I haven’t gotten to the fancy shamrock yet, partly because I messed up the little one, and mostly because I received a fun package in the mail from Handy Hands, Inc. They are a catalog/phone/web store that specializes in all things tat! I requested a catalog a few weeks ago, and they sent it along with three FREE SAMPLES OF THREAD.

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eeeeeee!! I wasn’t expecting that!
There are three sizes and three colors. The sizes range from 3, 10, 20 going left. The larger the number the thinner the thread. Look at that 20. I have dental floss thicker than that.
I am all over the size ten (that’s why it already off the spool). Size three is a lot like doily thread (only in crochet it’s a size 10. Confused yet?) and I bet that will be nice for a larger project. I dunno. I don’t have any delusions of grandeur about bedspreads or even doilies made from tatting. Well, maybe a doily or two someday…
Good gravy can you imagine how much thread it would take to make a bedspread?? How much time?? oof.
Anyway, I tried out two of the patterns included in the catalog so far. Here is the Bookmark by Sandy:

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I ordered some rainbow thread (duh, who can resist rainbows?) and some green/blue thread. I also found a tatting dictionary, which should be easier than surfing the interwebs, and a shuttle with a tiny hook on the end (for joining the loops).
I found a little bag in my stash, too. There are balls of thread on the kitchen table because I like looking at them.

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And here is my progress into the adventure of tatting so far, from the earliest attempts on the left to my current project on the right.

My oldest will pretend to snip the thread that dangles down from my left hand when I tat. I’ll hear “snip. snip!” and see those little fingers snipping. <_3br>SO much fun. It’s all Franklin Habit’s
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Would you like to know more about tatting? It’s thought to be over 200 years old, with it’s heyday in the late 19th century with, who else? The Vicotirans. I like this excerpt from Wikipedia:

Some believe that tatting may have developed from netting and decorative ropework as sailors and fishers would put together motifs for girlfriends and wives at home. Decorative ropework employed on ships includes techniques (esp. coxcombing) that show striking similarity with tatting. A good description of this can be found in Knots, Splices and Fancywork.

Some believe tatting originated over 200 years ago, often citing shuttles seen in eighteenth century paintings of women such as Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Madame Adelaide (daughter of Louis XV of France), and Anne, Countess of Albemarle. A close inspection of those paintings shows that the shuttles in question are too large to be tatting shuttles, and that they are actually knotting shuttles. There is no documentation, nor any examples of tatted lace, that date prior to 1800. All of the available evidence shows that tatting originated in the early 19th century.[5]

As most fashion magazines and home economics magazines from the first half of the 20th century attest, tatting had a substantial following. When fashion included feminine touches such as lace collars and cuffs, and inexpensive yet nice baby shower gifts were needed, this creative art flourished. As the fashion moved to a more modern look and technology made lace an easy and inexpensive commodity to purchase, hand-made lace began to decline.

Tatting has been used in occupational therapy to keep convalescent patients’ hands and minds active during recovery, as documented, for example, in Betty MacDonald‘s The Plague & I.”

All of tatting revolves around the Double Stitch, which is a set of two individual knots. Once mastered, you can make rings, chains, and little loops to make endless lace patterns for collars, doilies, edgings, covers, whatever. I like making bookmarks so far and I love how portable it is.
More updates soon!

So tatting isn’t very popular, nor is it very easy to find anything about it. I’m so happy for youtube videos! I found a good Dover book about tatting. The videos are where I go for demonstrations. The big goal is to make a 4 leaf clover. My entire tatting experience is thus:

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That’s it! There it is. I made another butterfly two more butterflies and gave one to my mom. I mailed the first one to a friend. I made a ring of rings over on the left, a bunch of practice rings, a lil turtle, a daisy. Note the half formed butterfly on the right. The only thing about tatting that makes it really frustrating is that if I make a mistake, I either have to undo a bunch of knots, or start over. I’ll never complain about fixing knitting or crochet again. I think learning to knit was much harder, but this is a fiddly craft, I’ll say that. It’s very pretty though! I’m going to try to make a shamrock next, then a fancier one. I know I already said it’s frustrating, but the interesting thing about that is it isn’t maddening. It isn’t scream-inducing. If I mess up, I have to start all over. That’s just a snip and a couple knots and off I go. I have been known to throw knitting/crochet on the ground, then stuff it in the closet for awhile (sometimes years). I don’t know why tatting, a craft of unforgiving knots, is less stressful but there it is.
On that note, I am 5 rows away from finishing the Bat Shawl! They’re looooong rows, though. Still. The end is in sight!

I am trying to teach myself how to tat. As in tatting, as in that tiny delicate knotted lace you sometimes see on hankies or really old pillowcases or really really old doilies at the state fair. I’ve seen the thread and shuttles at craft stores, but didn’t think much about it. Like, psh, who does that? I need more yarn…
Well I read a funny and interesting little post about it on www.the-panopticonblog.blogspot.com, specifically this post here, and I’ve been thinking about that for a couple weeks. Today I threw caution (and sanity?) to the wind and went to the crafty spot and bought shuttles and matching pretty rosy/green/spring thread. Size 20 thread. Most doiles are made with size 10 thread, which is twice as thick. Yes, I found something thinner than doily thread but just a hair thicker than actual sewing thread for a machine. But…it’s so pink and rosy and full of spring…
That being said, I may try again with some leftover doily thread I have tons of. But…I already wound the shuttles with the pretty stuff…and they make this wonderful clicketyclick noise when the thread is passed over the ends. I am loving that sound, which is a good sign that I might just get the hang of this.

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those colors!! Pastels and hot pink! :-D

It’s not that I’m bored, or need something to fill my many hours of leisure (snort), or need another (ANOTHER) hobby. It’s a challenge? It’s cool? Yes and yes, but mostly, it’s pretty. The obscurity of it is a little thrilling too, to be honest. ;-) How hipster is that?

I finally finished the outer edge of the window. I put this down two years ago because of that window ledge! I’m working on the grapes now, then cheese. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel…

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Update! 2014-2-23
OK I did the cheese, then the grapes. ;-) I’m working on the wall a bit as I use certain colors, to make it less painful. I’m excited to use bright colors in the grapes; I’m tired of browns and black.
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We visited Old Town when my brother and his wife were here for Thanksgiving. I had to stop by the yarn store of course, and found this stuff. Normally I don’t really like artsy yarn, but they had one knit up next to the display and it was neat! I like these colors because they remind me of the desert, and will be wicked cool against my black coat. I think it’s fun to see the different stripes and types show up. The fluffy stuff at the beginning is silly soft. It’s nice to just knit on whenever, plus I get to use the Galadriel yarn bowl. <_3br>

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P.S. Peri Charlifu makes these bowls. I won this and the Cthulu bowl at Bubonicons past. He is a professional potter from Colorado. I’d like to see a Doctor Who yarn bowl…or a Poe/raven inspired one someday.