Friday, June 25, 2010

Feature Friday: Tatting

My introduction to tatting goes back quite a few years, to my mother's aunt.  No, she didn't teach me to tatt.  In fact, as far as I can remember, I only met her once.  My great-aunt lived on the family home stead several hours drive away, and the one trip I remember my parents taking me along to visit her, I was too young for much of it to stick with me.  I remember parts of the drive.  I remember her showing me her spinning wheel and demonstrating how to use it, then coming back to it later on my own and giving it a try.  It stopped working for some reason and, afraid that I'd broken it, I quickly left!  I have only the vaguest memories of what she looked like.

When my great-aunt died, my mother found herself with a number of items her aunt had made, as well as some of her materials.  I had taken up embroidery by then, so when my mother found a couple of small boxes of embroidery floss, she gave them to me. I greatly appreciated the gift, and used some of the silk threads to embrioder a vest for my daughters.  I still have it, along with another I'd made.  Who knows - maybe some day, they'll be passed on to my future grandchildren, and they'll be wearing tiny vests embroidered with threads that belonged to their great-great-great-aunt!

Mixed in the the skeins of floss were two strange looking tools I'd never seen before.

Tatting shuttles

Looking through my craft books, I discovered they were tatting shuttles. Being the curious sort, I tried my hand at it.  The bit of tatting you can see at the top of the photo is about as far as I got! *L*

Tatting shuttles

Although the silver shuttle was quite lovely, it was the plastic one that I found the most useable.  The longer, upturned point made it easier to work the thread around itself and could be used to join loops in picots instead of a crochet hook.

I made many attempts to tatt.  The only knot I was able to master was the half knot.  For those who embroider, a half knot is a lot like doing a buttonhole stitch around a loop of thread.  I was able to do a double knot well enough, but I kept loosing track of which one I was supposed to be making in the pattern!

One of the difficulties with the old shuttles was loading them with thread.  Modern shuttles have solved that problem.

Tatting shuttles

I picked up this shuttle with a spare bobbin and built in hook at a Walmart, I think.  I actually broke it out of its packaging for the first time today and gave it a try.  I was able to do one loop well enough, but am totally mixed up on doing the next one.  I definitly need to practise it more.  The new shuttle is certainly easier to work with than the old shuttles my great-aunt used.

Somehow, though, it's not quite as satisfying.


Erin said...

Out of curiosity, was it a Wal-mart in Edmonton where you found the tatting shuttle in your last photo? I'm curious because I would like to try tatting but can`t for the life of me find a place that has tatting supplies.

Anna said...

I have seen them at Wal-mart, but I bought this one at a Michaels.

Niladri said...

Where can I buy a Tatting needle in Edmonton? Michaels don't carry them.

Anna said...

I think it's just a matter of timing as to whether they are in stock or not. I have seen them at both Walmart and Michaels.