"Buffalo Check" is a Hudson Bay wool plaid of red and black (not a tartan), that was used in the 18th century. It was developed as a lighter alternative to striped "point" blankets, and was commonly used to make jackets and shirts in the Northern States because they were thinner than the point-blanket wool, and still very warm. When the logging industry swept the Great Lakes region, they became a very popular logging shirt. Paul Bunyan was apparently a fan.
In 1850, Woolrich unveiled the two-tone plaid Buffalo Check shirt, which is still available today. According to the Pennsylvania-born company’s history books, the pattern designer owned a herd of buffalo.
Borrowed from the boys, buffalo check fabric can be worn or it can be used as an upholstery fabric. The pattern is versatile, so it can be a layering piece (in bedding, for example) or stand-alone.
A sister to Gingham, buffalo check comes in any color and can thus match any design scheme. Beautiful, and often inexpensive..
images from marthastewart.com, elledecor.com, countryliving.com and ICDC files.