Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Tatting Story

After reading Tatting Fool's post about how she started tatting, and The Tatting Whisperer's story, I thought I'd share mine as well.  Mine's not nearly as interesting, but it's mine, nonetheless.

I tend to like things that are unique - things that no one else has or does.  I also love antiques and heirlooms and thinking about the women that crafted quilts and socks and doilies more out of necessity than for fun.  I suppose the doilies were considered fancy, but the quilts were definitely made to serve a purpose.  

Honestly, I don't even remember where I saw tatting to begin with, but it was probably the vintage magazines and pattern books given to me by an aunt that was aware of my interest in antique sewing and lacemaking.  She has given me many shuttles and balls of tatting thread from various treasures she has come across.  My aunt is very talented with sewing and crafting and quilting, but she says she never was able to learn to tat - it was just too hard.

At some point in the early 1990's, I saw a Community Ed 'Beginning Tatting' class offered.  I think I was one of about 4 women in the class, and learned to tat rings and chains in about 2 or 3 classes.  I made some small wreath Christmas ornaments after that, and began looking for groups or classes to learn more.  At the time, my daughters were about elementary school age and I was a daycare provider.  I ordered a couple of current pattern books, and admired the things in them.  There were no classes or stores or groups to learn more, so knowing not another soul that tatted, the craft was put aside.  Every so often I would look on the internet for tatting groups or information, but there wasn't much out there.

Fast forward about 10 years.  I thought I'd better work on remembering how to tat, or I would have to start all over.  I got the rings and chains down, but when I started looking at those pattern books to make something, they didn't make sense.  I didn't know how to read the patterns!  I could whip out crocheted doilies in a snap, but it irritated me that I couldn't make a beautiful tatted doily.  More internet searching led me to the InTatters forum.  Aha! A place to ask questions and learn from other tatters.  Then I found some tatting blogs.  Still no local tatters or groups, though - darn! - and I'm such a visual learner.

A couple more years went by as I read with interest the blogs and information out there.  Then, a friend of my mom's lost her mother who was a tatter/lacemaker, and didn't quite know what to do with all that tatting and lacemaking stuff. This is when I inherited a large amount of books, thread, shuttles and crochet hooks.  It was like Christmas for me!  Talk about inspiration - this made me determined to master the art of tatting.  I found the T.A.T. proficiency program, and promptly ordered Phase I.  It took me a couple of years to get it completed, but I did it after a little challenge was put out there on the InTatters forum.  Now I know how to read the patterns, and have been enjoying tatting and trying new techniques.

I've met tatters from all over the world through this blog and participating in exchanges and challenges through the InTatters forum, and more recently the Tatting Forums and Ravelry.  My search for tatters in Minnesota led me to the Minnesota Lace Society, and most currently getting a local tatting group started.

And here I am.  A tatter inspired not by a family tatter, but by an aunt and friend that don't tat and tatters I didn't even have the pleasure to know. I'm grateful that the non-tatters passed on the books and supplies.  I'm sure the original owners would be thrilled that their tatting supplies are being enjoyed and the art is being shared and passed on.  

I'm also the proud owner of a T.A.T. Phase II binder (but not proud of the fact that I haven't been working on it.)  Amazed, however, that I've come this far with the internet!  

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.  What's YOUR story?


  1. Great fun to read your story! Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Hi Cindy!
    That's a great story! It is so interesting to me that many of the stories I am reading about how people came to tat involve years of trying or breaks with the art of tatting and returns to it prompted by the internet. We really are lucky to have the online tatting community! It's inspiring and encouraging!

    :) Ann

  3. Hi! The short version of my story is that I had that little green how-to book (put out by Coats and Clarks, I think). I had learned to crochet from it and to knit from a neighbor, and it seems a waste to not use the pages that explained how to tat, so I did. It probably helped that I had also learned some macrame somewhere, so for some reason knots did not baffle me too much. Thanks for sharing!


Thanks for your thoughts - I read and appreciate every one!