Years ago, before I began blogging, I was asked to do a project for the Sam Houston Memorial Museum. A group of descendants of Scots who had emigrated to Texas wanted to emphasize Sam Houston's Scottish ancestry. They had corresponded with Houston Traditional Kiltmakers (EST. 1909) in Paisley, Scotland, identifying the 36 clans represented in Texas, and had received the gift of a huge box of heavy, woolen kilt remnants. (Regrettably, the box did not include the Houston tartan, which is on a gold background with an open plaid in green and brown. However, the clan is related to the MacGregors, who have numerous tartans.) From these, they wanted a set of flags or banners, one for each clan, to be displayed at the museum. And would I kindly make the flags?
It wasn't a difficult project, just cut the wool to uniform size, machine-hem the edges and make a channel for a pole on one short side. Museum staff would provide the poles and set up the exhibit. The bargain I struck was that I could keep the leftover fabric. I finished the work quite quickly and as it was summer, put the wool away until cooler weather showed up. The flags looked very nice and the Scots were pleased, although they would have preferred a more prominent placement for their gift in the Museum.
Time went by and I decided to try a wall quilt of the woolens featuring Scots thistles with a border of swatches of each tartan with the clan name embroidered in silver. I got 16 large squares made and joined, using felt batting and a heavy navy blue backing. I never did get around to making the borders.
This thing took on a life of its own. I got tired of struggling with the weight of it and put it away. For years.
Then, a few months ago, my cousin asked if I could make a blanket for her brother's new granddaughter. This child's middle name is Campbell , and "would it be possible to research and include the Campbell plaid in the design?" There were also some family memorabilia to include, perhaps in borders--our grandmother's embroidered monogram, our grandfather's geometric doodles . . . .
I couldn't think of a way to do all this for a while, then remembered the abandoned woolen piece. By golly, I even had the Campbell tartan swatch with its name in silver. The tartan, by the way, makes up the leaves of that purple thistle in the lower center. Just in case you're checking.
So I have it sewed together and borders applied. Just have to figure out how to duplicate the geometric doodles in stitch without going crazy. My grandfather Carl sat for hours at his desk with compass, clear ruler and protractor, making precise penciled figures on scratch paper. Each grandchild eventually got a framed selection.
Did I mention that this is the Jewish part of my family? Many of the doodles are Stars of David with assorted embellishments, and I think I can replicate those reasonably well. Have not decided whether to handstitch them.
This is the monogram embroidered by my grandmother, Rose Segelbaum Shapiro (the baby's great, great grandmother). It's at the center of the bottom border.
So now little SCTR is over 4 months old. I'll bet the plaid piece weighs more than she does. It's not very baby-ish, it's wool and a little scratchy. I hope they don't think it's too weird. I think red binding, or a Campbell-type blue would look nice. Just have to figure out the doodles.