Volume XIX Number 3 - March 2007

Sorry that this issue is so late - I've had some health problems which have taken up a lot of my time lately, so hopefully things will be set aright soon.

Had a really interesting time at the Queen Mary Games on the 17th and 18th of last month...went down just to see what it was like and stayed on The Boat, which was pretty cool - angled decks and all, real portholes, and salt water taps in the bath (no longer functioning, thank God). Sunday brunch aboard was mind-boggling - enough food to feed Ethiopia - and the solo piping comp was very good as well. Connected with Black Part, newly-elected President of the Southern Branch of WUSPBA, and already he's making waves. The Powers What Am are still unhappy about his having a meeting at The Boat, and we'll see how things regurgitate over the next month or two. Speaking of the pirate, we'll be working on a little money-raising project for the SB in the next few months.

Trotted the MacDougalls around for selected folk to see, many oohs and aahs, and one 'Sherwood, you bastard'...HA!

Saw Gary Harper and the Bydand lads, impressive show as usual during the opening ceremonies, including some new drill manoeuvres on the tarmac - no fuzzy-wuzzies to mow down, but the local English Civil War group stood in...didn't appreciate their cannon fire at 9am on Sunday, a little early for that, guys....we'll see Gary at Livermore in May.

Only thing I haven't mentioned is that I went on this excursion with The Dragon - first time Ma's ever been to a Games, believe it or else!

NEW PRODUCT DEPARTMENT: A really good investment, a practical tool to protect your pipes, and a cool gadget to boot - our new Planet Waves Humidity Control system for your pipe case, includes an electronic hygrometer/thermometer/clock with minimum humidity settings, and a capsule humidifier, $69.95. I've been using this for the last month, and it's much more accurate than the mechanical one I've had for several years, and $30 cheaper to boot!

This month's installment on Highland Dress - THE KILT:

A lot has been written about the history of our National Garment, much of it specious, some of it downright false, and a lot of claptrap thrown among the truth. As far as history goes, suffice it to say that some enterprising individual, sometime in the seventeenth century (not the eighteenth) saw fit to cut the top half off his feilidh-mhor and stitch the pleats in for ease of wearing. While not as versatile as the full plaid, it made getting dressed in the morning a lot quicker, and was probably the dress of more moneyed highlanders.

The modern kilt, as we know it, with eight yards of highly priced heaviweight tartan, dates only to the 1890s. WHAT? you say? Some enterprising tailor in the late 1800s discovered that if he put more cloth in the kilt, he could charge more for it. Before the 1890s the kilt was made with four yards of cloth, or five yards for us bonus types. The pleats were shallow, often box-pleated, and there are several historically accurate variation of pleating that go back to the 1700s. These historically accurate reproduction kilts are available from us, see our REPRODUCTIONS page.

Now: the kilt you buy today should be made from 16-17 ounce 'Strome' quality heavy tartan kilting cloth, sometimes available in the older 28" width; the single-width kilts now reatil for $800 or more. The same kilt, made from double-width cloth (requiring only four yards split across the middle and pieced together) will run between $6-700 depending on the weaver and kiltmaker. THIS IS AN EXPENSIVE GARMENT, SO MAKE SURE IT FITS PROPERLY! When possible, have yourself measured by a local tailor before ordering if you can't be measured properly by the kiltmaker or the seller (like me). The length of the kilt should be to the TOP of the kneecap, or JUST BELOW the top (1/2"), NOT TO THE BOTTOM OF THE KNEECAP! Too many times I've seen band people with kilts too low and socks too high - there's NO knee showing...!

The waistband of the kilt should hit the bottom of your ribcage, not below your belly! If you gain weight, have the kilt let out by a local tailor - don't let your gut hang over the waistband. Pease. It really looks bad. If you're stuck with a band kilt that doesn't fit, find a kiltmaker who will take it in or let it out. If it's too long, it can be hemmed. If it's too short, a band can be sewn to the top, new lining put in, and the band will be under your waistbelt.

Oh, one more thing - those loops at the back of the kilt are for your sporran chain, NOT your waistbelt!

Black Part Speaks:

Ahoy Mateys! I found the So. Branch adrift in heavy seas end o' last year. So I boarded an took charge. She's a mighty big ship, so February 17, 2007 I took on some volunteer crew. I'm officially now the Cap'n, (President), fer a year. Gary Speed will be Treasurer fer a year. Ed Best'll be Vice-President fer two years. Coni Canino'll be Secretary fer two years. We've chopped down and cut away all the 'ol riggin' that was slowin' us down, set new masts, new yardarms, (these are strong 'nough to sail 'round wi' but not strong 'nough to hang anybody wi'), trimmed the sails, fixed the rudder, and set a course to bring benefit to all members of the So. Branch. Hopefully we won't encounter anymore 'snags' such as the ones set fer us by the EC just days befor' the meetin'. For more 'bout the "EC Strikes Back" pull up the WUSPBA website. Happy Readin'!! Fer now though, we've left these 'maroons' in our wake.  Ahrrgh!

Ol' Black Part

-Hopefully our correspondant will recover his command of the English language for next month's entry - Ed.


(The management of Cuillinn Craft takes NO responsibility for any editorial statements made by John Eric Partanen PhD. Any and all comments should be directed to BLACK PART)


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