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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wedding Stuff Part 3b, Hankies and mum!

I  learned to tat in he late 1950's from a friend in school. She tells me that we were allowed to tat in our home economics class. I don't remember that, if fact I didn't even remember that she was the one who taught us.
I always had it in my mind that it must of been another of my friends....the real crafty one....I remember to my shame that she gave me a birthday present of two little tubes covered in linen with embroidery on the outside.
I was not impressed...I think I asked her what they were for!
They were meant to be for keeping hair grips in....I think.
I much preferred what my other friends gave, pretty notelets and teen age stuff.....oh how awful of me.
Now I would be so grateful that she took the trouble to make something especially for me.

What I do remember is coming home and telling mum that a friend was going to teach me to tat.
Imagine my surprise when she said that she thought she had a shuttle in her work box.

She never saw her mother use it so we can only assume that it must have been her great grandmother.

She found it and I can now identify it as hard rubber/vulcanite. It doesn't have the Novelty Rubber Company initials on it and I would imagine that it is British  made in the early 1900's.
I can tell that it is rubber as I get the smell of rubber when I rub it briskly.

This was my only shuttle for years and years, until probably the 1970's when I discovered Aero and Milward shuttles.

My mum????
She soon wanted to learn to tat too. People always assumed when they saw us tatting that she had taught me...but not so.
The funny thing was that she had to go out and buy a shuttle to use.
It was this little pink plastic one....
She tatted regularly or the next 40 years.
During that lifetime she only ever possessed three shuttles.
She only ever tatted edgings.
She never as far as I remember tatted
 a chain...I can't find evidence of a chain.
She never tatted with more that the one shuttle and she never tatted a motif.
She knew exactly what she liked to tat and edged endless hankies...which she used...they would go into the washing machine every week.
Sometimes she would tat an edging for a table cloth, or a tray cloth that she had embroidered.
She was still tatting at 89 when she died some 12 years ago. It kept her fingers supple and her mind occupied.
I have her little paper bag that she kept her tatting in,with her shuttles and the tatting that she was working on.
I have given away some of her hankies to special people and have about 12 left...some that she used so often they have holes in the material...but the tatting is perfect.

She really only did two different edgings, variations of the hens and chicks, and tatted in size 60 so good were her eyes.
My two favourite heirloom hankies of hers are...

I prefer the tatting in the second one, it has more definition.

I don't know where she got these hankies from they are heirloom quality.
Not only do we get beautiful hand embroidery...

...but also Drawn Thread Work and fancy filling stitches in he rectangular panel.


Well having given a hankie to daughter,
I thought that it would be nice to give one to daughter in law to be.  To have my son's grandmother represented at the wedding.
He will like that, hope she will too.

I chose one that fulfilled the something old, (made about 15-20 years ago), something new (it is) and something blue.....and this one filled the bill.
Maybe she is sentimental too!

I bet mum taught the angels how to tat!


  1. What a lovely way to have your Mum's hankie recycled. I'm sure she is watching over you and is pleased that you are sharing it with your new daughter-in-law. It certainly will be a very special part of the wedding.

  2. Those are beautiful hankies, and the story is heart-warming! I love the edgings, and I think it's wonderful that your mother was happy to tat endless edgings. What wonderful memories for all of you!

  3. Ah, another sentimental old fool; I am just about weeping as I read this!

    Your mom's hankies are beautiful and the one with the beautiful blue embroidery added is going to be most appreciated, I am certain. Very thoughtful gesture.

    I have some of my mom's hankies, and there are a few white ones with the same type of embroidery on them. I had to go and check if they were identical to yours, but they are not, though very, very close. I guess it was a popular style in the '40's.

    This was a special post - both to read and to look at.
    Fox : )

  4. That is such a great story about how you learned to tat and then your mum learned too. And such incredibly beautiful handkerchiefs!

    What a lucky girl your daughter-in-law is to be marrying into your family!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your mother's story. It really warmed my heart. Your son will be so pleased that you are sharing a part of his grandmother with his bride. You've found a very special way to honor your mother's memory as you welcome a new member to the family.

  6. I was actually thinking of your son when I read this - I think it will be very moving for him to see his own mother welcoming his bride into the family with a precious heirloom.

  7. So sweet! I hope DIL is as special as you are and that she appreciates you.

  8. My dear late MILOVE taught ME to use a washing machine, among other things; and as the first DIL in the family, I appreciated, loved, and learned from Viola the rest of our time together. I'm sure that your DIL will do the same. the adage I like is, "If you find a fruitful tree, sit under it's branches."

    The edgings are beautiful as are the hankies themselves. They just don't make lovely hankies like that much any longer; I'm sure they can be found...but who takes the time? I'm looking for a pretty manicure set; when I was a young girl the manicure sets came in little cases and each piece was engraved or made from an exotic material. All I can find now is stainless steel. Poo! I like pretty things that are also functional.

    BTW I straightened by bed side table (it tends to get cluttered) and noticed I had not removed a month since May, from the darling calendar you made for me, TatsKool. LOL

    hugs, BJ

  9. What a great post. Your mother's shuttles are lovely, and to have one of your great grandmothers is equally as special.

    Your new d-i-l is going to LOVE this.


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