Keep­ing the tra­di­tion of tat­ting alive

Our Canada - - Crafty Canadians - by Bar­bara Wat­son, Up­per Musquodoboit, N. S.

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.

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