It all started a couple weeks ago when a friend started pinning tatting things on her Pinterest board. Lacy, pretty tatting. Yep, I totally blame Anne.
I tried tatting years and years ago, and never got very far. At the time, I was more interested in crochet and cross-stitch, and found tatting non-intuitive and hard, plus it made my hands hurt. I think I did one little motif each in shuttle tatting and needle tatting, then scurried back to crochet.
But then all those pins showed up on Pinterest, and I looked at more, and watched a ton of videos on YouTube, and then finally I had to go find the bag with my old tatting stuff in it. I am nothing if not obsessive.
That first night I started a collar edging pattern, which may become a doily since it's curving so much. It uses two shuttles and two colors and this time something just clicked! I was doing it!
It still made my hands tired, but not as much as I remembered.
Emma was curious about what I was doing, so I made these two little motifs to show her how it works. Actually, I made the first one but then saw that I made a mistake after it was done, so I had to make a second just for my own peace of mind. They are destined to get small crystals in the middle, and will be hung as suncatchers in Emma's bedroom window.
After I did those, I had a little thread left on the shuttle but not enough to make anything big, so I made two sets of earring dangles.
Then after that, I made a butterfly for Emma. She thought that was pretty cool, and requested a second butterfly so she could make earrings out of these, too.
Then I started a small doily from this pattern. Not too big, so it won't get overwhelming, plus it's a snowflake!
I got halfway through that, then Emma said she wanted to learn to tat. She didn't want to try the shuttles, though (all that hand waving and funny finger positions!), and thought that needle tatting looked much more manageable.
So off I went to YouTube again, for a refresher course in needle tatting before I tried to teach Emma.
I landed on this series, and before I knew it, it was 1:00 in the morning and I had three of the five rounds completed. It's not blocked yet, just lightly pressed for photographic purposes, so that's why it's a little wobbly.
The next night I sat down with Emma to show her how it works, but then the neighbor kids came home from vacation and she ditched me to go play with them. Ah well.
I learned how to make needle tatted interlocking rings to console myself.
That same night, I also watched this video on making needle tatted earrings. Emma claimed these when she came home at bedtime; they need to be blocked and stiffened, but she's already worn them once.
Since the green earrings were needle tatted, I decided to try the same pattern with shuttle tatting to see the difference between the two. Both the green and white threads are #10 crochet cotton.
Shuttle tatting gives a firmer product, and to my eye at least, is much tidier and pleasing. Having to draw the needle through the stitches means that the stitches in needle tatting are necessarily looser and larger.
Since the pattern was pretty easy and I had it memorized after three repetitions, I decided to venture finer than #10 thread for the first time. And what the heck, I'll try adding beads for the first time, too!
These earrings are made with #30 crochet cotton and #11 seed beads, shuttle tatted. Again, not blocked yet. And again, already claimed by Emma.
And here's a comparison between #10 crochet cotton and #30. Same pattern, both shuttle tatted.
Since the #30 tatting was successful, I decided to just go for it and try some tatting cotton, size #80 thread. This is very slightly thicker than regular sewing thread.
I'm just making this design up as I go along, and so far it's a great success! There will eventually be a fine fabric insertion in the center of the doily. I'm using some vintage Star tatting thread that was my grandmother's, and which has been in my stash for decades. I'm very much enjoying it.
I've always been vaguely disappointed in myself that I never got the hang of tatting, and one of my bucket list items has always been to tat a large doily in very fine thread. To know that it's within the realm of possibility is very satisfying.