Welcome to the Online Clann Tartan Newsletter for November 2004
CLICK HERE FOR THE STAFF ELECTIONS PROXY BALLOT
Upcoming Events to plan for:
Saturday, January 1, 2005 we will have the Airing of the Tartans and
First Footing. the Airing of the Tartans is held at a local park, and
traditionally was a time to lay out all your woolens in the snow to clean
them. This would allow all the oils, grease, fats, and assorted critters
to freeze out of the wools and you would have "fresh" plaids. We like to
have everyone bring all their plaid and see how much we can lay out.
Let's go for a record! We also have a short drill (length depends a lot
on the weather,) and sometimes shoot off the muskets.
Following the Airing, we descend upon our members houses for a
progressive dinner, or "First Footing". It is considered good luck if
the first person to enter your house on New Years Day is a dark haired
male stranger. Woe betide you, however, if the first to enter is a
redheaded woman... To make this happen, we need houses. We generally
have a warm drinks and appetizers house, followed by a soup and salads
house, a main course house, and then a drinks and desserts house. This
is one of our biggest events, and we generally have 30 or more people at
a house at any given time. If you want to have a bunch of Clann descend
upon you, please contact your staff (email@example.com) or board
(firstname.lastname@example.org) and let us know what you would like to host, and
where you are. We will get back in touch with you and let you know how
it all fits into the schedule. If you have any questions, please email
staff or board, or Mairi2@juno.com - that's me, Mary - your Madame Prez.
Saturday, January 15th, 2005 at Corcoran Park, we will be holding our
winter Muster. This is a chance to hone skills, try new things, add to
your Muster list, and in general, meet and mingle with the rest of us.
We can do just about everything but shoot weapons. As a special
inducement this year, we will have a guest speaker to talk about how to
present to school kids. Perry Vining (Headman at Big Island) has been
contacted about this (Thanks, Kali!) and is willing to come and talk with
us. Please try to make it - it should be a great time! Again, if you
have any questions, please contact your staff or board. Times are yet to
be arranged - we will be discussing this with Corcoran.
Hello and welcome to our new members! After the weary travelers get
back, dry out, and warm up from Big Muddy in Winona, we will have a new
roster available for all the members. Look for it in November sometime.
Still looking for thoughts on Why We Do What We Do—and what will make it more fun for you.
What are you looking for in Clann? What can we do better? What are we doing well? Please let us know—we all want this to be a fun, fulfilling experience for everyone.
Send info to Mary McKinley at the previously posted info—snail mail:
1363 Jefferson Ave
St Paul, MN 55105-2410
Clann's monthly drill will be held on the third Saturday of the month at Bossen Field by Lievtenant Eric and Hellen's home (5732 Bossen Terrace Apt#2), unless there is a scheduled Clann Event that weekend.
The time is NOON.
For directions, Lievtenant Eric can be contacted at: 612-726-6364
Submissions for the Newsletter!
Items you can submit include research articles, character sketches, and other items pertaining to living history and Scottish Culture. Email your items in either plain text, or MS Word format to email@example.com or snail mail to our postal address.
Items must be received by the 15th of each month to be considered for inclusion for the upcoming months issue. Mailed submissions will not be returned unless requested. All pertinent submissions will be considered as space permits. All research articles must reference at least three sources. Submissions are NOT edited for spelling or grammar, but may be broken in multiple parts.
There are no minutes from Sept - as the meeting was cancelled.
Board & Staff
If you need to contact someone associated with Clann Tartan, here is where you find out how. If you are unsure who to contact, you can always email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
|| Mary McKinley
|| Bruce Yoder
|Assistant Head Campfollower
Stockings of the Common Man, His Wife and Children
I am now taking names of MEMBERS, who are interested in learning the period correct way to wield the blades we would have used. The methods will be totally Scottish and /or common to the Scottish Island.
But, first I need your name, mailing address, phone number and what type of sword you are interested in...and, do you have such a sword.
When I have this information, we will set up a date and time to get together for our first exercise.
I hope to use some of what we learn in a skit or two during the coming years. The more blades we have to be used correctly the better we will be for the public.
So, get me this information soon and let's get started.
Marty L. Byers
Gaffney's Fife and Drum
NOTICE: Change of Venue.
Because Maeve Kane will be moving to Macalester College in September, fife practice will henceforth be held at Eric and Hellen Ferguson's, the same location as monthly drill and drum drill. Fife practice will continue to be held at 7 to 9 pm on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month.
Drummers continue to meet at 11 am the third Saturday of each month at Eric and Hellen's, followed by Regimental Drill at Noon. The Regiment owns two drums, but drummers are requested to get their own drumsticks.
A note for soldiers - according to the articles of war, it is a crime punishable by death not to learn the drum calls. Be forewarned.
We have set up a yahoo group for the Corps at http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/clannfifeanddrum/ so we can communicate without clogging up non corps folks' e-mail.
Again, drummers will work primarily on period military music for the time being, and fifers will be working on that as well as dance music.
All are welcome - no experience neccessary.
Anyone interested in joining up contact Clann's Music Chair at:
1st & 3rd Wednesdays
One Grenoble Ave, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076
The community center for Skyline Village, on the east side of Concord St. at 75th St in Inver Grove Heights. About 2.5 miles south of I494
2nd & 4th Tuesdays
Saint Christopher's Episcopal Church, 2300 N Hamline Ave. in St. Paul.
It is at the northeast corner of Highway 36 and Hamline Avenue (Hamline is between Snelling and Lexington). The church is actually encircled by the highway entrance ramp.
The Dance Guild gathers weekly from 7PM-9PM to learn and practice historic Scottish country dances.
For more information call:
Mary at 651-699-6853 or Julie at 651-698-8375
It's a great place to meet people !
Want to learn about wool spinning, weaving, or dying? Diana Steben (651-489-2881) Kali Pederson (651-730-5437 ) and Sandy Borrmann (651-489-2881) organize the Fiber Guild.
Clann Tartan has our own historic site near Duluth MN. Dun Gowan is an ongoing project,
which is the site of Gaffneyis Annual Tactical in July. We are finishing the fort and beginning the
construction of a village this year. Contact David Vavreck at 612-378-1973 or email@example.com for
further information, or to volunteer to help.
By Maeve Kane
First things first: knitting needles, although not
as standardized as modern needles, were widely
available to professional and amateur knitters in our
period. Drawplates for making wire were used in the
Germanies since the eleventh century and since 1430 at
least in England. Mechanization of wireworks by
waterpower was begun in 1566 near Tintern Abbey, and
by 1600 the one mill supplied over 5000 workers in
England who made wool cards, bird cages and knitting
needles from the drawn wire. A second wire mill was
set up in 1607 supplying the same number of workers,
and several other rival mills were suppressed when the
first two were granted a monopoly on the domestic
Needles were mentioned as 'pricks,' 'wires,' and
'pins,' much more often than as needles, which is why
they are so seldom found in contemporary wills and
other documents. They were also a very utilitarian
and were used until they could be used no more,
leaving little trace in the archeological record.
Knitting is also one of the few textile crafts to
never really have been taken up by ladies of fashion,
and our knowledge of the working poor who did the bulk
of the knitting in our period is very sparse.
Most of the knitted articles that survive from our
period are from the upper levels of society. So are
most of the undershirts, and yet we all wear some
version of a shirt, chemise, smock or sark at events.
The fact is, most things that poorer people used and
wore were used and worn until there wasn't anything
left to use or wear. The Gunnister Man find, the
description of which is in the Clann library (Henshall
and Maxwell), had several knitted articles found with
the body, including two well made but poorly mended
thigh length stockings. A knitting pattern based off
Gunnister Man's stockings can be found at http://costume.dm.net/stockpat.html.
Gunnister Man's stockings show knowledge of structured decreases,
which gives knitted stockings a much closer fit than
cut hose are capable of.
This is not to say that cut hose were not widely worn
in our period. They were, in fact, more popular for
the majority of low and lower middle class people
because they were cheaper to make than silk stockings
and better quality than home-spun wool stockings,
which were mostly worn by children, the elderly and
artisans and their wives. However, everyone who could
afford silk stockings did. The Pepys bought several
pairs of stockings, both worsted (fine-spun wool) and
silk. In a 1583 puritanical rant, Phillip Stubbes
described the popularity of knit stockings over the
"base cut hosen" in both wool and silken threads, and
how families with incomes of less than forty shillings
a year would own at least one pair of silk or other
fine stockings costing eleven shillings or more.
Children's stockings however, of which we have the
best record in accounts books, could be bought or
commissioned for between three and twelve pence in
1550. These records were all concerning a child of
the family, but several years later, ten pence was
paid 'for a pair of knit hose for the kitchen boy,' as
There are several extant children's stockings in the
Museum of London and the Strangers' Hall, Norwich,
which show knowledge of shaping, are otherwise fairly
unskilled when compared to other extant knitted
pieces. The heels of several are turned in garter
stitch, a technique that produces an uncomfortable
bulk around the heel and which is usually only used
when the knitter does not know how to purl. This
suggests that they were knit by someone below the
professional level and not belonging to the
professional knitter's guilds which existed at the
The only other surviving adult stocking besides
Gunnister Man's may not even be a stocking. A
tube-shaped fragment found with the Mary Rose shows
the type of arbitrary decreases typical of stockings
of the period and described in the first English
knitting pattern (1655), it may also be a scogger or
hogger, handless or footless tubes used by working
people to protect their forearms and calves and
provide extra warmth. The knitting pattern mentioned
above is reprinted in A History of Handknitting by
Richard Rutt and will soon be available in the Clann
There were several mentions in print of the
popularity of knit stockings in our period, however.
Phillip Stubbes, in his same pamphlet about the evils
of decadent stockings, describes the "green, red,
white, russet, tawny and else what; which wanton light
colours any sober chaste christian . . . can hardly .
. at any time wear," that were popular amoung
artisan's wives. William Harrison, a rector in the
countryside described in his 1577 Description of
England the black dye "much used by our country wives
in coloring their knit hosen." He also goes on to
castigate town women for their "colored nether
Knit stockings were one of England's biggest exports
throughout our period, and both urban and rural areas
organized knitting schools to keep people out of
mischief and relieve poverty. In 1578, the House of
Corrections provided materials for female inmates to
spin and knit with and also trained those who didn't
already knit. In 1591, John Cheseman established a
kntting school for "such as are willing to come to
him, or are sent by the aldermen" in Lincoln in
exchange for the discharge of his debts. Knitting
instruction continued at Lincoln until 1718. In 1588
a Mrs Awtherson was paid 20 shillings by the city of
York "in consideration that she teaches poor children
to knit." Four counties in northern Norfolk all
ordered in 1622 that poor children be put to work with
spinning and knitting dames under the supervision of
the churchwardens, who would pay the dames when the
parents were not able. Two blue-coat schools were
founded a year apart at Great Marlow and Newark for
the purpose of teaching girls and boys to knit, spin
and make lace, and one continued to provide knit
stockings to various charities and their own students
as late as 1860.
English worsted stockings were much in demand in
France and Flanders, but Spanish and Italian silk
stockings were imported into England. Ireland bought
most of their stockings from northern England and the
Lowlands because they produced a much thicker, warmer
product than southern England, but Irish Stockings,
presumably a kind of cut hose, were recommended for
those "such as intend to plant themselves in New
England" because they were "much more serviceable than
knit ones." They were also much cheaper, the
Massachusetts Bay Company listing them as eleven to
thirteen pence in 1628 as opposed to two shillings
four pence for knit stockings.
This article was not meant to be an overview of
knitting or even stocking manufacture in our period,
but simply to prove that knit stockings were available
and worn by the levels of society we strive to
This is a seventeenth and eighteenth century pattern,
but I would hesitate to recommend it to any but
merchant class or higher members of Col. Gaffneyis.
Eighteenth century stockings tended to be more finely
shaped at all levels of society than in our period.
The author also has some useful links posted after the
Stockings based off the Gunnister Man find. Gunnister
Man post dates our period by a few decades, but is the
most complete find of knitted articles in Scotland for
our time period. http://costume.dm.net/stockpat.html
The complete description of the Gunnister Man and
several other finds, many of which include whole or
partial knitted articles can be found in Henshall and
Maxwell, which is in the Clann library.
These stockings are Elizabethan and would be typical
of what an officer would be wearing. They are
slightly old fashioned for our time period, being
designed for wear with trunk hose and not high boots,
but the shaping is of a skill level appropriate.
Except where noted, all quotations are from Rutt.
Henshall, Audrey, S. "Early Textiles Found in
Scotland." Proceedings of the Society of Antiquairies
of Scotland. Vol 86, pp 1-29, 1951-2
Henshall, Audrey S & Maxwell, Stuart "Clothing and
Other Articles from a late 17th Century Grave at
Gunnister, Shetland." Proceedings of the Society of
Antiquairies of Scotland. Vol 86, pp 30-42 1951-2
Rutt, Richard. A History of Handknitting. Interweave
Press, Loveland Colorado 1987.
Vouge Knitting. Pantheon Books, New York 1989.
Be sure to contact your staff
if you plan on attending a show event. Try to give at least a ten day notice when possible.
This allows proper planning for the feeding of our members, and in some cases is required by event organizers to allow entry as a participant.
You can call any of the staff members listed, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clann Tartan Board Meeting,
Corcoran Community Center. 11am
Clann Tartan Quarterly Meeting,
Corcoran Community Center. NOON
Night At the Pub
Minneapolis @ 7PM
Drum at 11AM
Fife at Ferguson's
Night At the Pub
Minneapolis @ 7PM
Fife at Ferguson's
|Map to Inver Grove Heights location- Dance
||Map to St. Paul location St. Christopher's- Dance
|Map to Board Meetings
509 Sibley Street Suite 200
Saint Paul, MN 55101
|Map to Board/Quarterly/Annual Meetings
Corcoran Park, Minneapolis