Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Smitten With - TATTING!

Some time ago a friend who attends the Learning Centre showed me a tatting shuttle she had "inherited" from an Aunt - and upon that shuttle were a string of sweet little daisies on a chain and I was instantly smitten.  They were so cute and perfectly symmetrical and I had visions of what a beautiful element they would be to add onto greeting cards.  So, I went in search of shuttles and information.

My search for information was very simple - there are many great resources on youtube and instructional sites, but my search for shuttles, for the first three weeks was entirely fruitless!  Though tatting is enjoying a resurgence its still not mainstream and unless one had a granny/aunt or looked in vintage shops it was difficult to find one.  I'd about given up, having put feelers out to many different people for me as well when all of a sudden shuttles started turning up.  It was generally via a "friend of an aunt" or something like that - and the thrift stores would "mine" some of their elderly lady contacts and they would go looking in a closet or storage and lo and behold shuttles began to come out of the dark.  I now have something like 9.  I have two metal vintage ones, several plastic long ones and even a few inexpensive ones it turns out that WalMart sells for very inexpensive.

Well, now (this is something like three months ago) that I had gathered the supplies, as crochet thread is suitable and plentiful and cheap, I now began to 'tat' using the resources I had available.

I only ever managed to get a few rings and picots done and then I would not be able to proceed.  I suspected there was always the elusive little bit of vital information and I never got past a few rings.  I had piles and piles and PILES of thread all over the house.  I agonized and spent countless hours hunched over my work, but there was always "something missing"

I asked all round our local area but could not find anyone who tats.  I even had some wonderful people offer to try to help me via email but I knew I had to SEE it, to GET it.

Then my friend Melanie found me a chit from a bulletin board just across the border and it had not only a website, but information on an entire Tatting Workshop!  My sweet husband, who speaks my love language signed me up for one day of beginner classes  and that's where you would have found me this past weekend.
The workshop was themed - "Sand and Sea" and took place in Spokane, Washington.  I'd estimate there were about 70-80 people and many vendors.  It was hosted by the Shuttlebirds, a Tatting group and they did an EXCELLENT job of it.  Very professional while at the same time fun and friendly.  Here are some photos and details from this weekend.  I will begin with some of the gorgeous work on display so you get a sense of what tatting is.  The Tatting Days and Workshop was put on by the Shuttlebirds Tatting Guild.

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Most of you will recognise tatting for the fabulous doilies and tablecloths which tatting creates.  Looking at work like this sets my head to spinning trying to imagine the hours it took to create it! 

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Beautiful, colourful, intricate.

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A beautiful cross bookmark.

And along with the Sea and Sand theme there were displays which tatters had challenged themselves to come up with items reflecting that thought (which we got to vote on our favorite!)

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I thought these to be stunning - tatted versions of shells!

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Saucy little seahorses.

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And a whole fishing net full of treasures.  Amazing!

And tatting is not confined to 2-D, here are some wonderful examples of 3-D items:

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A tatted rose.

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A whole tatted pot of flowers (very tiny, this is probably 3 inches high)

And beads can be worked into tatting to make jewellery:


Some people even tat using wire.  One can make earrings, bracelets etc.

Now, about the convention - as I mentioned there were about 70 people there (will confirm this in the future) and the ages, though most were older women, there was one man and a few young ladies.

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This is Krystal - the photo does her no justice, and I did have a video which I somehow managed to corrupt *sigh*  She's already been tatting for about 5 years.  You can visit Krystle's blog site HERE.


Here she has tatted around rhinestones for her necklace and bracelet.

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And also decorated her flip flops - how clever!

Some people are so passionate about their tatting ...

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(Those are shuttles on the socks)

My Mr. had booked me in for breakfast and lunch (he even hung in at breakfast with me to get me over being shy) and here are a few shots of this:

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As you can see, there are little 'boxes' on the tables and flip-flops decorated with shells going along with the Sand and Sea theme.

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The 'box' is a fold up, made of wallpaper which when folded out is made to hold your ball of thread from rolling away on you.  Good idea!  There were an assortment of goodies inside from all the vendors, really lovely items.  This was the lunch time ones.


This was what we were given on the breakfast table.  I was so impressed - the vendors really did give away a lot of stuff to us!  The breakfast and lunch were very tasty indeed!

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This is Lois - instructor for my beginner's class.  An icon of patience, she had five of us and though there were some tense moments (really, who could know mere threads could reduce one to frazzledness!)  she saw us all through to not only knowing the basics of double stitches, chains, working with two shuttles, but also to begin our own first project and also dispensing a whole lot of wonderful advice as well.

Here are some random photos from the class.

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Shuttle and threads ready to go.

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Getting the shuttles set up to do a "chain"

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Its SO helpful to have a real person show you how the threads should be etc!

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Debbie helped me choose out some good supplies for my first projects - you might like to check out her website to find out more about tatting and if you are smitten today, order the basics.  Tatting really is inexpensive, portable and beautiful!

It was so rewarding, I learned exactly what I had been doing wrong. I have a looooong way to go but have a good start.  I even won a few door prizes which had those next to me ooohing and ahhhhing! 


This lovely wooden shuttle crafted by David Reed Smith

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And these embroidery scissors as well.

And so it was a successful workshop indeed and I look forward to returning next year.  I have been tatting ever since, between other things and here are some samples of what I've been practicing at.

My First Project - A Simple Bookmark

As my instructor Lois told me, and I totally agree with her, one day I will look back and laugh at this poor effort!   But the point is - I DID it! 


This is my latest effort - this is SO teensy, these rings measure probably 1.5 inches across at the widest point.  Very delicate and ambitious but I am up to the challenge - I'll keep you "posted" (pun intended)

The trip to and from the convention is a whole other story - I will post on that next.

In case you might decide to try it yourself, here's a simple basic instruction video to give you a sense of what tatting is:


  1. Good morning Barb! :) i am soooooo impressed with you learning tatting!! i use to be able to pick up & learn ANY craft but tatting is something i just could never figure out!! i can crochet a lovely doily but not tat!! hehe GREAT fun!! Thanks so much for sharing!! :D Have a WONDERFUL day!!

  2. How fun, thanks for sharing the photos from the Shuttlebirds workshop. I didn't know Krystle cut her hair so short. I've seen her flip flops and necklace and bracelet on her blog. I'm glad she wore them to shuttlebirds. You took some awesome pics!
    ~TattingChic ♥

  3. It is always great to find a new skill - and what a well organised event!

    PS - Yeah - your blog is no longer crashing on me!

  4. Good afternoon Barb:)
    You GO girl!:) I have never tried tatting.I have seen it after the item was done but had never seen it being done.If I remember right ..my Mom told me that my Grandma tatted.:)
    I am like Shirley.I have made doilies ..crocheting..but not tatting.:)
    So happy to know you are learning a new skill and loving it!:)

    I agree..Great pics!!

    Love and hugs,

  5. My granny used to tat but my Mom never did so I've never tried it. Even watching the video, it looks kinda tricky. Anyway, I'm glad you are enjoying it. Always nice to learn a new skill ... and to get sent to a workshop ... too fun.

  6. Saw you were looking for my blog.... it's krystledawnetats.blogspot.com

    Great post about shuttlebirds! Wasn't it the best???!!!

  7. wow way to go Barb ...my mom has done some tatting...you did awesome and I know there will be more awesome stuff coming . Glad the Shuttlebird was so awesome and you got some camping in to.

    Chat to you later


  8. Wow! This is something I must attempt. (Attempt being the main word)

  9. Ahhh yes, tatting is such an art - nearly lost, isn't it? I remember my grammy (who died when I was 8) tatting!

    I have been intrigued, but not enough as to start it up yet.

    Don't show me too many pics or I just might. :)

    Love ya!~G


  10. Barbara,
    Thank you for all your very nice compliments on our Workshop. I'm so glad you enjoyed my class and had such a positive experience.

    It was a pleasure teaching you and the other ladies a craft that has brought me so much pleasure for almost 43 years. You were so determined to learn, it made teaching easy. Your first project is wonderful. I can't wait to see what else you will do.

    You know you can contact me anytime via email if you need help.


Your comments are a blessing to me!

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