New Hampshire’s tartan stitches together the state’s culture

New Hampshire’s tartan stitches together the state’s culture

The New Hampshire state tartan weaves together aspects of state culture.

By Katy Savage

April 1, 2024

Did you know New Hampshire has its own fabric? 

The state tartan (a plaid-like fabric used in Scottish culture) was designed by Ralf L. Hartwell in 1993 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the NH Highland Games & Festival. Hartwell, who had a hobby of weaving fabric on his loom, created colors that represent aspects unique to the Granite State. 

  • Purple represents the the state bird and flower (the purple finch and lilac) 
  • Green represents the forests 
  • Black represents the granite mountains 
  • White represents the snow 
  • Red is for the state’s heroes 

What is a tartan?

A tartan is a fabric with a distinctive pattern of horizontal and vertical stripes, often in multiple colors. Each tartan is unique and can be associated with specific clans, families, regions, or institutions. 

In Scotland, tartans are used to represent the  heritage, allegiance, or affiliation of the person wearing it. Historically, tartans were  used for clothing, like kilts, shawls, and other garments. They were also used for decorative purposes such as blankets and upholstery.

The colors and arrangement of stripes in a tartan can convey various meanings, including connections to nature, family crests, or historical events. 

The copyright of New Hampshire’s tartan is held by NHSCOT. You can learn more and find where to purchase NH tartan yardage here. 


  • Katy Savage

    Katy Savage is an award-winning reporter with more than 10 years of experience working in daily, weekly and digital news organizations as both an editor and reporter. Katy is a New England native and has a passion for telling stories about where she grew up.

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