I took a tatting class at Stitch Your Art Out yesterday. Tatting is a hand craft for creating durable lace made by a series of loops and knots. Tatting isn’t very popular anymore, as lace became cheaper to purchase making it by hand became less and less common. This a craft that probably your great-grandmother use to do. So why did I want to learn how to do this? Well, for several years I’ve been attending The People’s Choice Arts Festival in Boalsburg, PA. There is an artist there, Elizabeth’s Lace that makes the most gorgeous tatted jewelry. I’ve never bought any because it was always a bit out of my price range…I learned yesterday why it was so expensive. I signed up for this class with hopes of making something like this necklace…I think I will start saving my money for the festival this year so I can buy some jewelry.
Our teacher’s name was Ruth and let me say this woman had the patience of a saint. In all our fumbling and messing up she never lost her smile. She is a new teacher at Stitch Your Art Out and I know she is going to make a great addition to the shop! Anyway, there are two forms of tatting, needle tatting or shuttle tatting which is what we were using. These are way prettier than the ones we used! Anyway, this art form was way harder than I ever expected and I have even more respect for it than I already did. Pretty much the shuttle has a bobbin in it that you might see in a a sewing machine and this is where the string comes from as you work. Also, the string you normally use is very fine, however we used a much heavier gauge for learning purposes. You then wrap the string around your hands in various ways and the loops and knots are created by passing the shuttle over and under various parts of the string in different sequences. The tricky part is not remembering when to go over and under with the shuttle but in manipulating your fingers to keep the thread tight enough and make the knot “pop” and ”flip” and slide down into line with the other knots in the right position. Here are a few pictures of Ruth our teacher tatting:
To give you an idea of how hard it was , in two hours I made 5 knots! What I mostly was successful at making was this pile of thread…
Most times it was easier to just cut what I had done when I messed up than sit there and try and use a needle to pick out my mistake. Here are my five knots I was successful at:
The way you know you did it right is if that loop you see there slides and you can make it bigger and smaller. I swear I was doing all the technique right and when I was done my loop still wouldn’t slide…every once in a while it would slide and I would let out a cheer for the whole shop to hear but mostly that didn’t happen. I’m pretty sure I got some sort of non-sliding thread or that I had my knots so tight they would slide….Ruth assures me that is not the case…I believe I will one day prove her wrong.
My teacher made a little inspiration for me to aspire to:
I have another class in two weeks…maybe by then I will make it to this level.
I had fun taking the class and I think it is important to not let these art forms die out so I plan on working till I get a basic grasp on the art but I don’t see me giving up my day job as a domestic engineer or my evening job as a knitting teacher to be a professional tatter.