Reading the Tartan

A tartan pattern emerges out of a single list of coloured threads called a thread count.

Reading a tartan requires a little practice and involves finding two unique points within the pattern called the pivots.

Tartans consist of broader bands of colour called the under check which are often decorated or embellished with narrower lines of colour called the over check.

Once the basic possibilities are understood, one can better appreciate designs that combine and extend the simple ideas. The largest group of tartan uses the three-colour design of Black Watch as its basis. (See Examples)