At least forty states have a total of more than forty-four district tartans of which perhaps thirty-four are official state symbols (twenty by statute). Why shouldn't we here in Maryland have an official state tartan? That's what I thought, so I designed a tartan for Maryland based on the state flag.

Tartan FAQ


What could we use a state tartan for?
Once a solely Scottish or Irish fashion, the tartan is now an internationally recognized symbol. People, businesses, organizations, and governments throughout the world are registering their own tartan designs with the official government Scottish Register of Tartans. Once approved, the proposed Maryland State tartan can be used to showcase Maryland around the world.
  • Ties, scarfs, kilts and other "plaid" items could be sold at Maryland gift shops and presented to state employees. Perhaps it could even generate some state income (to support education?)
  • It would be an option for something different to wear on Maryland Day.
  • The pattern could be used as a graphic element in web sites.
  • Maryland pipe bands, ceremonial honor guards and military units could be outfitted with the tartan, especially for out-of-state events.
  • It is particularly well suited for use by Scottish Highland Dancers from Maryland
  • Scholastic sports teams that wear kilts could use the pattern for out-of-state competitions.
  • Participants in the Maryland state sport of jousting could use the pattern.
  • The MVA could add a tartan license plate to its list of specialty or vanity plates
  • Buy Maryland could use it on SWAG items and displays at trade shows
  • Miss Maryland could wear a Maryland State tartan sash as could our first lady.
  • And we could... what is your idea?
And as my friend once said, "it helps some people, doesn't hurt anybody, and doesn't cost anything—it should be easy to approve."


But don't we have enough state symbols?
Actually, Maryland is below average in that regard. One consolidated source for state symbols is the State Symbols USA web site. They count things such as the flag, statehouse, seal, etc. and by their count...
  • Texas is the leader with upwards of 70 state symbols including a state Air Force, Caricature Artist, Bread, Cobbler, and Epic Poem. And, of course, the Texas Blue Bonnet Tartan.
  • Iowa brings up the rear with only 14 state symbols, including the state quarter. It has only an unofficial tartan.
  • Maryland is below average in the number of state symbols with only 29 (the average is 33). Isn't it time we caught up?
  • Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia all have more state symbols than we do.
  • One more state symbol and we'll be tied with Wisconsin.


The design of a tartan (called the sett) is specified by its threadcount.

The threadcount over half a sett with a full count at the pivot points is

Y/16 K16 Y16 K16 R32 W8 R8 W/32

(where Y=Yellow; K=Black; R=Red; W=White).

And here is what that looks like...



State Tartan News
On July 11 2019, Missouri Governor Mike Parsons signed SB210, officially designating the ‘Show-Me’ tartan as the official state tartan.


the proposed Maryland State Tartan Gets Around


Background, Rationale and History of the Tartan

The original idea was for a great kilt to be sold at the Maryland Renaissance Festival with a tartan unique to the local area. Once I settled on the idea to use the Maryland flag as the basis for my design, the concept was expanded to become the Maryland State tartan. This design was completed and set aside for many years.

With my discovery of the Scottish Register of Tartans, and verification that there is no pre-existing official Maryland State Tartan, a way became clear to have this tartan registered and finally woven. Once registered, my intention is to make this sett available to those who would like to wear a tartan that celebrates their Maryland connections. Besides kilts, tartan cloth is used to make shawls, sashes, ties, blankets, and many other items.

According to the Scottish Register of Tartans, "where a tartan is named after a country, a state, a district, a town or a city, giving the impression of an association with any central or local authority, public or private initiative, the application must be accompanied by a letter of authority from a prominent office-bearer in the appropriate body." In our case, that would be the Governor. And what better way to obtain his signature than at a bill signing.


Efforts to Make the Maryland State Tartan an Official Maryland State Symbol

We had a bill!

For the 2020 legislative session, Delegate Ken Kerr sponsored House Bill 0867. We had a hearing on March 12th in the Health and Government Operations Committee that went very well.

And then the next day, we got Corona'ed! The Maryland General Assembly decided to adjourn early and only deal with emergency legislation. When the legislature ended "sine die" all unpassed bills died—until next time.

We have a bill!

For the 2020 legislative session, House Bill 0867 has been sponsored by Delegate Ken Kerr, Delegate Vaughn Steward and others. The hearing is scheduled for March 12th at 1:00 PM in the Health and Government Operations Committee.

To provide your support for this bill, write, email, call, or visit your representatives and let them know that you are a constituent and that you support the effort to make the proposed Maryland State Tartan an official state symbol and why. To find your delegates click here.

Past Efforts

During the 2015 Maryland legislative session, Senator Ed Reilly introduced Senate Bill 114 to make the Maryland State tartan an official state symbol. A hearing was held in the Senate Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee but the bill was not passed out of committee.

In the fall of 2015, the Annapolis Capital newspaper ran a wonderful article about the Maryland State Tartan, written by Elisha Sauers.

For the 2016 session, Senator Ed Reilly has reintroduced the bill, this time it is Senate Bill 26. Delegate Michael Malone cross filed the bill as HB 303 along with 8 co-sponsors. Unfortunately, after a well-received hearing (click for the video and start at time 2:00:54) in the house Health and Government Operations Committee, the bill was still voted unfavorably and the senate bill was withdrawn.


Where Can I Purchase Maryland State Tartan Items?

Irish Traditions on Main Street in Annapolis has whole web page dedicated to the proposed Maryland State Tartan

Visit: Irish Traditions, 141 Main Street, Annapolis, MD 21401, United States
Phone: 410-990-4747|Email:


Description of the Maryland State Tartan

The Maryland FlagThe Maryland tartan is based on the design of the Maryland state flag. According to the Secretary of State, “The Maryland flag has been described as the perfect state flag — bold colors, interesting patterns, and correct heraldry—a flag that fairly shouts ‘Maryland.’” The Maryland tartan is also bold and it shouts “Maryland” as well.

The Calvert ArmsAccording to Maryland state law, “The Maryland flag is divided into four quarters. The first and fourth quarters consist of six vertical bars alternately yellow (representing gold) and black with a diagonal band on which the colors are reversed. The yellow and black quarters represent the family arms of the first proprietor of Maryland, George Calvert, first Lord Baltimore.” In the tartan the Baltimore arms are represented by seven stripes alternating black and yellow with the center yellow stripe as the pivot point. Seven stripes are necessary to make a reflective set and the black stripe is first and last to reflect the fact that the black diamond on the Maryland flag is uppermost.

The Crossland BannerIn the Maryland flag “the second and third quarters consist of a quartered field of red and white (representing silver) bearing a Greek cross with arms terminating in trefoils. The colors in the second and third quarters alternate, with red on the white ground and white on the red. The red and white quarters display the arms of Lord Baltimore's maternal family, the Crosslands.” In the tartan the Crossland arms are represented by a wide red stripe, a narrow white stripe, a narrow red stripe, and a wide white stripe at the repeating point. Placing the wide red stripe next to the black and the wide white stripe at the pivot point maintains a reflecting sett with the resulting tartan being arisaid but not dominated by white.



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The intellectual property rights to this tartan are held by Paul Wiedorn
US Copyright Office © registration number VAu001168697.
© P.A. Wiedorn 2020