Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Purposeful Tatting

I am just starting to learn tatting and I have a question...Off subject I am afraid but..... I see all the pretty things you make and wonder what do you do with them? I understand doilies and jewelry but what about the other things?

I make lots of things just to see if I can. I make things so I have an excuse to buy more thread, extra shuttles, beads, buttons, findings, and do-dads. I make things to create beauty in the world, even if the world doesn't know it.

What happens to all the stuff I make?

I use some of it. I have two lanyards that are used for either my name tag, or with a findings change, as a keeper for my sunglasses when I go on vacation. I like to have them available and I don't like to carry the case around. I have a beaded string (just like the lanyards) attached to my phone which is also attached to a stylus. My ears can be decorated for days and days using just tatted earrings. A couple of edgings and a motif with a button center decorate some of my t-shirts. We decorate our Christmas tree in tatting (and ornaments of sentimental value). I am considering making a bit of tatting in a covered bangle to hang in my car. That's just in the thinking stage, though.

Lots of my tatting ends up in a drawer in an antique dresser that belonged to my grandmother. That drawer is full of prototypes and series of pieces which were tweaked, redone, tweaked, done again, and finally ended up as final patterns. It has pieces which ARE my patterns until I can get them diagrammed or written down on paper (some of them probably never will). It also has all the stuff I've made that hasn't been given away -- yet. Some of it might never go anywhere but the drawer until after my time. 

Some of it gets given away as gifts. I'm not interested in selling my stuff because I make it for entertainment. I have a job and I don't want another one. Turning a hobby into a job is a good way to ruin its entertainment value for me. That said, I have, occasionally, sold some of my work -- when I could find someone willing to pay for my time.

I have to laugh because you understand doilies and jewelry. I understand jewelry. However, even though I make them and enjoy them, I don't understand doilies. They are the queens of my tatting drawer.

So -- what do the rest of you do with all that stuff you tat?


Jane Eborall said...

Hi there, soulmate!!! I'm the same - two big boxes and a suitcase full of finished 'things'. Goodness knows what my kids will do with it all (and the books, threads, beads etc) when I pop my clogs. BUT like you I don't much like doilies but again make them from time to time. Actually, are you my sister?!?!?!?

Madtatter80 said...

I don't know why but I love to see tatting pilled up :) looks like fun! Love the idea of name tags and lanyards too!

Suztats said...

I add it to my embroidery pieces, to Crazy Quilts, as decorations on clothing. And as doilies under vases so as not to scratch my fine furniture. I add them to cards, give them as tree decorations, edgings fro blouses, to decorate my needle case or my pincushion. They look great on handmade bags or on fabric books. The snowflakes look beautiful hung in windows or decorating presents. I've thought about tatting a shawl or a bedspread. How about a tatted quilt? Or tatted window coverings?

Miranda said...

Yep, I do all the same things with my tatting-- except for put it in a drawer! If I've put the work into making it, I want it seen!

I'm not much of one for doilies on my tables, either. However, I do have a framed one hanging in my living room, and I'm currently working on another that will eventually end up sewn onto a throw pillow. Aside from their decorative value, I think that doilies can actually serve a practical purpose as well. If you're the type of person to have lots of vases, photo frames, or knick-knacks around, putting a doily under them will prevent them scratching the furniture. And once upon a time, very large heavy doilies were used as antimacassars to keep the men's hair oil from getting on the upholstry (thank goodness hair oil has gone out of fashion!).

Also, bookmarks. I don't know how much longer people will be reading paper books, but I still do, as do many people I know. A tatted bookmark is useful for yourself or as a small gift to a reader.

I don't sell my tatting either, for the same reason as you. But I do like to donate it to a charity sale held each year by my parents' church. That way it doesn't accumulate too much in my house; and I can make certain things that I might enjoy making but wouldn't be my style to keep.

Marty said...

Suztats, I can't imagine doing anything as big as a shawl, bedspread, quilt or window coverings. I CAN imagine starting on any of those things and adding the pieces to my drawer!
Jane, I'd love to be your sister -- I think she gets to see all your great ideas first. However, I'm pretty certain I'm not your sister -- because even though I can't think of a good reason to make doilies, I like making them. *sigh* That's why there are so many in my drawer -- I don't have enough end tables to accommodate them all!

Miranda said...

Forgot to add, I also simply set small motifs out on tables or bookshelves as decoration.

Fox said...

Everything is banished to a tin that dwells in the linen cupboard. I don't make or wear jewelry. I use to have a ring that was engraved with:

If eyes were meant for seeing, then beauty is its own reason for being.

Wish I still had it; it explains my tatting perfectly.

Lace-lovin' Librarian ~ Diane said...

I haven't tatted much jewelry. I love tatting little motifs and doilies. There are doilies all over my house: knitted, crocheted, and tatted. I love designs that swirl, and I have yet to find a pattern to beat Mary Konior's Spinning Wheel glass mat, although I do adore Iris Niebach's patterns. I love tatting crosses, but I haven't done many lately. How many crosses can one stash in a drawer? Probably more than I have! ;-)

muskaan said...

Very interesting , including the comments :-)
I have made loads of edgings & laces for saris, sewing them on & gifting them to my MIL. I've also used small motifs/flowers 'sprinkled' around.
I have started calling it "SOUP" (Sewing On/Using Pieces of tatting)& have glued them on envelops, cardstock, etc. Sewn them to kitchen & table linen.
I don't sell any of my handiwork either. And doilies don't really go with my home decor, altho' I do intend to make some more.
Sewing edgings/borders/laces to skirts, bed linen, table cloth, .... I had such a collection of motifs & edgings that I quit tatting for almost 10 years, till it was re-kindled through the net.

I, too, tat for the sheer enjoyment & beauty of it, as well as for learning (loads to learn!).
I will be trying my hand at jewellery soon (bought the necessary stuff).

The pic of your drawer full of tatting is Exquisite ! The elegant rings & chains & colours look resplendent. And the dragon is peeping out :-)))

Sherry aka Celtic Dream Weaver said...

Marty...was there ever a pattern for your rapture. My Grandkids would love it. Can you send me an email to I have say I love looking at my tatting finished small stash. Especially items that were made by someone elses hand and not my own. Those things I call tatting treasure.

Tally Tatty said...

I am much too lazy to make anything that will not be used!

Kathy Niklewicz said...

Catching up on your posts!

I can't believe Mr. Utahraptor is languishing away in your drawer! He should be in a frame, with his blue ribbon proudly displayed!

If you put him on a T-shirt, you would be constantly stopped in the street! But washing the shirt would be a problem. Maybe he could be sewn to a background which could be just basted to the shirt, and removed.

Many of your other gorgeous items should also be displayed. You should have a room (or at least a wall) like an art gallery where these items can be shown off!

Bernice said...

I try to give it away as soon as it is done, even mistakes can go on or in a card. But even with good intentions there is a small collection in two tins, because I forgot about the first and started another. (LOL)
I have a plan to buy a very large frame and put them all under glass for display. We do not have a tatting group nearby which they can be gifted but it is a thought.

Amanda Terjeson said...


I was looking at your drawer full of tatting and couldn't help but notice that awesome dinosaur. Is there any chance that you have a pattern for it? It would make my 5 year old son so incredibly happy.