Sunday, February 6, 2011


My Grandma (Mom's mom) tatted.
Her fingers flew!
She never used a printed pattern because she knew
how to make her tatted crosses by heart.
I don't remember her even pausing to count stitches.
She passed away when I was still too young to teach.
Over the years Mom and I talked many times
about Grandma's tatting and how her fingers flew.
I grew up and moved away from home.
Then on one visit, Mom brought me
Grandma's shuttles and her tatting.
I was so happy to have them!
More years passed.
Occasionally I would take out Grandma's tatting
to admire it and hold the shuttles
and just wonder,
"How in the world..."

Enter Carol Duvall.
Mom and I both watched her show.
One day there was a segment on needle tatting.
We were on the phone right after it aired, so EXCITED!
I got needles and thread and was ready to try...
but then I thought to do an internet search
and found instructions for
SHUTTLE TATTING just like Grandma!
(anyone need some brand new needles?)

In fact, I found SEVERAL tutorials on shuttle tatting,
but still was getting nowhere until one day I found yet ANOTHER and gave it a try...
I do not know who posted these instructions to the internet, but
On March 23, 2001, I FLIPPED for tatting!

I happily tatted away, making a few "Lacy Bookmarks."
I placed my first order from Handy Hands.
I made small motifs.
Mom was very proud and I was very happy...
but there was a problem.
After tatting for HOURS on some pretty little motifs,
I kept reading the instructions in my new tatting book,
but to no avail.
I found myself limited to certain patterns.
I was frustrated.
I gave up.

For several years
 I only picked up a shuttle 
to see if I could still make a ring.

About a year after Mom died,
I found myself revisiting things we both enjoyed or admired.
I began wanting to tat and turned once again to the Internet.
There I found Gina, Sherry, Jane, Fox, Jon and Tatting Chic.
I stalked them SHAMELESSLY!
And the more I stalked,
the more determined I became to tat again and better.
This time I felt as if I had a community of tatters cheering me on.

My AHA moment came on June 22, 2009.
With the help of my OTT magnifying lens,
I SAW how to make that dreaded final join
and there was MUCH rejoicing!
My fingers STILL don't fly - maybe they never will -
but I find that if I tat slowly and steadily, 
I ENJOY being in the race!


Happy Bluebird said...

Love your story :) Passing the art from one generation to the next (or skipping one) is so cool. I hope I get to do that someday!

Lace-lovin' Librarian ~ Diane said...

Great story! I never saw anyone tat, but I first became fascinated when I was in high school. I guess I'll have to find time to post my story today.

Carol Lawecki said...

Very nice story. How special that you have your Grandma's tatting shuttles.

Lelia said...

And you helped ME with the dreaded final join - I am grateful ; )

Always, L

Fox said...

Loved your tale!

And I get sooo much inspiration, tatting help and advice,from you, my very good tatting buddy!

Isn't it a lovely, creative environment we have, thanks to Internet travel?
♥ Fox : )

Isdihara said...

Wonderful, heart-swelling story!!

What would we all do without the tatting community, eh? I know I fell in instant-love after discovering Yahoo Groups (way back when the Internet was new) and started the first Tatting group (simply called Tatting) there. (Had to give it over to two other list-moms a few years later, due to work commitments, but that group still lives on today.)

You are an inspirational tatter and I, for one, are so very grateful for your tatting, your blog, and the sparkling personality you bring to both!

sewmuchfun4 said...

Thank you everyone, for your MORE THAN KIND comments! I SO appreciate how supportive and kind the online tatting community is.

In reading the "MY TATTING STORY" posts, I am noticing that tatting seems to draw people in and, in many cases, actually take YEARS to get past the basics. How lucky we are to have a group of people who understand to encourage and share with us!

:) Ann

Kathy Niklewicz said...

I enjoy reading others' tatting stories, and yours is quite fascinating. I'm so glad you mastered the shuttle - just like Grandma! A wonderful heritage!

It seems that knitters and crocheters (like myself) have very one-sentence stories for those crafts: "Grandma [or Mother] taught me" - or "I learned from a book."

But tatting is different. It's a highly emotional experience, usually takes awhile, and is remembered in detail!! And that's why I haven't written my story all the way through yet! I haven't found a way to condense it! LOL!

I'm lucky that even though it took me over 30 years to actually find someone who taught tatting (in 1989), I was shown how to do the 'untwisted' join right away, saving me all the trouble you experienced!

Martha said...

I love this story!

You're still young, and look how much you've accomplished in such a short period of time. When you have grandchildren, they're going to be watching you tat and your fingers will be flying just like Grandma.

Anonymous said...

That's really sweet, Ann!

I also really enjoyed seeing the photo of your grandma - I love looking at old photos!

Anonymous said...

Ann, what a beautiful story about your grandmother and how you finally learned to tat as she did.

I also am a new tatter. My Mom had given me my grandmother's tatting shuttle a few years back and I always wanted to be able to use it.

I had to go the needle tatting route first because I could not get the flip. But once I understood how tatting worked, I bought a How to Tat book with an instructional DVD, then I got the flip, and was finally off and running!

My fingers don't fly, either. But at least they work a lot more smoothly than they did at first!

I still don't use my grandmother's shuttle, though. It's metal, marks the thread, and flies out of my fingers. But it's a precious memory of why I wanted to learn to tat in the first place.


Gina said...

Somehow I missed your story but I'm delighted to know I was a part of your returning to tatting full force!