Tuesday, March 1, 2016

When I First Learned to Tat

I intend to write a few posts to chronicle some of my past tatting projects.  I hope you won't be bored!

I first learned to tat in 1995.  Below is the box of tatting supplies that I have from that time.  One thing I liked about tatting is that the needed supplies were small and easy to travel with.

Below is the box of tatting that I made in 1995 and 1996.  I had a Coats & Clarks book or two -- not many patterns.  I had four metal shuttles -- one Boye, one Susan Bates, one Justrite, and one without any markings at all.  The Justright shuttle is interesting in that it is a post shuttle and it twists apart so that thread can be wound around the post.  The other three use bobbins.

You may notice dark spots on some of the tatted motifs.  I didn't have the benefit of the fabulous tatting community that exists on the internet today.  Resources and information about tatting were hard to come by.  So I was stumped as to how to handle the thread ends.  

My solution was to knot the ends (probably a square knot) and then dab the knot with Fray Check.  Over time, the Fray Check has yellowed and darkened.

Please learn from my mistake!  My advice is to be very careful about anything that you apply to your tatting, or other creations.  Be sure the product is acid-free and archivally safe.

I enjoyed making these little squares. I made a number of them with J&P Coats Tatting-Crochet thread, color 13-C, which I believe is size 80. But I observed that each one was just under 3/4" square, and it took me about 45 minutes to make.  After awhile, I wanted to make something that progressed more quickly.  

Also, I didn't know what to do with my little squares.  I didn't feel the need for doilies... I thought the squares would be nice sewn onto something, such as a white linen blouse.  But thinking about it was as far as I got.

My tatting was set aside for other crafts.  

(To be continued...)


  1. This little squares are so cute !!!! do you have a pattern??

    1. Thanks for your comment. :)
      According to a note that I had with the tatting, this is the pattern for the Square Motif:

      Need 1 shuttle & ball thread, CTM (unless you wish to use 2 colors...)
      * R1: 6-+2-2-4.
      R2: 4+; (2-)x4; 4.
      R3: 4+2-2-6. RW.
      Ch: 4-+4. RW.

      ( -+ means make a picot the first time, make a join on the repeats.)
      Repeat from *. Join last ring to first ring.

      I think it is a fairly common motif.

    2. This motif is from Forty Original Designs in Tatting By Nellie Hall Youngburg Pattern #13 , 1921.
      There is an ongoing (almost complete now) project at www.georgiaseitz.com to rewrite/modernize these vintage patterns.

    3. Thanks for the tip, muskaan!
      I checked Nellie's pattern. Her motif looks much the same, but her stitch counts are different and her rings are all the same size.

  2. Very interesting. I've been using fabric glue only for the last couple of years. Need to see whether it is acidfree.
    Most of my tatting was sewn on (motifs, edgings, laces for gifting & few for self), but when my collection grew, I stopped tatting , not knowing what to do with that stash ;-) Restarted in late 2013.

    1. muskaan, I have been using Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive to attach some of my tatting samples to pages that I put in a binder. It says it is "Photo Safe and Acid Free." It is sold with the scrapbooking supplies, so I hope it is safe long-term.

  3. Thanks for sharing your beginning adventures in tatting. It's interesting that the Fray Check has darkened so. I, too, started with nothing but Fray Check. My tatting teacher used it, too. We both learned early about acid, though, and have stored ours in acid free containers. Neither of us has had a problem with darkening at all over the years and some of mine are as old as 22 years; Barbara has some that are older still. I wonder if exposure to acid in the storage container may make a difference. I confess I still use it on practice pieces sometimes, but it is worth it to take the time to hide ends with a better method.

    1. Good point, Eliz! I had not thought about acid in the storage container making a difference. Perhaps humidity can play a role, too.

  4. Your tatting is lovely. I have spots on my earlier tatting, too - Fray Check - my area is pretty humid most of the year. Now I handle ends *very* differently from the way I did it in the beginning.