Happy Tatt-iversary!

It’s two years since I started tatting. I absolutely can’t believe it – it has become so natural to tuck my little tatting bag into my handbag wherever I go.

Not that any of this was what I planned. What I wanted to do was learn how to knit. I could (very slowly) cast on and off, do plain and pearl and that was about it. Growing up, I had been handicapped by a wealth of knitting relatives. My mother, aunt and grand-mother, all clicking away.

I found it massively intimidating. In those days girls were taught knitting and sewing as part of the school curriculum and we were given regular projects to be completed at home.

Everything I did seemed to be wrong. My work would be taken out of my hands for someone to ‘show me’. I soon learnt to ask the nearest knitter to ‘show me’, and then pretend to watch attentively while my project was completed for me.

Fast forward a number of years. There’s no one left to ‘show me’, the shop’s notion of a jersey is a buttonless little wisp of nothing draped over the shoulders and I get cold. The library had a copy of Reader’s Digest ‘Complete Guide to Needlework’. I actually managed to get my knitting to an adequate level – two wearable jerseys! I’m not saying they’re beautiful, but they’re warm!

A little further on in the book is an article on lacemaking. Bobbin lace looks a little challenging, but that little shuttle thing doesn’t look too hard… Yes. Laugh away. It took me three days to get that first knot to slide. But I figured it out and kept going, making sliding knots, jammed knots, mistakes and tangles in just about equal portions.

Beginning Pieces

Beginning Pieces

The library also had Mary Konior’s ‘A Pattern Book of Tatting’ and Rhoda L Auld’s ‘Tatting – The Contemporary Art of Knotting With a Shuttle’. Two very different takes on tatting and I’m very grateful to both.

My first try with two shuttles

My first try with two shuttles

Then I actually found someone who used to tat. ‘Here, let me show you.’ Whoosh! Flash-back to all those disastrous knitting sessions. My brain just switches off when someone pushes my hands around, or takes my work away and ‘shows me’ so quickly that I can’t see what they’re doing. I think it’s why I can’t work with the online videos. I prefer to sit with a clear diagram and just keep trying until I get it. And I will. If nothing else, I’m too dumb to know when I’m beaten!

I don’t think anyone learns by just by watching someone else. They learn by doing. Making mistakes, fixing the mistakes, throwing away the tangles and starting again. And falling in love.

I’ve had three pieces I HAD to do from the minute I saw them. Anne Bruvold’s ‘Flying Minor Norwegian Dragon’, Ben Fikkert’s ‘Josephine Cross’ and Martha Ess’s ‘Shamrock Wreath’. I’ve done the first two, and am cursing my way through the third.

Not too bad for something I didn’t intend doing in the first place!

Mary Konior 'Goody Two Shoes' for my great-niece

Mary Konior ‘Goody Two Shoes’ for my great-niece

About notewords

Guitarist, Music teacher, Writer
This entry was posted in Challenges, Handwork, humor, Humour, Learning, Life, Memories, Motivation, Shuttle Tatting, Tatting, Teaching, work in progress and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Happy Tatt-iversary!

  1. Aww, happy tattiversary! It’s weird how addictive it is, isn’t it. I learnt from YouTube, watching videos very slowly. I’m trying to learn new knitting techniques the same way but currently feel like throwing it all in the bin!
    I love how portable tatting is though – I take mine everywhere too 🙂

  2. Clairinette says:

    Happy tattiversary! You must feel such an accomplishment at all your creations. You came a long way in two years. The learning curve might be steep, but if the bug bit, we will stick with it until success.
    I love the portability of tatting. Much more practical than knitting and crochet (not that I knit, and I don’t crochet much, especially since I discovered tatting).
    Enjoy and keep the shuttles busy. 🙂

  3. tattedtale says:

    Happy Tattiversary! I love those little boots. Tatting is the only needle craft (any craft for that matter) that I didn’t stop after the first month. It’s really addictive. I recently tried bobbin lace but find that there are just too many tools and they are not easily available in Malaysia.

  4. Crafty Di says:

    I tried to teach myself tatting a loooong time ago, I must have been in my early teens. I never got even remotely competent at it and never tried it again 😦 Must try again! I definitely love your finished items….very pretty!

    • notewords says:

      Thanks! It’s a lot of fun, although I will say it took me three days to get that first stitch to slide. 😉
      There are some great resources out there – everything from diagrams to YouTube videos.

      • Crafty Di says:

        Yes I have been thinking of giving it another try, I saw a lady making the most beautiful little butterflies. When I first tried to teach myself it was before Internet (gasp!) so yes there would be much more info available to me now. x

      • notewords says:

        Ah yes, pre-internet days… 😉

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