February 20, 2012

Monday's Lesson: Pattern 101 Check vs Tartan vs Plaid

This week is a curly one - we're not just comparing two patterns but three, so make sure your thinking cap is on!

Let’s start with the most straight forward pattern: Check. A Check pattern is made by crossing vertical and horizontal lines to form uniform squares. Believe it or not the name is derived from the game of chess played on a squared board.

Gorgeous large scale red and white check wingback. Love the combination with the other patterns and also the framed image sequence.
What is not to love about this? I love the repeat of the check, the scale and tone and the beautiful scolloped edge loose sheet.
I am a sucker for a check! This is my wedding dress which I adore.
Traditionally associated with Scotland, different check patterns and colours denoted specific areas as they were reflective of the natural dyes available to local weavers. The mid-19th century brought modernised weaving and dying techniques and checked cloth patterns transitioned into more complicated Tartans.  At this point Tartans came to reflect clan or family rather than region or district.

A Tartan pattern stays true to its chequered origins in that it is made by crossing vertical and horizontal lines. The enhancement being the addition of different colours intersecting at more points to form a series of different sized squares.
Casamance Neapolis from the Syracuse Collection

I always imagine Tartan working back with leather - it must be the masculine image I have in my head. Love the soft tones in this Tartan and the cute pom pom fringe on the scatter cushion!
Very retro feel Tartan, shaggy rug, orange velvet.....

 A 'How many Tartans can you see?' image. I see 6!
Here's my masculine look again. I wish they had shot this photograph with dimmed light so it really made me feel like jumping under all those covers.
Amazing dining room, stunning fringed tablecloth, netted chandelier, opulent window treatments and beautiful alternating upholstered dining chairs.

"So where does Plaid fit in?" I hear you ask. Well plaid is really just a trick term. Plaid and Tartan are one of the same. Plaid is the North American term for a Scottish Tartan and in Scotland a Plaid is a Tartan cloth worn over the shoulder or a blanket. So in summary a check is a check and a Tartan is really a North American Plaid, got it?
If you’re interested in more ways to incorporate Check, Tartan or Plaid patterns into your decorating, check out my Pinterest board http://pinterest.com/bobbinscissors/pattern-101-check-v-s-tartan-v-s-plaid/

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