Thursday, March 26, 2009

learning to tat before the internet

I learned to tat about 25 years ago...I had a dress that had tatting on the cuffs and collar that did not fit from the time I got We all have that from our high school days....My mom gave it away!!!!!!!!! long before I wanted to get the beautiful lace off of it! I had searched and searched for a similar luck...when I asked her to think back to where she had gotten the lace she just laughed and said "Eloise made it." That put in motion a real challenge...Eloise lived in Missouri and we lived in southwest Colorado. Eloise was a l-o-n-g day's drive away. We tackled the drive with a 3 and 5 year old...we left home about 4 AM and got to Eloise's house about 6 PM......crazy way to get instructions on tatting...but we were on our way to Ashtabula Ohio--2 more days in the car to visit hubby's parents. After we took Eloise out to dinner then the tatting lesson began...She did not have any books just a shuttle and thread. Everything she had ever made she made up as she did it but she only had rings and picots...she called them loops and frills. I think I threw out at least a ball of crochet thread learning to tat...but learn I did. Eloise did not have any chains or joins and as far as split rings, split chains, and the host of other techniques she had not a one of them...nada. She did a loop with frills and then a short bare thread and another loop with frills and repeated it to the needed length.

One magical day probably 3 years later and bored with just rings with picots. I discovered / designed / stumbled across a connection aka I went with that joining the picots together that would naturally be side by side...I actually made a wreath! Snow white but it was a circle of rings. The the reason I call it a magical day...I had to refill my may have been a great big Tatsy shuttle ( I'd never seen tatting thread...size 80! I'd have panicked if someone had told me to use sewing thread to tat with! It can be done tho...try the glazed quilting thread makes beautiful angels... ) as I only had crochet thread for tatting with at that time. I picked up a the ball thread instead of my shuttle thread and looped it over my hand and proceeded to tat the next ring....boy was I shocked when I pulled it tight and zip it came out!! try pulling the shuttle thread on a chain that isn't hooked to was amazing to me at the time. Eloise always used a very long thread to tat with and that is how I learned... The magical moment of discovery...I now had 2 things to put together...a ring with picots connected to another ring with picots and a chain between. I didn't reverse work or anything at the time so it did look a bit odd. Every "pattern" I made until about 2 years ago came from my head. I'm not all that imaginative but that is where I got them....all of them...from my head. I'd never heard of tatting books/patterns. Of course if I had I wouldn't have invented joins and chains...

Georgia's Advanced tatting class was so far over my head...I didn't even understand what they were talking about and I'd been tatting for over 20 years...She suggested without pointing out how little I knew about tatting that I try the Beginning tatting class. I, wisely, kept my mouth shut that first day and was trying to figure out what they were talking about...rings, split rings, picots, up joins, lock all get the idea. Well the beginning class was such a relief...they started out as if no one knew anything and away we went.

I was back to the advanced class and downloading every pattern I could find before I knew it. I tried to give credit to the designer and list their address but on some I didn't...for that I apologize. I now have three 3 1/2 inch binders with patterns! I download everything I can find!..Now I make sure I have the designers name on it and the blog site or where ever I got it.

Peace, Cynthia


Liberty said...

What a neat story! Thanks for sharing it!

Jane Eborall said...

Interesting story. Imagine what it was like when I started tatting over 50 years ago!!!! It was a wilderness and people looked at me like I was a freak!!!!

AnneB said...

What a lovely story! Happy you discovered joining and chains and didn't have to wait for more than 20 years for those :-)

TattingChic said...

Hi Cynthia, Lovely story! I learned to tat 29 years ago! I was a closet tatter for many years because no one else that I knew of even knew what tatting was so I felt like a "freak" (kind of like what Jane mentioned, LOL!)

Hope you stop on by for my 1st Blogoversary/100th post celebration! I'm even having a giveaway! Do come on over! Everyone is invited!!! :)

tattrldy said...

Love your story. Isn't it amazing how the Internet has changed tatting? Even if you don't know a tatter face to face, in person, you have help and ideas a couple of clicks away. My mother-in-law today was surprised that I thought there were a lot of tatters out there because she only knows me and her mother who tatted.

Intarsia Bindoff said...

I enjoyed this story. I just recently joined the beginner tatting class. I've already been through one instruction dvd and finished a few small things but it is so fun. Before I found the dvd I wished I knew a tatter! It was so frustrating trying to figure it out. I was tatting backwards and didn't know it, I tatted lonely ring after lonely ring because I didn't know you were supposed to flip.

Anyway, I can't wait to see my work in 25 years.

Isdihara said...

I know you wrote this several months ago, but I just had to write to tell you how often I come back to this post and re-read your tatting story. It is such an inspiration!

Thank you for posting it.

If you would like to read my tatting story, I would be honored to share it with you. Go to my blog,

It is the very first post!

Traveling Square Dancers said...

What a great story!!! I tried to teach myself from a book many many years ago, but just got tied in knots, (literally). Then last fall, a friend asked if I would try to figure out needle tatting from a book she had... one evening, and I was in love...just an online search, and I'd found the beginners class, and the rest is history??? Now I'm into shuttle tatting, and trying to keep up with the Monday class. Don't think I'd have stayed with it without the internet and and all the great tatters online, though. How great to read your experiences, and your discovery on your own of so many techniques. Talk about dedication! Again, great story! --Yuma Tatter