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Brokennock

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The fiber group that I am involved with does whats called "Sheep to Shawl" competitions. Thats where we have 6 hours to spin enough fiber and weave a complete adult size shawl. There are 6 of us on the team to accomplish this. Part of what we are judged on is community outreach with an educational display. A few years ago at the Estes Park Wool Market, we did a presentation called "Girls with Balls" We took 3 different historical looks at different times and I was tasked with the research and write up of 2 of them. One was on WWII and the knitting push for the troops they called "Knit your Bit" and the second one I did was "The Daughters of Liberty" which touches upon the aspect that @Jay Templin presented, and also the use of fiber arts as protest. Here is what I wrote up for that. The pictures below are our team, and our educational display. BTW we did not win this one

The Daughters of Liberty

by Judy Schappaugh

The Daughters of Liberty is a group of patriotic women who worked with their counterparts, The Sons of Liberty, in the protest of both the Stamp Acts, and later, the Townshend Acts. Both Acts taxed the British imports to the colonies of glass, lead, paint, paper, tea, and textiles. Both groups felt that taxation without representation was unfair and detrimental to the colonies.

The Daughters of Liberty was both an organized group of women, and a general term used for any woman who defined herself as a patriot. There were many chapters throughout the New England area. There is some question as to the date the organization was formed, its estimated to be between 1766-1768. The first mention in the press of the group was in 1766.

The group was the driving force behind the multiple boycotts of British imports, from tea to textiles. In 1768 Boston merchants created an agreement to not import British products, thus creating shortages in the colonies. To ease the shortage of textiles the Daughters of Liberty stepped to their spinning wheels and looms to create the textiles needed by the colonists.

“Women took to their spinning wheels – what had been a chore for solitary women, spinning wool into yarn, weaving yarn into cloth, now became a public political act. Ninety-two ‘Daughters of Liberty’ brought their wheels to the meeting house in Newport, spending the day spinning together until they produced 170 skeins of yarn. Making and wearing homespun cloth became political acts of resistance.”

The American Revolution: A Concise History
Spinning bee’s, spinning competitions, public spinning, and weaving, all became ways to protest British rule and taxation. By 1774 the determination of these patriotic women influenced the Continental Congress to officially boycott all British goods. As the colonies crept closer to all-out war with Britain, the need for uniforms grew, and our foremothers filled that need with handspun, and woven cloth.

Let us remember these ladies of civil disobedience and their many contributions to our country….

Sarah Bradlee Fulton, Phoebe Fraunces, Esther Reed, Sybil Ludington, Rebecca Flower Young, Susan Boudinot, Mary Ludwig Hays, Deborah Sampson, Lydia Darrah, Nancy Hart, Emily Geiger, Rebecca Motte, Prudence Wright, and so many other women who’s names have been lost to history.

Yet not alone by men reclaimed
Brave women too achieved their part
With courage, love and loyalty,
They bore war’s cruel smart
We turn no printed page to-day,
Their gracious deeds to magnify
Within our hearts their memories rest,
Their influence cannot die.
We raise this modest table stone
Our sister’s name and fame to keep
The impress of her noble life
Ends not with a dreamless sleep –
May we be wise and ever prize,
The lessons taught us here,
That freedom comes by sacrifice
And duty knows no fear.
Mary Jane Seymour

They were American Patriots, young and old, rich and poor, north and south.
They are The Daughters of Liberty

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Thank you! Wonderful info and write up. I greatly appreciate it.
 

beardedhorse

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Wilde's Weavery near Lee's Summit made some gorgeous sashes and knee garters and the heavy duty woven blankets used on our canoe trips to Ft. Des Charters. Bison wool works best when combined with some sheep's wool. The woolen mill in Craig, Colorado - Yampa Fiberworks makes yarn from fibers you can supply or they get. Unfortunately the weaver at Wilde's has retired. I forget her name but her husband was or is Ed. Mike, sorry I missed you this last week end at Frozen Toes. My copy of Metis capote kept me quite warm but the blanket it was made from was a cheaper quality. Bought at Bent's Old Fort as a copy of an original bargain wood blanket sold in double lengths and cut or torn in half.
 

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A very interesting thread this is. Reminds me of the Pa. Farm Show featuring the Sheep To Shawl weavers. Except in 2020 the whole thing was cancelled. Interesting to watch these teams shear and turn fleece into garments. Then they auction them off. Whoa ! Only way you could get something like that is to be there on auction night. They fetch some awesome dollars. And I mean Awesome.
 

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The information about the Daughters of Liberty is fascinating, Tallswife. Thank you very much.
I've now time to follow my interest in details of Colonial life, but have seen precious little about the distaff side .
 

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One of the things that I do for demonstrations at events is to show historic spinning and fiber arts. Quite often the conversations with the public turn to clothing. Questions I often get are what was availiable to purchase, how was the clothing constructed, what fabrics were commonly used, and did people make their own clothing at home and if so, how long did a piece of clothing take to make. That last one I have not been able to answer to my own satisfaction. So, for the fun of it, and because I have nothing better to do with my time, I decided to recreate an 18th C wool petticoat from sheep to finished garment and document the process. As of now, i'm a little better than half way thru the process.

Fun facts of the project to date:

1 Moorit sheep fleece from a lovely ewe named MoMo
It took me 1 hr 10 mins to skirt the fleece
It took me 6 hours to pick the fleece and wash it
It took me 36 1/2 hours to comb the fiber into a spinnable form
I have spent 107 hours spinning so far and may need to spin some more
I filled 9 bobbins on my wheel with a single strand of yarn
I spun 6500 yards of 2 ply yarn
It took 7 hours to warp a 4 shaft loom with a 3-over straight draft pattern
The warp is 6 yards long
Ive spent 18 1/2 hours weaving so far.
I am not the fastest weaver on the planet. Ive been working on this project for about 2 years now, and we did move an entire farm in the middle of it.

Once the weaving is done, I will full the cloth. Then it will be cut into 4 panels and those will be stitched together to make the skirt part. I will also need to spin and weave the top binding/ties. The hem will be stitched up. All that will be done by hand.

Some pics of the project.

View attachment 66681View attachment 66682View attachment 66683View attachment 66684View attachment 66685View attachment 66687
My Dear Lady,

I ran across something on period Kilts recently I had not thought of before and could think of no one better to ask about than you.

It seems there is the suggestion that period methods of cleaning raw wool were not as injurious to the natural lanolin in the wool compared to how more modern cleaning methods and/or cleaners strip more of the natural lanolin out of the wool. Does this sound correct to you?

If that is correct, less lanolin would mean less resistance to water soaking into the wool material today than in period times?

Some suggest one soak modern wool cloth in a bath or water and pure lanolin solution up to three or four times to get modern woven cloth "back" to having more lanolin in the cloth as it would have been in the 18th century. Have you ever heard of this as well?

Gus
 

Tallswife

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My Dear Lady,

I ran across something on period Kilts recently I had not thought of before and could think of no one better to ask about than you.

It seems there is the suggestion that period methods of cleaning raw wool were not as injurious to the natural lanolin in the wool compared to how more modern cleaning methods and/or cleaners strip more of the natural lanolin out of the wool. Does this sound correct to you?

If that is correct, less lanolin would mean less resistance to water soaking into the wool material today than in period times?

Some suggest one soak modern wool cloth in a bath or water and pure lanolin solution up to three or four times to get modern woven cloth "back" to having more lanolin in the cloth as it would have been in the 18th century. Have you ever heard of this as well?

Gus
Excellent questions! Thank you for asking!

Period methods of washing wool were more damaging to the wool fiber than methods used today. They were pretty limited to boiling water, strong lye soap, and ammonia. Ammonia was obtained from stale urine. The method of boiling wool in lye soap water was harsh enough to damage the actuall individual shafts of fibers. If you look at a wool strand under a microscope, it looks like it has fish scales. Hot water opens those scales up and the lye or ammonia gets under them, which can cause them to flair out, and make a very itchy wool in return. Not to mention it can also damage the shaft enough to cause breaks along the shaft, thus making an itchy wool. There is no doubt it stripped the lanolin off the fiber though. The boiling water itself will also weaken the fiber.

Methods used today by some commercial mills, as well as home producers, are water under 140 degrees and the use of products such as Kookaburra Wool Scour, or Unicorn Power Scour. Both are plant based products that are Ph neutral, and do not have the enzymes that shampoo, dish soap, or woolite products have in them. They "lift" the lanolin off the wool without damaging the fiber itself. To a certain extent, I can control how much lanolin I wash out of my wool by how many washes I give it, and how much wool scour I use. Personally, I do not like to spin a greasy wool, so I get out as much as I can, which is about 99.9% of it.

Personally, I will take todays more modern methods over period methods.

Less lanolin absolutely means less water resistance. Depending on how you plan to use the spun wool, can determine if you wash it or not. Take the traditional Irish fisherman's sweaters. The history behind them are that your wife would create a pattern specific to you as a fisherman. Certain cable patterns, bobble patterns, stockinette, and garter stitches indicated who you were in the event that you fell overboard and drowned. By the time you washed up on shore, your face may not be recognizable, but your sweater told who you were. These sweaters were also "spun in the grease" meaning the wool was not washed prior to being carded/combed and spun. The sweaters were quite water resistant and warm, both excellent qualities to have when your out fishing.

If you needed to dye wool, say for a particular tartan pattern, you would have to wash it prior to dying. Greasy wool does not take up dye. Your great kilt would not be water reisistant if it was dyed.

Also on the kilt note...wool waulking, or fulling, was done using stale urine as well. So if you spun your tartan in the grease because you were lucky enough to have the right color sheep available to you, the act of waulking would strip the grease out also.

Now, as to adding lanolin back into a fiber, i'm not entirely sure it would work. You would have to maintain a steady temp of 120-140 degrees, or the lanolin will just coat the outside of your fabric in kind of a greasy layer. I cant say for sure that the lanolin would be able to penetrate into a spun yarn. I know water can penetrate a spun yarn, but the lanolin molecules would be larger than the water molecules, and i'm not entirely sure it could penetrate into the spun yarn. Some spinners I know keep a small bottle of olive oil and soap water which they use to condition the fibers prior to spinning. This would not create a water resistance, as it would wash out when you set the twist on your yarn.

On a side note to the itchy wool debate, a lot of that has to do with the breed of sheep. Coarser wool is itchier. Micron size is a major factor in that debate. The wool I raise is next to the skin soft Merino with a micron count between 14.9 and 22. Rug wool is in the area of 50+ microns. Micron is the actual measure of the diameter of an individual wool strand. Also, modern processing techniques used by some mills still rely on harsh chemicals to strip out the lanolin. Those chemicals do damage the shaft, plus the chemical never really gets rinsed out completly. People who say they are allergic to wool are more likely to be allergic to the chemicals used and not the wool itself. I had a friend who was convinced she was allergic to wool until I got her to handle some of my home processed stuff and she did not have any reaction.

I hope this answers your questions, and if it raises more, please feel free to ask!
 

tenngun

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Reading this I have to chuckle to my self.
mom making a coat right now. I bought a couple of spools of thread and started stitching.
I run off two fathoms of line, thread the needle so I have a fathom of double.
I baste, then come back to stitch. When I start a new section I just throw off the line, sometimes a prettygood sized hunk. And start a new one.
I bet after making anything a young lady was pretty stingy with her cloth and thread.
 

Brokennock

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Excellent questions! Thank you for asking!

Period methods of washing wool were more damaging to the wool fiber than methods used today. They were pretty limited to boiling water, strong lye soap, and ammonia. Ammonia was obtained from stale urine. The method of boiling wool in lye soap water was harsh enough to damage the actuall individual shafts of fibers. If you look at a wool strand under a microscope, it looks like it has fish scales. Hot water opens those scales up and the lye or ammonia gets under them, which can cause them to flair out, and make a very itchy wool in return. Not to mention it can also damage the shaft enough to cause breaks along the shaft, thus making an itchy wool. There is no doubt it stripped the lanolin off the fiber though. The boiling water itself will also weaken the fiber.

Methods used today by some commercial mills, as well as home producers, are water under 140 degrees and the use of products such as Kookaburra Wool Scour, or Unicorn Power Scour. Both are plant based products that are Ph neutral, and do not have the enzymes that shampoo, dish soap, or woolite products have in them. They "lift" the lanolin off the wool without damaging the fiber itself. To a certain extent, I can control how much lanolin I wash out of my wool by how many washes I give it, and how much wool scour I use. Personally, I do not like to spin a greasy wool, so I get out as much as I can, which is about 99.9% of it.

Personally, I will take todays more modern methods over period methods.

Less lanolin absolutely means less water resistance. Depending on how you plan to use the spun wool, can determine if you wash it or not. Take the traditional Irish fisherman's sweaters. The history behind them are that your wife would create a pattern specific to you as a fisherman. Certain cable patterns, bobble patterns, stockinette, and garter stitches indicated who you were in the event that you fell overboard and drowned. By the time you washed up on shore, your face may not be recognizable, but your sweater told who you were. These sweaters were also "spun in the grease" meaning the wool was not washed prior to being carded/combed and spun. The sweaters were quite water resistant and warm, both excellent qualities to have when your out fishing.

If you needed to dye wool, say for a particular tartan pattern, you would have to wash it prior to dying. Greasy wool does not take up dye. Your great kilt would not be water reisistant if it was dyed.

Also on the kilt note...wool waulking, or fulling, was done using stale urine as well. So if you spun your tartan in the grease because you were lucky enough to have the right color sheep available to you, the act of waulking would strip the grease out also.

Now, as to adding lanolin back into a fiber, i'm not entirely sure it would work. You would have to maintain a steady temp of 120-140 degrees, or the lanolin will just coat the outside of your fabric in kind of a greasy layer. I cant say for sure that the lanolin would be able to penetrate into a spun yarn. I know water can penetrate a spun yarn, but the lanolin molecules would be larger than the water molecules, and i'm not entirely sure it could penetrate into the spun yarn. Some spinners I know keep a small bottle of olive oil and soap water which they use to condition the fibers prior to spinning. This would not create a water resistance, as it would wash out when you set the twist on your yarn.

On a side note to the itchy wool debate, a lot of that has to do with the breed of sheep. Coarser wool is itchier. Micron size is a major factor in that debate. The wool I raise is next to the skin soft Merino with a micron count between 14.9 and 22. Rug wool is in the area of 50+ microns. Micron is the actual measure of the diameter of an individual wool strand. Also, modern processing techniques used by some mills still rely on harsh chemicals to strip out the lanolin. Those chemicals do damage the shaft, plus the chemical never really gets rinsed out completly. People who say they are allergic to wool are more likely to be allergic to the chemicals used and not the wool itself. I had a friend who was convinced she was allergic to wool until I got her to handle some of my home processed stuff and she did not have any reaction.

I hope this answers your questions, and if it raises more, please feel free to ask!
Thank you, thank you, thank you,,, that was one of the most well written and informative posts I've read in a while.
And useful interesting information too.

I love my woolens, modern and period. Have often wondered about ways to clean without removing lanolin, or if it were possibles to replace it.
Sounds like for water resistance and durability vs. comfort/wearability, there is a balancing act between fulling and not damaging the fibers and removing the lanolin.
 

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Thank you, thank you, thank you,,, that was one of the most well written and informative posts I've read in a while.
And useful interesting information too.

I love my woolens, modern and period. Have often wondered about ways to clean without removing lanolin, or if it were possibles to replace it.
Sounds like for water resistance and durability vs. comfort/wearability, there is a balancing act between fulling and not damaging the fibers and removing the lanolin.
You can always rise them out in cold water with no form of soap at all. There is also a product called Kookkaburra wool wash. I use that for my finished garments. It does contain lanolin but does not leave your garments feeling greasy. Plus you dont have to rinse it out after a soak. Smells good too.

kookaburra wool wash
 

Brokennock

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You can always rise them out in cold water with no form of soap at all. There is also a product called Kookkaburra wool wash. I use that for my finished garments. It does contain lanolin but does not leave your garments feeling greasy. Plus you dont have to rinse it out after a soak. Smells good too.

kookaburra wool wash
Thanks.
 

Artificer

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Excellent questions! Thank you for asking!

Period methods of washing wool were more damaging to the wool fiber than methods used today. They were pretty limited to boiling water, strong lye soap, and ammonia. Ammonia was obtained from stale urine. The method of boiling wool in lye soap water was harsh enough to damage the actuall individual shafts of fibers. If you look at a wool strand under a microscope, it looks like it has fish scales. Hot water opens those scales up and the lye or ammonia gets under them, which can cause them to flair out, and make a very itchy wool in return. Not to mention it can also damage the shaft enough to cause breaks along the shaft, thus making an itchy wool. There is no doubt it stripped the lanolin off the fiber though. The boiling water itself will also weaken the fiber.

Methods used today by some commercial mills, as well as home producers, are water under 140 degrees and the use of products such as Kookaburra Wool Scour, or Unicorn Power Scour. Both are plant based products that are Ph neutral, and do not have the enzymes that shampoo, dish soap, or woolite products have in them. They "lift" the lanolin off the wool without damaging the fiber itself. To a certain extent, I can control how much lanolin I wash out of my wool by how many washes I give it, and how much wool scour I use. Personally, I do not like to spin a greasy wool, so I get out as much as I can, which is about 99.9% of it.

Personally, I will take todays more modern methods over period methods.

Less lanolin absolutely means less water resistance. Depending on how you plan to use the spun wool, can determine if you wash it or not. Take the traditional Irish fisherman's sweaters. The history behind them are that your wife would create a pattern specific to you as a fisherman. Certain cable patterns, bobble patterns, stockinette, and garter stitches indicated who you were in the event that you fell overboard and drowned. By the time you washed up on shore, your face may not be recognizable, but your sweater told who you were. These sweaters were also "spun in the grease" meaning the wool was not washed prior to being carded/combed and spun. The sweaters were quite water resistant and warm, both excellent qualities to have when your out fishing.

If you needed to dye wool, say for a particular tartan pattern, you would have to wash it prior to dying. Greasy wool does not take up dye. Your great kilt would not be water reisistant if it was dyed.

Also on the kilt note...wool waulking, or fulling, was done using stale urine as well. So if you spun your tartan in the grease because you were lucky enough to have the right color sheep available to you, the act of waulking would strip the grease out also.

Now, as to adding lanolin back into a fiber, i'm not entirely sure it would work. You would have to maintain a steady temp of 120-140 degrees, or the lanolin will just coat the outside of your fabric in kind of a greasy layer. I cant say for sure that the lanolin would be able to penetrate into a spun yarn. I know water can penetrate a spun yarn, but the lanolin molecules would be larger than the water molecules, and i'm not entirely sure it could penetrate into the spun yarn. Some spinners I know keep a small bottle of olive oil and soap water which they use to condition the fibers prior to spinning. This would not create a water resistance, as it would wash out when you set the twist on your yarn.

On a side note to the itchy wool debate, a lot of that has to do with the breed of sheep. Coarser wool is itchier. Micron size is a major factor in that debate. The wool I raise is next to the skin soft Merino with a micron count between 14.9 and 22. Rug wool is in the area of 50+ microns. Micron is the actual measure of the diameter of an individual wool strand. Also, modern processing techniques used by some mills still rely on harsh chemicals to strip out the lanolin. Those chemicals do damage the shaft, plus the chemical never really gets rinsed out completly. People who say they are allergic to wool are more likely to be allergic to the chemicals used and not the wool itself. I had a friend who was convinced she was allergic to wool until I got her to handle some of my home processed stuff and she did not have any reaction.

I hope this answers your questions, and if it raises more, please feel free to ask!
Absolutely terrific, Dear Lady, Thank you!!

Gus
 

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You can always rise them out in cold water with no form of soap at all. There is also a product called Kookkaburra wool wash. I use that for my finished garments. It does contain lanolin but does not leave your garments feeling greasy. Plus you dont have to rinse it out after a soak. Smells good too.

kookaburra wool wash
GREAT INFO!! Wished I had known years ago when cleaning my Diced Woolen Cloth Hose.

Thanks again, Dear Lady!!

Gus
 

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I hope this answers your questions, and if it raises more, please feel free to ask!
Dear Lady,

Since you were so kind to offer, I do have a couple more questions.

I know Scottish cattle were a far different breed than English cattle, but I have no idea how much difference there was in 18th century Scottish Sheep vs English sheep and how that might reflect in the difference/s of wool fabric spun/wove in both countries.

We ran across a number of original references to "Hard" Tartan used to make especially the Military Short Kilts (Philabeags), but we were never able to identify what that meant. We do know the Tartan Cloth used by the military often ran 18 to 22 oz, but we were not sure if "Hard" Tartan was due to the higher weight of the cloth or the way it was woven. Do you have any ideas?

Gus
 

SDSmlf

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One of the things that I do for demonstrations at events is to show historic spinning and fiber arts. Quite often the conversations with the public turn to clothing. Questions I often get are what was availiable to purchase, how was the clothing constructed, what fabrics were commonly used, and did people make their own clothing at home and if so, how long did a piece of clothing take to make. That last one I have not been able to answer to my own satisfaction. So, for the fun of it, and because I have nothing better to do with my time, I decided to recreate an 18th C wool petticoat from sheep to finished garment and document the process. As of now, i'm a little better than half way thru the process.

Fun facts of the project to date:

1 Moorit sheep fleece from a lovely ewe named MoMo
It took me 1 hr 10 mins to skirt the fleece
It took me 6 hours to pick the fleece and wash it
It took me 36 1/2 hours to comb the fiber into a spinnable form
I have spent 107 hours spinning so far and may need to spin some more
I filled 9 bobbins on my wheel with a single strand of yarn
I spun 6500 yards of 2 ply yarn
It took 7 hours to warp a 4 shaft loom with a 3-over straight draft pattern
The warp is 6 yards long
Ive spent 18 1/2 hours weaving so far.
I am not the fastest weaver on the planet. Ive been working on this project for about 2 years now, and we did move an entire farm in the middle of it.

Once the weaving is done, I will full the cloth. Then it will be cut into 4 panels and those will be stitched together to make the skirt part. I will also need to spin and weave the top binding/ties. The hem will be stitched up. All that will be done by hand.

Some pics of the project.

View attachment 66681View attachment 66682View attachment 66683View attachment 66684View attachment 66685View attachment 66687
Not often someone on this forum goes off into uncharted territory (at least in my opinion) and then posts something that is both interesting and educational. Great topic and post, and beyond interesting. Looking forward to reading more.
 

Tallswife

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Tallswife's outstanding post made me wonder if there was a way to collect the lanolin for its other uses. I am proud to own a hat she knitted!
Thank you Bill! I'm so glad your happy with it.

Yes, It can be collected, but its a pretty pain in the butt process involving boiling raw wool, and it gets pretty stinky. A friend of mine did it "just because" and said she would never do it again LOL!!! Said the amount she got was not worth all the effort to get it. Here is a link on how to do it yourself.

Lanolin extraction
 

Tallswife

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Dear Lady,

Since you were so kind to offer, I do have a couple more questions.

I know Scottish cattle were a far different breed than English cattle, but I have no idea how much difference there was in 18th century Scottish Sheep vs English sheep and how that might reflect in the difference/s of wool fabric spun/wove in both countries.

We ran across a number of original references to "Hard" Tartan used to make especially the Military Short Kilts (Philabeags), but we were never able to identify what that meant. We do know the Tartan Cloth used by the military often ran 18 to 22 oz, but we were not sure if "Hard" Tartan was due to the higher weight of the cloth or the way it was woven. Do you have any ideas?

Gus
Thank you for asking Gus! Your second question is easier to answer, so I'll start there.

Hard Tartan. I found this passage in an article regarding Scottish tartans and it primarly focus's on military use of them. Very interesting article to read, and i'll post the link to it for you to read the whole thing.

"Military tartans for the rank and file are nearly all made from Scottish Wool, principally the native Cheviot; for officers' cloth the finer Colonial Merino is used. The type of cloth called hard tartan is greatly in favour for civilian wear. This is made from Crossbred Worsted. It is woven tight in the loom and is practically unmilled. It handles almost like canvas, but water runs off it as off a duck's back instead of soaking in, and it has excellent pleating qualities. These qualities would both appeal to the Highlander of the old days, and in the times before worsted could be imported into the Highlands the same effect would be obtained by twining the woollen yarn very hard, weaving very tightly, and reducing the waulking or felting process to a minimum. Thus, we suppose, the old hard tartan was produced."

Here are the definitions of worsted and woollen. They are both methods of preparing the fiber for spinning and they do produce a very different look, and texture to the yarn. For refrence the petticoat i'm working on is a Worsted preperation.

Woollen Yarn
Woollen yarn is spun using a short staple fiber prepared by handcarding and rolled into rolags. A drumcarder can also be used. When spinning the fiber the long draw or medium draw technique is used to allow the fiber to wrap upon itself while trapping air in the center. This makes the yarn soft and bouncy. This yarn is best used for garments that will not be subjected to harsh wear, such as light weight knits. It can also be used for garments that will later go through a fulling process, such as blankets, coats, and jackets. Fulling is a process that contracts the yarn in a knitted garment and makes the fabric stronger.

Worsted Yarn
Worsted yarn is spun using a long staple fiber that is prepared by combing with dutch combs or a flicker carder, to keep the fibers parallel, and to remove the shorter ones. When spinning, the worsted technique is used, in which, the fiber is first drafted and then twisted using the thumb and forefinger to flatten the loose fibers. This makes a stronger yarn that can be used for hard wearing garments, rugs, blankets, and warp for weaving.


Tartan information link

On a side note to Tartan, my great uncle fought in WWII with the Black Watch in a kilt. My family is also a sept of the Douglas clan, so I hope some day to weave a Douglas great kilt from my sheep.

On to your first question: This is the down and dirty answer.

Scottish sheep run the gamut from the traditional wool fleece to dual coated breeds. The ones i've seen that are still in existance today and date back to the iron age are Cheviot, Hebridean, North Country Cheviot, North Ronaldsay, Scottish Blackface, Shetlands, and Soay. These sheep are very well adapted to the rough Scottish countryside. Many of them deveoped on islands off the coast and adapted to very harsh storms, not so good forage, and rocky ground. They developed smaller in size but with a heavier wool coat. The dual coated breeds (Shetland and Scottish Blackface) have to have the guard hairs removed from the downy undercoat prior to spinning or you get a very scratchy yarn. The fiber overall can be quite fine, and some Shetland can be worn against your skin. They also did quite a bit of importing of different breeds to cross with the native sheep. Such as the Gotland from the Viking's, Merino from Spain, and Texel from the Dutch.

The Scottish Dunface breed is considered extinct at this time, but some of their genetics do carry on in the Shetland, Boreray, North Ronaldsay, and Hebridean breeds. Boreray didnt come into existance as a breed until the 1930's

The Scots, being a practical people, were using their sheep not only for wool, but also milk, meat, and pelts. That being the case, selective breeding for different qualities can compromise wool quality in favor of a better udder, or meatier carcass.

English sheep also ran the gamut from fine wool to coarse, and downy to dual coated. They did diverge when they started with the Longwool breeds, such as Lincoln Longwool, BFL, Devon & Cornwall Longwool, Leicester Longwool, Teeswater. As the name implies, these sheep can grow fiber lengths up to 12" long in one year. They also contain a beautiful lustre to the fiber, which when dyed, shines. The British longwool breeds started coming into existance in the 1760's

Here's a link to Sheep Farming in Sutherland in the 18th C Its quite an extensive article about sheep farming in the northern area of Scotland. I did not see a specific breed mentioned, however they do mention importing English sheep to the area.
 
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Thank you for asking Gus! Your second question is easier to answer, so I'll start there.

Hard Tartan. I found this passage in an article regarding Scottish tartans and it primarly focus's on military use of them. Very interesting article to read, and i'll post the link to it for you to read the whole thing.

"Military tartans for the rank and file are nearly all made from Scottish Wool, principally the native Cheviot; for officers' cloth the finer Colonial Merino is used. The type of cloth called hard tartan is greatly in favour for civilian wear. This is made from Crossbred Worsted. It is woven tight in the loom and is practically unmilled. It handles almost like canvas, but water runs off it as off a duck's back instead of soaking in, and it has excellent pleating qualities. These qualities would both appeal to the Highlander of the old days, and in the times before worsted could be imported into the Highlands the same effect would be obtained by twining the woollen yarn very hard, weaving very tightly, and reducing the waulking or felting process to a minimum. Thus, we suppose, the old hard tartan was produced."

Here are the definitions of worsted and woollen. They are both methods of preparing the fiber for spinning and they do produce a very different look, and texture to the yarn. For refrence the petticoat i'm working on is a Worsted preperation.

Woollen Yarn
Woollen yarn is spun using a short staple fiber prepared by handcarding and rolled into rolags. A drumcarder can also be used. When spinning the fiber the long draw or medium draw technique is used to allow the fiber to wrap upon itself while trapping air in the center. This makes the yarn soft and bouncy. This yarn is best used for garments that will not be subjected to harsh wear, such as light weight knits. It can also be used for garments that will later go through a fulling process, such as blankets, coats, and jackets. Fulling is a process that contracts the yarn in a knitted garment and makes the fabric stronger.

Worsted Yarn
Worsted yarn is spun using a long staple fiber that is prepared by combing with dutch combs or a flicker carder, to keep the fibers parallel, and to remove the shorter ones. When spinning, the worsted technique is used, in which, the fiber is first drafted and then twisted using the thumb and forefinger to flatten the loose fibers. This makes a stronger yarn that can be used for hard wearing garments, rugs, blankets, and warp for weaving.


Tartan information link

On a side note to Tartan, my great uncle fought in WWII with the Black Watch in a kilt. My family is also a sept of the Douglas clan, so I hope some day to weave a Douglas great kilt from my sheep.

On to your first question: This is the down and dirty answer.

Scottish sheep run the gamut from the traditional wool fleece to dual coated breeds. The ones i've seen that are still in existance today and date back to the iron age are Cheviot, Hebridean, North Country Cheviot, North Ronaldsay, Scottish Blackface, Shetlands, and Soay. These sheep are very well adapted to the rough Scottish countryside. Many of them deveoped on islands off the coast and adapted to very harsh storms, not so good forage, and rocky ground. They developed smaller in size but with a heavier wool coat. The dual coated breeds (Shetland and Scottish Blackface) have to have the guard hairs removed from the downy undercoat prior to spinning or you get a very scratchy yarn. The fiber overall can be quite fine, and some Shetland can be worn against your skin. They also did quite a bit of importing of different breeds to cross with the native sheep. Such as the Gotland from the Viking's, Merino from Spain, and Texel from the Dutch.

The Scottish Dunface breed is considered extinct at this time, but some of their genetics do carry on in the Shetland, Boreray, North Ronaldsay, and Hebridean breeds. Boreray didnt come into existance as a breed until the 1930's

The Scots, being a practical people, were using their sheep not only for wool, but also milk, meat, and pelts. That being the case, selective breeding for different qualities can compromise wool quality in favor of a better udder, or meatier carcass.

English sheep also ran the gamut from fine wool to coarse, and downy to dual coated. They did diverge when they started with the Longwool breeds, such as Lincoln Longwool, BFL, Devon & Cornwall Longwool, Leicester Longwool, Teeswater. As the name implies, these sheep can grow fiber lengths up to 12" long in one year. They also contain a beautiful lustre to the fiber, which when dyed, shines. The British longwool breeds started coming into existance in the 1760's

Here's a link to Sheep Farming in Sutherland in the 18th C Its quite an extensive article about sheep farming in the northern area of Scotland. I did not see a specific breed mentioned, however they do mention importing English sheep to the area.
Amazing Dear Lady!!!!

I've read your post through twice and will have to read it at least twice more to drink it all in. What a wealth of information!!

I would probably have had an ancestor in the Black Watch, if it weren't for the fact my ancestor fought for the second son of a Campbell Laird who fought for the return of King James. So he wound up here around 1720 as an "Indentured Servant for Life," from having rebelled against the English throne and was captured when he was wounded. Other members of my family remained in Scotland and I'm told of the people in Inveraray Towne today, over 30 to 40 percent are my last name.

Appreciate it greatly!!!

Gus
 
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