Murray, The Tatting Whisperer, has been sharing his love of tatting on his new blog. Following his lead, several bloggers have shared their tatting stories. I find everyone's story interesting! I know I've shared mine in the past, but maybe there are a few people who don't know it. So, here goes...
When I was in high school, we lived in Elmhurst, Illinois, a sleepy little town about 20 miles west of Chicago. Elmhurst is not so sleepy any more, but that's another story. My dad worked for Sears at Homan and Arthington in Chicago. It seemed that many of my high school friends were also sons or daughters of Chicago Sears employees. Elmhurst was a very popular place for Sears employees to live because of easy access to the Eisenhower Expressway.
The summer before my junior or senior year in high school, a Sears family moved into our neighborhood. My mom suggested that my sisters and I host a getting-to-know-you party for our new neighbors since the kids were all about our ages. I really don't remember the party, but I do remember getting a lovely thank-you card with a beautiful cross bookmark enclosed. I still have that cross, although the tassel disappeared years ago. My mom told me it was tatted, but she did not know how to tat. Unfortunately, the new family moved very soon after arriving in Elmhurst. I don't think they even started school that fall, or if they did, they were there for a very short time. So, I did not have the opportunity to learn to tat from someone who knew how to tat.
I don't remember where Mom and I went, probably the local five and dime, and I purchased a tatting shuttle, some thread, and a little book. I tried to learn from that book on and off for about 20 years. I might as well have been trying to learn from ancient Latin text!
One day, my friend Denise (Lace Rn) called me up and told me she had discovered a tatting video and had learned to tat in about 20 minutes. Oh, the excitement! Denise lent the video to me, and I also learned to tat in about 20 minutes. However, since Denise and I have such different schedules, we were never really able to get together and give each other inspiration. Denise pursued tatting and joined different exchanges and collected newsletters. I would pick up a shuttle now and then, tat a small motif, and then I'd return to knitting, crocheting, or sewing.
Several years ago, I discovered Sherry Pence's beautiful ceramic tatting shuttles. I was not the first to purchase one, but I was an early customer. I corresponded regularly with Sherry, and she encouraged me to tat and blog. I read Sherry's blog, and eventually discovered The Tatting Goddess. Denise and I attended a lace event in Lafayette, Indiana. We met Gina and Carol, whose tatting fascinated us. We were so pumped up, we also attended a lace event in Downers Grove. That's when I began tatting in earnest.
I started my blog on my birthday, and it's because of the online community that I have continued pursuing this beautiful lace-making technique.
Thanks to my parents, I have a love for both the craft and the tools. My mom seems to be able to create anything she desires. She sews, knits, crochets, weaves, embroiders... the list goes on and on! Dad loved wood-working, and he made some beautiful pieces for all of us. My two favorite pieces are my jewelry box and my tatting display case. Dad told me that I had to stop collecting shuttles when I ran out of space. That didn't happen! Instead, my sister Janet bought me a chest for displaying shuttles, and then Dave built my lighted display case. Last summer, Janet bought a beautiful apothecary jar for displaying my threads. Yes, I have a family filled with enablers!
JMD, Shuttles and what's next
8 hours ago