I learned to tat at the Numurkah Community Centre in northern Victoria in 1999. Diana Eckett from
was the teacher and the class was 2 half days. The cost was $40 plus threads. I saw it on the notice board and, having wanted to learn lacemaking for years, I enrolled......
Now what noone told me was that tatting and bobbin lace are NOT the same thing!!!
Diana handed out these funny looking plastic thingys and some thread and I thought…
Ahhh…......Earth to stupid?…........I don't think this class is what you think it is…….
(But I HAD paid and it all looked very interesting …...so I stayed and played. Thank goodness!!)
On the first day we learned to flip the stitch using two colors of wool and using finger tatting as though for a chain so we could see the color change when the flip occurred.
We then progressed to the ring once we could flip the stitch consistently. After getting the ring we "earned" our shuttle and did a simple ring/chain edging. Thinking back, it was a huge achievement for the first lesson, and a great credit to Diana's teaching ability. Sadly Diana is no longer with us to thank personally for those lessons. but her words and kindness are fondly remembered.
Went home that afternoon and suddenly everything was tatting thread from cows tail hair to baling twine. Tatted chains and rings sitting on the back of the trailer coming in from feeding the cows. I was totally hooked after ONE day….(have tatted since using anything from grass, corn ear fibre, human hair to licorice straps...!!)
On the second day we progressed to an actual pattern which was an edging from the Rebecca Jones book The Complete Book of Tatting. Followed by a tricky little pattern from the Heritage Patterns Book from the Queensland Lace Guild. Swapping threads over with SLT ......WOW!! So I stayed for the afternoon class as well..
At the end of the classes we were then allowed to look through Diana's books and select a pattern to go on with. I chose Whip Cream Frill from the book Tatting Doilies and Edgings.
All fired up and raring to go I took it home, joined the NSW Guild and ordered a shuttle from John O'Brien in
New South Wales….. but
didn't get a chance to try to start it for a couple of months as we got busy on
the farm and farmer's hands, tiredness and white tatting thread (all I could get) do not quite mix……
So imagine my dismay when I tried to start it again and couldn't even remember how to hold the thread……..devastation!!…...so that was it - bye bye tatting - there were too many other things on the farm that needed more attention than tatting so it got put in the box and there it stayed. Not that from time to time I did not think about it……
I kept my membership with The Tatters Guild of Australia (NSW Branch) - one day I would TAT…….
when things got a bit quieter…..
Maybe next month???.......
Diana had told us of her wish to get a Victorian branch of the Guild going so when I heard it had been successful I joined that one too. With all intentions of once and for all learning this tricky little craft. I mean Simpson to
is ONLY 3 hour..…
I could get to a meeting and be back before milking…….
We moved farms again and I basically forgot all about it until we came back to Whittlesea in December 2002 and I found it in the box of craft things when I unpacked. Tried to have a bit of a go then but could not get it going so I put it away again. Looked for a teacher close to us but there was noone around. It just wasn't going to happen……
Then in 2003, I took a lesson with Rosemary Buxton. As I watched her place the thread around her hand and do the first stitches it all made sense..right then it all came flooding back like I had done it forever! What an idiot! I was SOOOOO close!!!
All that time and all I had to do was hold the stupid thing a bit differently…grrrrrrrr. When I think of the doilies I could have done with that extra time……..
Got as far as split rings that night!!! How embarrassing - I booked a lesson for a learner!
Great ad for Rosemary as a teacher though!
Went home and sat up until the wee small hours just making ring/chain combinations....I HAD to remember it this time.. And I did…..hopefully never to forget again! There have been some rough times and hiccups in life along the way after losing my partner and tatting “enabler”, Jamie, to an accident in 2010…..but my trusty shuttles have always been close at hand and patterns racing though my head even if I wasn’t ready to tat again. I turned my hand to designing and did Sharon Briggs' Design Tat course. My avatar here on this page is a result of her brilliant instruction and exercises in design. I named it "Jamie" for obvious reasons....he was the one who always encouraged me to try something different and believe in my ability to design. xxx
Been active in the chat rooms for tatting and developed a huge personal library and shuttle collection, as well as a reputation for finding patterns that are a bit unusual or obscure. It is my passion and a craft I dearly love to do and teach. From the jumpy little chat room of InTatters in 2004, came a group of chattatters that regularly met there and to this day at least 5 of us are still in contact. We called ourselves the International Chat Tatters. We often got together for chat and tat online sessions even though we were spread out across the globe! Some wonderful laughs and patterns came out of those times.
I am a member of the Vic and NSW Tatters Guild branches, InTatters, the International Chat Tatters, Palmetto Tatters, Ring of Tatters, the Danish Tatting Association, the
Victoria Tatters group, and most recently the Queensland Tatters.
Shown work in Whittlesea Show from 2003 to 2010 with varied success. (one day I WILL win a place above Leonie Martinson!! LOL – now THERE is an awesome tatter!) Lilydale Show for the first time in 2006
Taught tatting in Diamond Creek in 2003, Whittlesea Neighbourhood House in 2004/5 and Kinglake Neighbourhood House in 2006 as well as friends wanting to learn.
In 2006 I had the pleasure of hosting two fellow tatters from our tat chat group – Susanne from
Denmark and Ginny from New York. Both spent time in Victoria with me and in Queensland with Maureen Lawrence. My contact with tatting has also
made it possible to travel to Denmark
to stay/travel/tat with Susanne and meet the wonderful ladies of the Danish
Tatting Association and have the honour of being hosted by Inga Madsen, a designer I
very much admire.
I hope to be tatting when I am well into my 100's………need to….too many patterns left.