Young Son’s Kilts Arrived Today

10 04 2009

(Photo credit FavD and her cell phone)

This is the very American, very comfy for hot weather, very Young Son version. It matches his LOTR/Ranger’s Apprentice hooded olive drab cloak, not pictured and that’s probably a good thing, lol. But the black leather belt that IS pictured is new today straight from Scotland, arrived with the handmade, eight yards of Ross tartan wool, military-pleated pipe band dress kilt. The silver Ross clan buckle is authentic, and you should see all the other traditional and completely authentic elements. A couple that I haven’t learned to spell yet! So more photos to come, I promise.

As I think I posted before, he’s been invited by his pipemaster John McIlroy to play in public with the McIlroys at the Tallahassee Celtic Games next month. So he’s gotta look good! 🙂

Unschooling the Bagpipes More Than Mere Music Lessons

Doing a Favor for a Friend

School Failure Across the Pond

UPDATE June 2010 – another kilt but the sun is brutal, see if you can get enough of a look at it being worn the first day it arrived:




23 responses

10 04 2009

A northwestern American company called “Utilikilts” made the olive drab kilt pictured here. I want to blog the tag attached when we opened it, because it is very unschooling! 😉

With good humor, entangled in paradox, Utilikilts — the uniform of the free-thinking — are inextricably woven into the thread of the future.

This future is all of ours, and open minds are essential while navigating this course. Utilikilts embody change: change to the system, change to the culture, change to the way we think and act.

Change is always tumultuous, ask any child, it ain’t easy.
Be who you are and what you want — Utilikilts ensure that you are met with minimal preconceptions.”

(Yeah, that’s what his dad is a little worried about!) 😀

10 04 2009

I LOVE it!

So….no I won’t ask that question.

10 04 2009

Very cool.

10 04 2009
Crimson Wife

I hope the Ross tartan is more attractive than my mom’s clan’s tartan. That is olive green and purple- ick!

10 04 2009

CW, there are four authentic Ross tartans available in the lightweight “Florida survival” kilt. 😉

Three are pretty off-putting imo so this is the one we chose, the “Ross Modern Hunting” tartan” — the green turns out to be a truer green than the photo, which makes it look sort of neon blue-green.

10 04 2009

The best part of ordering that kilt, was getting to make an overseas call — my first time! — and discuss every detail with a “lass” who had the most incredibly charming Scottish accent (not a brogue exactly, at least it seemed lighter than what I imagine a brogue to be). . .so the whole thing has been most educational for me too, and continues to be.

11 04 2009

Meg, I HOPE the answer to what you’re not asking, is black Hanes.

11 04 2009
Nance Confer

“Young Son” is a handsome young man now. I keep picturing him from some older picture you had posted, I guess, or just the YS moniker.

Anyway, very cool. I share Dad’s concern but it looks like YS can pull this off! Is it all in the swagger? 🙂


11 04 2009

Thanks Nance. 🙂

He’s still just 13 but he grew seven inches in the last two years, feet size 12 or 13, and his singing went from sweet treble to baritone-bordering-on-bass in that same time. (Your DS would still tower over him though!)

He doesn’t swagger, don’t think he knows what that would be even. He’s no John Wayne or Marlon Brando I mean, let’s see, maybe more like the Dread Pirate Roberts or Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean? — a combination of fierce, funny, sensitive and soft in derring-do adventure, maybe cultivating a hero image but relying on intelligence, style and imagination rather than strength and brute force? [Ooh — more Obama?]

Yesterday I was admiring it all and reminding him how the kilt was to him what cultural garb like the dashiki, yarmulke or habib etc are, as worn by other people out and about, is in our university town. I hope everyone else sees it that way but someone may well jeer or point and whisper anyway, which I want him to be prepared to brush off.

He went out walking around the neighborhood after we took the photo. He said he passed a nice lady walking a dog who smiled and said, “That’s an unusual outfit.” Young Son said, “Yes. It’s a kilt.”


The lady said, “I know.”

Then Young Son said, “It’s a Utilikilt, I think I have some cards.” And he pulls out a business card and hands it to her, she thanks him, and they continue past each other. (Hey, maybe I should get him a Scottish terrier to walk, to complete the tableau??)

He continued on toward his neighborhood Irish dance studio, which doesn’t hold classes on Friday so it was closed. But next door is a strip mall restaurant called Canopy Road and who should he encounter but the lead musician in a local band setting up to play that evening, who turns out to be the lead singer and bagpipe player for a group called Scots on the Rocks, who loves the kilt and talks to him, invites him to come back and hear them — which he does later, with his dad. In his kilt, of course. 🙂

11 04 2009

He looks very confident in his kilt, if he would like further information on kilts and their accessories please visit http//

Kind Regards,


11 04 2009

David, thank you for posting your site! I just visited and now I know that the Ross clan is from a part of the Highlands just south of “Dornoch Firth” and just west of the North Sea.

Of course Ross is my husband’s family name (I was a thoroughly English “James” before I married and so I’m still learning) but as the at-home unschooling parent, it falls mostly to me to keep up with all this day to day. Have you ever been to Dornoch Firth or might there be any info or stories you could give us? Young Son is at that teachable moment and he’s drinking it all in.

Also his 19-year-old sister is backpacking through Europe with a friend this summer — she’s a Ross too, of course, and Irish dancing — and she plans to visit Young Son’s pipemaster’s family in Edinburgh for a couple of days. I see that it’s not exactly next door but I was wondering how hard it would be as a day trip, to visit Dornoch Firth and the Ross clan stomping grounds, from Edinburgh, perhaps by train?

11 04 2009

Oh, also to David — Young Son’s real Ross tartan kilt from Scotland was made in Glenisla, which looks like it’s in Angus? Is that near the Ross clan stomping grounds by Dornoch Firth by any chance?

And you’ve got me going now, so I just discovered this lovely 20-mile steam railway in the Highlands, surprisingly named after a type of bagpipe music Young Son is just beginning to learn – Strathspey. The railway has a rule that made YS and me laugh out loud just now, and want to go!

* Dogs must not sit on seats or tables, and are not permitted in the buffet or dining cars

11 04 2009

Well, you have to love this even if it’s mostly intertubes pandering:

The Rosses are distinguished by having possibly the most important American connections of any Scots clan, and took prominent roles in key episodes of American history.
Many other Rosses have also achieved distinction in Canada and in Prussia, where the Counts von Ross were famous soldiers.

12 04 2009
Crimson Wife

Well, it appears that my mom’s clan is not officially recognized by the Court of Lord Lyon, at least according to that link. Maybe they’re not considered Scottish enough since they are descendants of the Norman conquerors.

14 04 2009

What a great story – and photo! I also enjoyed, “Yes. It’s a kilt.” What a great kid 🙂

15 04 2009
Okay, Susan Boyle Belongs Here Too « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Susan Boyle Belongs Here Too 15 04 2009 . . .because she’s Scottish, and because the song Susan Boyle sings here is from Les Miz, in the top three if not THE top on […]

5 06 2009

That’s so cool! My sister (also unschooled) plays snare drum in a pipes and drums band, so I know all about the kilt and accessories. And I have no clue how to spell all the stuff either, lol.

5 06 2009

Hi, Idzie, there must be something nonconformist in Scotland’s heritage that appeals to unschoolers!

It was the “sporran” I wasn’t too sure about. 😉

I’m not sure if kilted girls wear the sporran too, or maybe they substitute a sort of tartan over the shoulder scarf, do you know?

Click here for several photos of him in the formal tartan kilt (with sporran!) actually playing his D Naill pipes.

And here he is marching in the massed bands at his first Scottish Games and Celtic Festival.

19 09 2009
Martin Scott

I am Scottish and had never seen a kilt like that one. Does he have a ‘normal’ one as well? I wear one to Scouts as part of our formal uniform and sometimes for weddings.

19 09 2009

Hi Martin, thanks for stopping by —
Yes, he definitely has the real, normal, official Ross tartan kilt, imported from Scotland and consisting of eight yards of heavy wool. (Here in Florida with the heat and humidity, it’s not too comfortable most of the year, as you might imagine.)

But here’s a photo of him in it and also here, with a Sons of Scotland t-shirt instead of his Irish linen Jacobite kilt shirt, which he wears for Irish step dancing too. . .

He was born on the wrong continent! 🙂

If I could ask you a question about UK Scouting, we just read that there is a new pocket-knife ban? Do you have an opinion about that?

3 10 2009
Fun Jaunt to Costume & Magic Shop « Cocking A Snook!

[…] And a good story. The place was packed with college students, guard at the door to direct traffic, so the atmosphere was fun. The fellow who squired us around and knew where everything was even on the highest shelves, instantly got into the Javert character and yet did a Scottish accent the whole time because Young Son was wearing his kilt. […]

7 01 2010
Ian Gallo

I love Scots on the Rock!
Go check ’em out!

26 06 2010

Young Son keeps geting taller so here in the summer of 2010, the olive drab utilikilt pictured new above, is now too short. He just received the replacement model, a black “Survival” ultimate kilt in which he looks shockingly, stunningly lanky and grown-up . . .

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