An air of expectation preceded this workshop, which was tutored by Katy from the Channel Islands. For many participants tatting was not a new craft but one they were keen to revisit. Other members admitted to tatting being on their ‘to learn’ list, while a surprising number possessed inherited tatting materials and were eager to know how these could be used.
Tatting, worked with a shuttle, is believed to have evolved from knotting and existed as a craft at least as early as the 17th century. Traditional items, such as edgings, doilies, collars and bonnets were made but a revival in the craft of tatting has seen its use extended to a variety of projects, limited only by one’s imagination, as shown in this colourful example, Ros Atkins (Dorchester, Dorset) combined beads into tatted lace motifs, which were then attached to hair clips.
Once equipped with shuttles and thread everyone was ready to work through the four-week programme.
This encompassed the basic stitch, chains, picots, rings, reading patterns, simple motifs, tips and an opportunity to experiment.
After a gap of about 50 years, Ros Atkins (Dorset) used her original Aero shuttle to revise the double stitch.
“This was a very well presented and enjoyable workshop. I especially like the contained and portable nature of the craft. I am able to use the threads that I already have for Dorset button making and my only purchase was a couple of extra shuttles. I can’t see I’ll ever make a doily(!) but am enjoying using the skills I’ve learnt in a contemporary way making earrings and hair accessories.”
Paola Manzini from Edinburgh perfected the ‘flip’ fairly quickly and became addicted to tatting.
Her success is evident in her split chain practice sample.
“I enjoyed the workshop enormously. The instructor was exceedingly clear, prompt and helpful. She managed to transmit a love for tatting which meant that I am now tackling my very first tatted garment (a lace top), while until the workshop started I did not even know what the word “tatting” meant! Indeed, my deepest thanks to the Online Guild for organising this and all of the other workshops!”
Once the basic stitch had been mastered, participants were guided through the techniques required for making flower and butterfly bookmarks, stars and snowflakes. Chains, picots and rings were perfected, with correspondence revealing everyone’s enthusiasm and sense of achievement.
Sally Dopson from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire shared a photo showing a variety of samples which demonstrated a range of
tatting skills. Sally found the activity relaxing and quite addictive, as did many other participants.
“Since the workshop has finished a Tatting Interest Group has been set up and we are continuing to help each other and Katy has suggested we set ourselves a monthly challenge. I’ve also felt confident enough to make a few bookmarks and a doily which I’ve given away as little birthday gifts.”
Carol Marsh, from Surrey, demonstrated an up-to-date use of the craft with her earrings and noted that “many edging designs
would make beautiful bracelets with a few beads added, to accompany the earrings.”
“I found the flip very challenging to master, I spent half an hour every evening trying it and cut off so many failed attempts. Then suddenly I got it! I did enjoy the workshop, finding it challenging to learn the basics and was very happy to have achieved some simple items. It is always inspiring to learn with others and see their work! I have wanted to learn to tat for some time.”
Sheila Brown from Midlothian Scotland, shared a photo showing a variety of samples which demonstrated a confident use of tatting skills.
Towards the end of the workshop Erika from Edinburgh, Scotland shared her butterfly bookmark, star and tiny snowflake motifs. “I will keep it up, if only to finish all those half-used balls of Coats crochet cotton, but also because it is fun, and a wonderfully small and portable occupation for restless hands.”
The interaction between Katy and her students was positive, with all learning styles and levels of ability accommodated. All queries were treated with respect and more advanced techniques or projects were freely offered. Testament to this approach was the willingness to share imperfect or beginner samples, as well as more successful achievements. In the first week one could sympathise with anyone who was finding ‘flipping’ the knot a challenge. Once this had been mastered participants eagerly took on various small projects and appreciated a timescale which allowed for practice and extension of tatting techniques.