• 20Jun
    Categories: tatting Comments: 4

    tatting collage     

    When I think about my great-grandmother, I think of these three things:  tatting, quilting, and canning.  She lived in a rural Illinois town and lived through the depression.  She had a make-do-with-what-you-have attitude, and did not buy something unless absolutely necessary.  She kept a large garden into her 90’s and canned vegetables and homemade jellies.  Elderberry jelly was her specialty.  I still cannot find one that tastes as good as hers.  Sadly, we were separated by a distance that made it hard for me to see her often enough.  Even though she died when I was in my 20’s, I did not learn these skills from her. 

    I do not remember seeing my great-grandmother being idle.  when she sat, she was seated at her quilting frame or tatting.  When I grew up, I had a quilt she had made on my bed.  I had another that was a gift when I was born.  Sadly, the one from my bed was old and did not survive.  My baby quilt was made from fabric that is at least 70 years old and is very delicate; the edges are frayed and the print is very faded, but I still love it.  Before she died, she spent several years tatting a very large table cloth that was absolutely beautiful.  She had cataracts then, and her eyes were not very good, so there were some flaws.  This beautiful tablecloth is MIA.

    I very much wanted to learn these skills that neither my grandmother nor mother had learned.  My great-grandmother had passed away before I learned.  My husband knew of my desire to learn to tat, so he even purchased my first tatting shuttle on Ebay as an encouragement for me to learn.  Several years ago I found a stitching shop that offered tatting classes, and I was so excited to learn.  My sister Pink also took the class with me, and we have been “mad tatters” ever since.  The above picture is a sampling of some of the doilies, bookmarks, and Christmas ornaments I have made.

    I really enjoy tatting, it is quite relaxing.  I enjoy being able to create something beautiful out of something as simple as thread.  I enjoy being part of the history of lacemaking which stretches back centuries.  I enjoy mastering a domestic art that reminds me of my great-grandmother. 

    I also learned to hand piece and hand quilt, although I have not done a lot of it.  I do not have a sewing machine, but I do want one.  Then I would like to do the piecing by machine, but still quilt the top by hand.

    Today, I read in Tammy’s post about how to make strawberry jam, and it inspired me.  Canning may be in my future yet…

4 Comments to My Great-grandmother’s Legacy

  • Hi Heather! Your site is lovely and I registered just so I could post comments. =)

    All that tatting is absolutely beautiful! My great grandma sounds a lot like your grandma, always busy doing something!

  • Tammy,

    Thank you for the compliment on my tatting. A while back I saw some tatting that you did on your site and I thought it was beautiful as well.

  • I love to tat as well. I was taught by a close family friend two years ago and made multitudes of butterflies that I arranged in photo frames for a pretty wall hanging.

    I even entered a bright variegated yellow doily in a flowers pattern in the State Fair competition, but it wasn’t very good as it was my first few months of tatting and well, at least I entered it. 🙂

    Keep on tatting. I’ve taught four friends how to tat so that the art keeps getting passed around.

  • Hi Heather–I am completely smitten with the square doily with the pineapple motif in the upper right corner of the picture of your grandmother’s tatting. Is there any chance that you could make a high resolution scan of it and send it to me so I can work out the stitch counts? Or do you perhaps know the published source that your grandmother would have used to make it? Is it straight tatting or cro-tatting?
    I hope to hear back from you!

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