Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Tatting Trials...(Part I)

Recently my Mum gave me a little flat box (the kind that cotton handkerchiefs used to be gift boxed in) which had inside several layers of my Nan's beautiful 'tatting' handiwork.  I just have to show you some of it!  

Tatting was often used as an edging for household linens
My nan was a great crafter and always had a project or two on the go. One of my best memories are of my dolls being kitted out with new dresses, cloaks, hats and the like.   Many a technique for this & that was shown to me as a child - some of which I learnt and still use to this day and some of which didn't quite sink in.... like tatting. 

       I'm not sure what these little pieces were to become but, with Christmas coming, they remind me of snowflakes!

 I clearly remember my Nan trying to teach me with some fine thread and a shuttle but for some reason I just couldn't get to grips with it and I think it was one of the rare times we both got a little frustrated!  I guess you could say it is almost the-craft-that-got-away but I do not give up easily so it has become more of a challenge.... a sort of quest to 'learn & conquer' that I return to every now and then.  Having looked through my Nan's work again, I'm not sure I will ever be able to create intricate pieces like this beautiful collar though...

tatted collar
This must have taken hours and hours and hours of work!

tatting collar
I had to zoom in on the edging of the collar to try and show you the neat, teeny-tiny 'picot' loops - and they are in a scalloped, double row formation!
Tatting is primarily a form of lace making that became more popular during the 19th Century.  You basically make a series of knots & loops, with or without a 'shuttle', and it was frequently used to create pretty edgings for cloths, collars & cuffs or used on it's own to make things like pretty doillies. I've been told that an Aunt of mine taught my Nan how to 'tat' when she was laid up in hospital with not much else to do.  Well, all I can say is she was taught well and must have had a lot of time to practise because her work was exquisite as you can see in these pictures!

This collar is amazingly delicate! I wonder what it was for....

tatting picots
(close up view)
These gloves belonged to my Mum, lovingly embellished by her Mum with some fine lacy tatting in a colour that blends so well with the gloves you'd think they were made like it! Mum says she used to wear them all the time and even though they fit me now and it's tempting, I won't be wearing them for fear of wear & tear.  I am thinking they might look good in some sort of frame which would help keep them from deteriorating and they could then become an heirloom for my daughter.

tatting embellished gloves

                                                      (Close up of gloves detail)

I have to say I almost don't want to show you any of my tatting now because I really am not up to standard but then, we all start somewhere and after I finally got to grips with the basic shuttle technique (hooray!) I made some teeny-tiny picot loops like this...

At least the picots are all of a similar size...

...and because when I'm learning something new I can get slightly impatient to just see something finished....I made a pair of simple tat earrings like this

tatted earrings
Not bad for a learner?

Have you tried tatting - I'd love to hear about it?   It is something I am determined to improve on so bear with me and I'll let you know how it goes... 



  1. Found it! Mel, your nans work is exquisite! I love your earrings, you can see how the talent has worked its way through the generations, I enjoyed reading your blog, thank you so much for sharing your story!

    1. Thanks Caron - I am glad you found it and enjoyed it! Do you think you will give it a go?

  2. Oh wow, your Nan's work is stunning, how lucky you are to have such beautiful heirlooms.

  3. I was wondering if I could have this pattern to make for my mom. I have been looking for a beautiful collar for her and I know she would love this one. I just began to tat in feb of this year.

    1. Ahh - thanks for asking. I wish I had the pattern to share with you - sadly I only have the collar made by my Nan many years ago. Good on you for learning tat - I haven't done any in a while and really should before I get too rusty!