AND SEW ON
Keeping the tradition of tatting alive
Tatting is the almost- lost art of creating fine lace by looping and knotting thread. All you need is a tatting shuttle and a ball of crochet thread. Tatting is not a simple craft. It is slow work that demands concentration. If a mistake is made, it must be unpicked or cut out. In the Victorian era, tatting gained great popularity. It was used to personalize everything from pillowcases and towels to tablecloths and hankies as well as doilies, ornaments and motifs. In addition, fancy lace collars and cuffs were made for clothing.
An older lady in the neighbourhood named Louise Logan taught me how to tat some years ago. She was talented at many crafts but when she explained tatting to me, it really captured my interest as I’d never heard of it before. So the lessons began. I was able to pick it up mainly by watching her hands work the shuttle and thread as we sat side by side. She made each chain, circle and picot (loop) neat and precise. She was wonderful at sharing her expertise and patterns with me. In fact, tatting is only one of many things I learned from Louise—she offered great tips and ideas on just about everything!
In her later years, when Louise’s eyesight began to fade, and her fingers stiffened up, tatting became more difficult for her but she never gave up on it. Sometimes, she’d need my help unpicking a mistake or working out a pattern. We used to joke to each other that this was the real reason she wanted me to learn how to tat in the first place.
Sadly, Louise passed away in November 2016 at the age of 95. She was a good friend and I miss her and the times we spent together, but I am pleased to say—and I know she would be, too—that her love and knowledge of tatting lives on.