10.00 yd
Width on Loom: 
26.75 in
Finished Length: 
7.00 yd
Finished Width: 
26.25 in
Notes: 

Finally got the last of my yarn order this afternoon and have been chaining from warping frame with my 4 'favorite' colors. Updates will follow and I am trying to keep a photo history of the whole process.
Update : After two days of pulling off yarn, combining, and warping the loom I finally got to actually start weaving this evening after supper. This piece has 544 ends across and I sleyed it
3,2,2,2,2,3,2,2,2,2 on a 10dpi stainless reed. I do hope this will make the 8 yards of tartan I want for a kilt to be pleated and sewn. I did find that I will have to make room for and get a warping mill for future wide weave projects.
12-14 ,,,, this evening I measured around and multiplied by the number of layers what I have wrapped on the cloth beam and I figure I am up to 3 & 1/2 yards. No, I`m not finished yet.
12-17,,,, I had to quit - I ran out of blue on cones for weft runs but that`s OK as it turns out I have 7 yards and 10 inches of fabric. I am not that large so I do not need "the whole 9 yards".
I`ll take a break the rest of the evening and tomorrow start the layout and marking to begin pleating and pinning. Whew!
12-19,,,, still taking an extended break before starting to measure, pleat and pin - thought first to use up some of the scrap ends of yarn. I took just over half off of the warp beam and used it as weft to finish out an 11 inch wide 'banner' piece. At 40 inches long its too short to be a scarf. Now that this is complete procrastination has to stop and get back to the original project.
12-21,,,,worked most of yesterday with layout, measure, cut and starting to work out pleat sizes. Will not be working on the loom at least for a few weeks (I`ll let it have the Holidays off). Before bed time managed to get all but the last two pleats sewn. Got lots to do in order for this to be ready to wear Jan. 28th.
12-26,,,, Last update on this project. All of the major work is done, what I still have left to do is sew the inside lining, do some final steam pressing and lastly pull out the basting stitches that have been holding the pleats together. Looks like I`ll have my kilt (feileadh beag) ready for the Burns Dinner with time to spare.
1-9-2012 Now 'this' will be the last comment on this project. I finally got "all my stuff together" and dressed out so I could get my wife to take some final photos. I already kinda miss not working on another one but at the same time not quite ready to do it again too. Looks like I`m all ready for the Robert Burns Dinner and 20 days to spare.

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Cat Brysch's picture
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Joined: 10/15/2011
Love the colors!

I've often thought of doing a tartan, being an English-Scots-Irish girl, but never got past the wishing stage!  Hat's off to you!

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B P's picture
B P
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Joined: 02/21/2011
Very smart! Are you going to

Very smart! Are you going to make the kilt yourself?

Beth

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Cathie Beckman's picture
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Joined: 08/05/2010
Handsome Tartan! Your colors

Handsome Tartan! Your colors are great and The color is great in the yarn, may I ask what kind it is?
Good luck with your kilt!

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r1mein54's picture
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Joined: 01/10/2011
Thanks, and I need to edit

Thanks, and I need to edit the end count - it`s 612 across and not 544. @BP I bought a book on how to sew a kilt, have the hair canvas, thread and straps with buckles - so I will be making the attempt. Not sure if I will have it completed for the Burns Dinner Jan. 28th. @ Cathie it is Epic99 worsted in black, cobalt, cypress and lichen from YarnBarn of Kansas.
When I do another tartan - I want to find something a little larger like a 2/14. This 2/18 is small.

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B P's picture
B P
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Joined: 02/21/2011
Good luck with sewing your

Good luck with sewing your kilt!

My husband had a kilt made for him at an Edinburgh Outfitters many years ago; kilts look so smart, especially if one wears the hand knitted socks, brogue shoes and tweed jacket etc with them. (We used to go to Scottish Dancing Balls where many a kilt was worn with a cropped black dress jacket).

Please do post progress pics of the sewing if you have some time!

Beth

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rigidheddleweaving.com's picture
Joined: 10/25/2010
Keeping track of plaid...

I love doing plaid also and recently did Davidson Tartan towels for a friend. I am often interrupted and need to take frequent breaks since I have arthritis so I needed a "reminder". I used document clips to keep track of the number of picks for the colors as well as which treadle I last used.

http://rigidheddleweaving.com/articles/s...For a warping mill, put dowels on a box on a lazy susan. It's what I did. http://rigidheddleweaving.com/blog/diy-w...

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Xylem's picture
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Joined: 08/10/2011
Kiltmaking

If the book you have is 'The Art of Kiltmaking' - then you should have nothing to worry about - it is very comprehensive.  I made a 'trial' kilt with cheap commercial cloth - and one day will weave the family tartan for the real kilt.

Steve

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usonian's picture
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Joined: 12/21/2010
Looking great! I'll be

Looking great! I'll be watching your progress with great interest, as this is something I've idly thought about doing ever since I learned to weave 15+ years ago, and seriously started contemplating when I saw how fast my tartan scarves wove up. I'm working through The Art of Kiltmaking right now, and I also took the practice route; my first effort is using 10oz cotton denim, and my second will probably be with commercial tartan.

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r1mein54's picture
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Joined: 01/10/2011
Good to hear that Steve and

Good to hear that Steve and yes that is the book I got.
Andy - you are doing something I should do but don`t have time for (practice route),,, so I will have to be "very careful or very lucky". :)

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dwass's picture
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Joined: 12/14/2011
Terrific - I have some questions ;-)

This is a terrific project. From the pictures you posted it looks like you've done a marvelous job. Thanks so much for documenting this, I'm sure it will be an inspiration to others. Now for my questions:

I'm also planning to weave a tartan for a great kilt (feileadh-mhor). Most of the tartan weaving books I've been able to get my hands on indicate a density of 40 EPI for 2/20 yarn and 36 EPI for 2/16. This sounds to me like a very dense fabric and I wonder how this will weave up. You've written that you've used 2/18 at 22 EPI and I'm wondering how this drapes and how crisp the pleats are. Do you have any idea what the weight of the fabric is? Most of the places that sell fabric for great kilts indicate around 15/16oz fabric.

For a great kilt I will need about 4 1/2 meters of fabric that is about 50 to 60 inches wide. I've got a 140cm (56inch) wide loom and I wonder if it would be better to weave the entire loom width for 4 1/2 meters or if it would be smarter to weave 9 meters of fabric on half the loom width and sew it together (this would be more in keeping with the original weavers, as they didn't have very wide looms). My main concern with the width is keeping the plaid straight.

Thanks for helping out with this!

-DWass

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r1mein54's picture
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DWass, I would warp for the

DWass, I would warp for the full width of your loom. Yes, I did choose a 22 EPI sett on my weave but as I found after I completed that it was 8 ends out of square. It only shows when you measure the "square" or turn a scrap piece 90 degrees to the fabric and it will NOT match. The weft packed together tighter than the warp and I believe it was due to the yarn have a variation. The supplier did state that even for it graded as 2/18 it did reduce in diameter in some places which I should have sleyed it to 28 EPI.
This made up very well, has a nice "hang" and the pleats got pressed midway of the sewing process and show no signs of releasing even after removing basting stitches. I have no way to figure the weight unless you wish to calculate the 7 yards, inner facing material, stabilizer material, lining,straps and buckles that produced a finished weight about 3 & 1/2 pounds. I know I could not have two pieces match warpwise if woven separtely and tried to stitch them together. Not sure if it is possible to do a joined double layer weave with 8 shafts to make a narrow double width.
Wish you the best of luck and don`t panic when you calculate the 10s of thousands of yards of yarn needed for your 9 meter long piece. I know mine came out less expensive than purchasing tartan from UK at $90.00 per yard.

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B P's picture
B P
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Joined: 02/21/2011
So smart! Thanks so much for

So smart! Thanks so much for posting the pictures of your kilt under construction. It's interesting to see the sewing techniques you used - I really enjoyed following your progress.

Hope you enjoy wearing your kilt!

Beth

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r1mein54's picture
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Joined: 01/10/2011
Thanks Beth. I do plan to

Thanks Beth. I do plan to enjoy it and should be the only one I know who attends the Burns Dinner who has a self woven, self made kilt. I will be comming back to the topic to post a head to toe photo or make it my profile picture.

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B P's picture
B P
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Thanks for posting a picture

Thanks for posting a picture of the finished kilt. Great project - you've done a grand job there!

Beth

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Cathie Beckman's picture
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What a great job! Thank you

What a great job! Thank you so much for sharing your process and ancestry with us. Enjoy wearing your Clan Johnston Tartan Kilt with pride!

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Red_Raven_Studios's picture
Joined: 01/17/2012
What yarn did you use

I'm start to plan for making the Arizona tartan for my Guys. What type and size of yarn did you use (Cotton, Tencel or wool)? and how well did it take the pleats? I'm looking at 10/2 cotton for mine since we are in AZ but want to see what others have used.

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r1mein54's picture
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Red Raven I used the 2/18

Red Raven I used the 2/18 worsted wool from YarnBarn of Kansas (Epic 99). Pleats that I steamed in during the sewing process are still there. I don`t know how you would keep pleats in cotton without a LOT of starch. The heavy kilts are classed as 16 oz, medium as 13oz and light as 11 oz. The local drum and pipe band leader said that they use the heavy weight and they are very hot to wear in high humidity summer heat of the southeast US. What I wove up I roughly figure was in between 11 and 13 oz.

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Red_Raven_Studios's picture
Joined: 01/17/2012
Thanks, that helps

Thanks, for the yarn info that helps. Still in planing stages.will post as I go along.

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SallyE's picture
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Matching shuttles!!

Wow!  Shuttles to match the fabric.   I'm impressed!  ; ' )

 

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r1mein54's picture
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Joined: 01/10/2011
Thanks SallyE, that was more

Thanks SallyE, that was more Freudian or coincidence and was not planned - but it does help to know at a glance you are grabbing the right shuttle with the right color yarn to make weft passes.

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fabricboi's picture
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Joined: 05/08/2012
AWESOME!!!

love that you did the work it is amazing I had matt newsome make mine I am still a novice sewer did not want to ruin the wool :)  

if you like to try weaving with traditional scottish wool yarn and you still have a little left over you can ship a sample of the colors you want and they can dye the wool for you free of charge and they can dye as much as 100 gram if needed 

www.weaversbazaar.com out of england 

choose 2/18 @ 36 epi 

I bought my wool from them and dyed the wool using wilson's of bannochburn colors from 1780's since the forbes tartan was woven by them in 1780 so I thought I would weave it as my college project 

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r1mein54's picture
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Thanks for the information

Thanks for the information fabricboi.

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Matty Smith's picture
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Joined: 05/30/2011
yarns for tartans

Thanks for the mention of weaversbazaar, fabricboi. You can see our yarns used in tapestry weaving on my project page at http://weavolution.com/project/matty-smi...

Looking forward to seeing your own tartan :-)

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jwms's picture
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Joined: 04/11/2012
Great work. making some

Great work. making some string heddles to add to my loom to make a run of kilt material. need some 500 more but it goes pretty quick. then to order up the yarn. will do a blanket first for my son, about a yard wide and 2x the length, cut warp in half and stitch down the middle. hope to be able to get the pattern even so it comes out matching. thanks for the post. have the kilt book. looks time consuming but a whole lot cheaper!!!

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