Monday, May 17, 2010

Melody’s Tatting

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Melody and Stinson

This is my friend Melody and her darling little dog Stinson.  I recently met Melody through a mutual friend of ours who put us together through our interest in tatting.  In case you are a first time visitor and do not know what tatting is, its basically a type of lace making using knots achieved by using either shuttles (made of plastic, wood, metal and shaped like an eye) or it can also be done using a long needle or even your fingers.  It takes a bit of patience to learn and you must develop a love of UN-doing little teensy knots.  If you did not like sorting out your shoelaces (before velcro came along) as a kid, then chances are tatting won’t be for you.  But, if you like a beautiful craft which lends itself well to travelling, is inexpensive and is very elegant then I’d suggest you give it a try. 

I learned my VERY basics from searching YouTube, but spent two months trying to do “the flip” – an essential little manoeuvre best seen in real life, first hand – trust me.  For the two months that I was YouTube-ing it, I had it all down except that “flip” and it meant that I had little piles of thread hanging all over the house, tired eyes and sore fingers.  Then, my Mr took me to the Shuttlbebirds workshop in Spokane and I took a beginner’s class, got “the flip” down pat and have been going ever since.  Then, I met Melody and she has been kind enough to work with me ever since. 

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Melody’s First Doily

I mentioned in my last post that I would “interview” Melody as I did Krystle as Melody has been tatting in a traditional fashion for years upon years – here’s what she had to say:

What age were you when you learned to tat and how did you find out about it?

“I was 20 and I lived on the farm with my husband.  It was 1978, we had been married for two years and there was a lady’s group and we would meet for tea once a month.  This elderly lady, she was almost 90, said ‘I’ll teach you girls how to tat – bring some heavy crochet thread and the first thing we will do is finger tatting.’  So she did that for two months and then she handed each of us five ladies a shuttle and by the end of four months we each had a doily made out of this heavy thread.” 

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What is the favourite thing you have ever made?

“I made a rectangle doily for my Sister in Law, it was white and it was the first big pattern I made.  I’ll bet you it was about 16 x 20 inches.  I stretched it and pinned it to shape – it took me almost 400 pins!”

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Was there ever a project that messed up on you?

“Oh yes, it was one Christmas and I was trying to put some tatting on some Christmas Ball decorations, and I could get the top done, but I could never get the bottom and I simply gave up!”

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You told me you learned to tat, then you put it away for a few years, what got you started again?

“Just decided to do ‘something different’ one evening and I’ve been going ever since. I just do it when I’m in the mood for it. ”

What is your favourite kind of shuttle to work with?   Has anyone given you a shuttle?

“I had an aunt give me a shuttle once, it was a silver metal one with a really, really pointy pick on the front and it was one you had to twist open and wind the thread around and then twist it shut.  I’ve got it here, I’ve used it, but I don’t know where it is in the house.  Generally I use the inexpensive WalMart ones and I have a lot of them so that I can work on several projects at once.”

Do you have a piece of advice for anybody who’s already a tatter or thinking of taking it up?

“CHECK YOUR RINGS – before you close them.  Its almost impossible to re-open them after closing them off.  A few moments to check them over can save you grief and time later.” 


So, you can see that though tatting is a time tested craft, its also very flexible (re: Krystle’s jewellery making)  and that is the direction I plan to take myself.  I’ve always had an eye for little bits of the older jewellery – brooches and earrings, particularly fond of the aurora borealis items.  I hope to learn to incorporate some of these pieces into new creations.  Here are a couple of the small projects I’ve completed.

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  I took this denim apron -        melody_tat (8)

added on some simple daisies, put a bead inside each one…

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Daisies are the first thing I learned to tat!

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Such a simple little decoration can turn an ordinary item into something pretty!

I gave this to my Sister in Law Judy for her LAST YEAR’S birthday present as I’d put the apron away and LOST it… guess it was meant to have some tatting put on it?

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Fun Little Beaded Bracelet


I salvaged this stone from an old broken necklace.

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It worked in nicely with the pretty green thread.  I did not follow any pattern, just made it up as I went along.  I have a million ideas brewing in my mind.  I’ll keep you updated!


  1. Very Beautiful Sis :).


  2. Good evening Barb:)
    WOW..your tatting looks great! :) Sounds like a lot of fun.I prolly wouldn't be able to do it since I would prolly have knots everywhere and I never liked undoing my knotted shoestrings.hehe My eyes aren't as good as they use to be either and they get blurred if I have to look at tiny stuff for very long.I gave up crocheting doilies mainly because of that.That's
    Hope you had a fantastic weekend.It's sooo nice knowing you have found something that you really enjoy doing.Have fun!!:)

    Love and hugs,

  3. yes I love my tat daisy on my apron...Barb you are so talented. It is neat you have met so many ladies in your area that know tatting. Have a great week.

    Chat really soon


  4. How fun! Thanks for sharing a little bit of your tatting journey! Come on over to my tatting blog if you wanna let me share some of mine with you!
    ~TattingChic ♥

  5. You guys are amazing. I can only imagine how much work this is and really admire your patience for making the beautiful pieces! But........this is definitely not for me. I would never be able to finish a project.
    You go girl!

  6. Beautiful projects friend! I think you should get some of those jewelery pieces & embellished thingies made up in time for the farmer's markets this summer.

    I hope you're happily tatting away watching the rain on this soppy soggy sploshy day. My lawn & gardens are thankful, my little boy is rather bored! Oh well, its an inside & watch movies sorta day!


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