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Sunday, November 11, 2007

A little Tatting history!

Jane Eborall recently blogged about her favorite doily (Nov 9th 2007).
Mmmm!! I thought, that looks familiar! So off I went at a run into my craft room to look at my doilies, fastened to my display board, where they have hung since 1985 when I took a demonstrators test.

Secured with bits of Scotch tape (ouch!) there was my doily. Amazingly the tape left no sticky marks at all and the doily was perfect.

Yes, indeed my doily did look exactly like the pattern that Jane shows, but Jane's own very frilly version looked very different. Here is my doily.

It looks pretty sensational to me, apart from the horrific little frayed knots that jump out at me. Tatted in a fine thread prob 60 it measure 9 inches. I guess I made this in about 1984, in the days of good eyesight and lots of patience!
Jane says that it is called 'Snowflakes' and is from Penelope Book 4.

By 1984 I was the proud owner of 2 shuttles and 4 tatting books, Coats Learn to Tat(nowhere to be found now!)Coats Learn Tatting (1088),Coats Tatting (919)and my absolute favorite The Craft Of Tatting by Bessie Attenborough.

I had never heard of Penelope Books until recently so where did I get that pattern? I wonder if I found tatting books in the library, that seems so unlikely.

Now given that I only ever tatted 3 doilies in my tatting life until this year (see earlier entry on doilies), it seemed pretty amazing that Jane and I should have made the same doily way back when!

I learned to tat in about 1958 from a school friend, using a vulcanite/hard rubber (I think)shuttle inherited probably from my great grandmother. That and my Learn to Tat book were my only tools until the 70's when I acquired a Milwards Shuttle and the two Coats leaflets in Ireland. These were riches indeed!

My very first doily must have been from Learn To Tat, I even made it again in pale blue (gosh we had colour!).

Again made in Coats Anchor Mercer 60 it measures 7 inches, and must date back to the 1960's.

My 3rd Doily is from The Craft Of Tatting, my copy is a reprint dated 1984 so I guess that is when I made the doily.

This has to be the biggest thing I ever made, in size 60 thread it measures a full 11 inches, wow. I can't believe I made this.

It was actually made for a test run under the Country Markets Produce and Craft Programme. The Tatting test required an article made entirely of tatting, an article trimmed with tatting and a sampler showing stitches and a variety of medallions.If one got an excellent in the test one could take the Demonstrator's Bar test which involved making a whole lot more visual aids and really knowing your stuff. I took these tests in 1984/5.

The award is called a 'Brannra'. The original brannra is a bread iron made by a Donegal blacksmith and was used to cook oatcakes in Irish country homes. This simple design stands for country craftsmanship at its best and was chosen by Country Markets as its sign and Test Award.

After that I went into tatting decline!! suffering from too much white! and a bad neck and shoulder 'till I looked up 'tatting' on the internet in 2003.

WOW!! how different is what I do now.

That's enough reminiscing for now. must get back to my challenge.


  1. There you go - tatting soulmates!!!! OR should that be 'great minds tat alike'?


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