I was born in 1961 - my father is a holocaust survivor and retired professor from University of Calif, Davis and my mother is a retired concert pianist. I could not carry a tune, but I could do great things with my hands. I never completed college (1 year at UCD and 1 year at the Cal State U, Sacramento - all in the business field) - I ran out of money and spirit and joined the military. When I got out of the military, I went to a trade school in drafting and technical illustration at Clover Park Tech (Tacoma, WA) and received my certification there. I worked for a sign painter for a while but left that for a better paying job in the Federal Government. It was during that time that I was invited to join a Scottish Clan (I was married to a Scot-Irish). At that time, I made teddy bears from scratch as a hobby. It was through this Clan (Clan Donnachaidh) that I was introduced to kiltmaking. I learned at the feet of a retired kilt maker in 1994. Two years later, I contacted several mills in Scotland and started my business as The Fife & Thistle, LLP. My partner left the next year because of family problems leaving me as a sole proprietor in 1997. In 2006, I traveled to Scotland with my husband (Red McWilliams (http://home.flash.net/~celtsong/recordings.html) where I met Duncan Chisholm, one of the founders of the Kilt Makers Association of Scotland. I had recently made a kilt for my husband and everyone was admiring the kilt. Mr. Chisholm invited me to submit a kilt for inspection and entry into the Association. I was subsequently accepted in to the KMAS in April 2007 as it's first American member.
In recognition of the kilt's importance as one of the icons of Scottish culture, the Kilt Makers Association of Scotland has been formed to provide the kilt-buying public with an easily recognised standard of quality. Only those kilt makers who meet the independently assessed standards of the Association are entitled to use the official label. It confirms that they are committed to maintaining traditional standards in tailoring and materials. It also provides a guarantee that the kilt is handmade from a high quality cloth and other materials of equally high quality right down to the threads.
I live in Puyallup, Washington with my husband and 2 daughters, a dog, and a cat who is committed to inspecting each and every kilt that I sew!
Note from Larry Sanger: Ms. McWilliams is a specialist editor with respect to the topic of Kilts and Kiltmaking. Welcome!