Tatting—a short love story


    Do “you” love tattting as much as I do? There’s just something about those intricate knots and swirls of thread that amazes me. What I’d like to know is who invented this stuff out in the first place? Who developed the first tatting shuttle?  What person figured out how to hold their tongue just right so all the loops of thread, the knots, and the click of the tatting shuttle blend so beautifully to make a gorgeous motif?

          You do know, holding your tongue in the right position does help you tat, don’t you?  Personally, I haven’t got that part down yet.  Learning how to needle tat just about did me in.  I love the idea of tatting, but haven’t developed patience enough to perfect it. 

              I keep saying, someday, I’ll master this process. Someday, I will . . . I will . . . I will . . . ~~~!!!

              But until that day happens, I’ll be haunting antique malls, rescuing old tattting and loving it to pieces. I told a friend about someone I know who made a three-inch piece of tatting with silk thread. The pattern was so intricate that it took two hundred hours to complete. Yup, you heard me right!  Two hundred hours.  This was the most amazing piece of handwork I’ve ever seen in my life.   The smaller the thread, the more breathtakingly delicate the results and the longer it takes to complete.  She stored it in a plastic case to protect it. 

      My friend’s reply:   “Just an idea, Kate, but maybe the first 199 hours were spent learning how to hold her tongue just right.” Well . . . after seeing the end product, I believe she definitely got “that important part” of tatting down pat. 

      Please tell me your tatting stories.  I love hearing where you find “your” tatting treasures.  By the way, I’m sharing a photo of some different pieces of tatting I rescued.  You can see the delicacy of threads in the top two pieces as apposed to the lower piece of tatting.  Who says, “size doesn’t matter”.  GGGrin!

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  1. Comment by Becky Gockel:

    When I was 13 or 14 (late 1960s) I tried to shuttle tat; teaching myself. Didn’t work, couldn’t get it. A neighbor’s mother-in-law offered to try to teach me. My mom drove me an hour away to the care facility where she lived. I brought my shuttles and various balls of thread. We worked what seemed to be for hours. I just couldn’t get it, but after a little while I was able to do a few knots and then I’d lose the technique, the poor old woman got very frustrated with my inability to get it. Not long after that she died.

    Twenty years later, I learned about needle tatting and the only place around that taught it was a two hour drive for the 3 hour class. I bought the needles and the books and with the help of the instructor I finally made some nice little pieces but nothing spectacular.

    Two years ago, the afore mentioned neighbor had been battling diabetes and had gone blind, before she died she gave me all of her knitting needles and acoutrements, some table linens and to my surprise at the bottom of the bag were some of beautiful pieces that her mother-in-law had made over 40 years ago. One in particular is intricately beautiful and I am going to get it matted and framed. I will treasure it always.

  2. Comment by FairyKateH:

    WOW…that’s a very kewl story, Becky. Thank you so much for sharing. I was given the large piece of tatting seen under the title of my blog. I used it as a special centerpiece for a wedding quilt. I think things like that should be treated with reverence as it sounds like you intend to do. Have fun!

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