Both Carol Bryant and Dea Pyle demonstrated their tatting talents and displayed samples of their work at Pioneer Town during Heritage Day.
Bryant tells, "I started tatting in the '60s because my mother-in-law told me I couldn't do it.
I'd had polio as a young girl and it affected my left hand."
She bought a book, shuttle and thread and taught herself to tat. It was a challenge, but she had the will and found a way. That hand is still weak. Tatting has become one of her favorite pastimes. She finds it easier to copy from other tatters' work, rather than follow directions from printed patterns. She collects items tatted by others. Family and friends find samples of tatting to add to her growing collection.
Dea Pyle learned to tat at the side of Mary Kiser's step-mother when she came to visit from Southern California. "I watched her tatting and thought it looked so cool!"
She wasn't too encouraging and said, "Oh, I don't know, there aren't too many people who learn to tat. It takes a lot of patience."
"I told her that if she had the patience to teach me, I really wanted to learn. She would show me a bit, I'd work on it, then I'd go down and she would show me some more. She would go back to California in the winter and when she retuned, I'd have questions and she would help some more. That was about 35 years ago."
Pyle has taught others to tat, women from her church. "I teach with a much larger thread than is normally used. That way you can see how theknot is forming. If a mistake is made, it is not unraveled, it's cut off and a new thread added. An advantage is that when laid aside you don't loose stitches; the last stitch is a knot."
Tatting is a form of lacework that consists of looping and knotting threads into rings, ovals and chains. Tatted pieces are delicate in appearance, though are very strong because it's made up of a series of knots. Double half hitch knots are used. Boy Scouts would know the knot. That's what tatting is, a series of double half hitch knots, a knot that slips and can be drawn up tight.
Tatting is believed to have evolved from knotting, a series of knots on thread reassembling a string of pearls. Later, a series of the knots were tied together to form a loop and became the basis for tatting.
Queen Mary knotted thread when riding in her coach. Her Majesty Queen Marie of Romania tatted many items for the church using gold threads and adding jewels.
Elaborate shuttles of ivory and tortoiseshell decorated with jewels, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, gold and silver became very popular with ladies of the Court.
Forms of early tatting were done in Egypt and China spreading to the Netherlands and throughout Europe. Colonists brought tatting to America.
Popularity grew as women's magazines began publishing patterns, though interest declined following World War II. Now, tatting is one of the 'new' old crafts beingrevived as patterns have evolved to include ornaments and decorations beyond hankie trims, collars and doilies.
There are three methods of tatting; the shuttle, finger tatting, and needle tatting. Shuttle is the most widely known and also considered the most difficult to learn. Some elderly ladies do finger tatting. The most recently revived is needle tatting.
Today the trend in tatting is to work with heavier threads. It is quicker and easier to teach and learn the art. Also it is in keeping with the more contemporary look of today's fashions and home décor.
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