Illustration of a handshake

Why “Grip and Word?”

The phrase grip and word alludes to certain elements Masonic ritual – but I have always thought it also alludes more broadly a person’s handshake (grip) and promise (word) as a pledge of fidelity in matters of business and life; there is something equally special about greeting a friend or colleague with a handshake, or… [Read More]

Now Available: Masonic Bow Ties!

[products skus=”BTDDGM,BTPMBLU,BTSCIVY,BTSCBLU,BTSCRED” orderby=”post__in“] Attendees of the 2016 Massachusetts and Rhode Island Masonic Con got the first look yesterday, but now they’re available to everyone:  I’m excited to announce a new line of Masonic bow ties!  Each one was designed in-house and made in Massachusetts by me, from luxurious satin fabric custom-printed in the USA. There… [Read More]

Tune of the Week: Lincoln's Hornpipe

Lincoln’s Hornpipe

Abraham Lincoln died 151 years ago today, and while I contemplated selecting a funeral march (yes, there were funeral marches written for the banjo in the 1800s) I decided that something a little more upbeat would be just as fitting as a positive remembrance for a remarkable man. This tune comes from Ryan’s Mammoth Collection… [Read More]

Diagram showing How to Tie a Bow Tie

Do you give lessons on how to tie a bow tie?

I’m not sure where the myth that bow ties are difficult to tie came from. Perhaps after their popularity declined for a while people assumed that bow tie thing is some kind of lost art, an obscure skill communicated only to a certain initiates of some sartorial secret society.  In the days before YouTube, you… [Read More]

Do You Make Regular Four-in-hand Neckties?

We’ve made a couple of them for customers on special request, but I haven’t pursued offering them in production because neckties are everywhere.  They also use a lot more material and labor to construct than bow ties, and with our capacity we simply can’t compete on price with big box and department stores.

Photo of Hand-made Bow Ties in Progress

Do *You* Make All This Stuff?

Short answer: Yes! Longer answer: Everything we sell online and at shows is made in-house in small runs. Ties and other accessories are cut out by hand and sewn on vintage, Italian-made Necchi sewing machines. The “Do you make these” question always catches me by surprise, because most of the shows Grip and Word participates… [Read More]

Tune of the Week: Base Ball Polka

Base Ball Polka (1867)

It’s opening week, so what could be better than some baseball-themed music?  We’re still back in the 19th century with a lovely Jas. M. Goodman composition from 1867 called Base Ball Polka, performed here on period-style banjo and fiddle by Al Smitley: While we’re at it, let’s celebrate the season with a discount bundle –… [Read More]

Murray of Atholl Tartan

Making a Traditional Tartan Kilt

Today is National Tartan Day, a celebration of Scottish heritage which is held on April 6 to commemorate the Declaration of Arbroath, a declaration of Scottish independence submitted to Pope John XXII in 1320. Tartans have been woven in Scotland for centuries, but it wasn’t until the visit of King George IV to Edinburgh in… [Read More]