Prickly Thistle: Authentic Scottish Tartans

Prickly Thistle Weaving

I’m not sure exactly when I became aware of Prickly Thistle, but I’ve been following the Mill’s journey for some time now. I know for certain that I 100% found out about the Mill because of Outlander, so thank you Diana Gabaldon and Sam Heughan. Prickly Thistle is the only tartan weaving mill in the Highland region of Scotland, and they have been working to build a home for their operation for a few years now. I’ve loved following the Prickly Thistle’s story, not least because they have fantastic videography (scroll down here to see what I’m talking about) and photography.

Tartan Weaving as Testament to Scottish History

As a lover of Scottish history, the Prickly Thistle vision — and that of their fearless leader, Clare Campbell — has really moved me. The Mill seeks to “write a new chapter for the story of tartan, one where the Highlands once again plays a pivotal role.” Prickly Thistle is fulfilling this goal by acting as “custodians” of the tartan weaving craft. Now, I love Scotland, history, and textiles — I have always wanted to try weaving myself, but have stuck with crochet thus far — so it’s no surprise, really, that the Prickly Thistle wove its way into my heart.

Prickly Thistle’s Devotion to Sustainability

I have been really impressed with Prickly Thistle’s devotion to the cause of sustainability. While this value is clearly aligned with the entire ethos of the mill — after all, traditional tartan weaving was probably pretty sustainable, using natural fibers and dyes — I was initially surprised to see this featured so prominently on their social media.

Prickly Thistle's Instagram, Screenshot

It’s awesome to see ventures pursue a single cause with true heart. Prickly Thistle is spearheading at least two important causes — that of maintaining Scottish history and heritage and that of sustainability.

My Experience with Prickly Thistle

Like I said, I’ve been following the Mill’s progress for some time. I gave to their second kickstarter campaign and received some of the most beautiful tartan fabric in return. When I brought the fabric in to be made into a skirt, the tailor was initially hesitant to work with such a high quality fabric; he was really uncertain about whether I would be happy with the outcome (or the price of custom clothing). I’m no seamstress — I don’t even have a sewing machine — so I rationalized that this was the only way I’d be able to make the fabric into something wearable. I’m so glad I pursued the custom tailoring, because the skirt — or, should I say, skirts, since there was enough fabric to make two full skirts! — turned out beautifully.

After participating in the Mill’s third kickstarter, I decided to order two more scarves — one for me, one for a gift — before they ran out of stock. I’m so glad I impulse bought these pieces, because they are absolutely gorgeous. For the quality and backstory, the price of 95 Pounds (approximately $124) per scarf was worth it to me. I know that, as a Floridian, I won’t get a ton of chances to wear the scarf, but I also know that I’ll have it for many, many years. Plus, it feels nice having a small connection to a beautiful project.

I encourage you to check out Prickly Thistle’s website for more information, both about their story and their bespoke tartan projects.

This post was in no way sponsored, by the way; I’m really just this passionate about great Scottish tartan.