I was recently given a vast collection of sewing materials and equipment that belonged to the neighbour of my mum’s friend. I was given them because she no longer sews in her old age, knew that I did from conversations with my mum and wanted her things to go to good use.
It was a very kind gift and the boxes were filled with some good sewing staples along with some incredibly interesting pieces. My stash of buttons is now burgeoning, I have a number of spare sewing and knitting needles, zips, and press studs now and a vast array of Silko threads which I love and all will come in very handy. Some of the more interesting things are these tatting shuttles. I’ve probably tried most crafts since I first became interested in making things as a kid but I have never tried Tatting before. I think I have seen it but was mistaken and thought it was crochetting.
Tatting, I now know, is a very durable form of lace created from knots and loops and can be done with needles or shuttles. The shuttles are small and look like weaving bobbins. The knotting and loops are worked by hand and must be incredibly fiddly. It would have been used for edging table cloths, antimacassars, table runners, collar decoration, doilies, handkerchief trimmings and a number of other decorations.
There are a number of theories on how the craft came about be it sailors forming decorative pieces for their loved ones while they were far away from home or simply a means of ladies keeping busy. I like the idea of it originating as decorative rope work by sailors as a way of staying busy at sea and as love tokens for their family on their return.
Tatting is obviously still alive and well as Asfina has a shop on Etsy where these amazing tatting christmas baubles came from, there is even a dedicated UK Website for Tatting supplies and there are sites that provide Tatting examples and instructions.
Although it seems to be thriving in the UK, it appears to be more popular in the USA and there are you tube instruction videos to help you on your way, an american lady is blogging about tatting so it is much more current than I was expecting. There is no doubt that it is very pretty and must be incredibly therapeutic to do. Some of the shuttles that are available are actually rather lovely too.
I’m so tempted to keep the threads and bobbins and give it a go but I already have so many things that I want to do with sewing and appliqué not to mention knitting and crocheting that I am reluctantly going to give them up and hope that I can find a home for them where they will be used with love to create more of these amazing decorations.