Historic Folk Toys: Craft, 'My First Tatting Kit'

Historic Folk Toys: Craft, 'My First Tatting Kit'

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My First Tatting Kit
With our My First Tatting Kit, you can learn to make lace edgings the old-fashioned way with a tatting shuttle. This package also includes a skein of Size 5 pearl cotton, history, and illustrated instructions. Take this kit with you on your next trip! While this craft may not be as easy as crocheting or knitting, it is definitely worth the practice to be able to make beautiful lace.

Historical Background: Tatting is actually a method of making lace by knotting. The knots are made on a carrier thread and then formed into rings and chains. The tatting continues until a lovely pattern is achieved. A long row of rings can be added to the edge of handkerchiefs, collars, linens, or any article of clothing. More intricate patterns are used to make doilies, place mats, decorations, stars, hearts, angles, wreaths, bookmarks, and the list could go on. There are many tatting pattern books available today for the tatting enthusiast.

Tatting may have originated in 16th-century Italy. Tatting resembles macramé, which is considered to be one of the oldest types of lace. Examples of this kind of lace have been found in Egyptian tombs. Egyptian hieroglyphic texts give evidence that the method of manipulating thread with a shuttle (called a "makouk") into circles and rings was practiced. This may have been the craft that evolved into tatting. Tatting also resembles knotting, which is also made with a shuttle. Knotting may have spread from China westward after the Middle East was opened by Dutch trade routes.

Tatting became very popular in England in the late-16th century. Previously, making lace involved using a pillow, many long wooden bobbins, lots of pins, needle and thread, and a net foundation. This was exhausting work. Tatted lace could, however, be made with just a shuttle, one's hands, and some thread. Tatting became most popular around 1850. Mlle. Elenore Riego de la Branchardiere was appointed as Artiste in Needlework to Her Royal Highness, the Princess of Wales. She was known as the "queen of tatting" and wrote 11 books on the subject between 1850 and 1868. She tatted with a shuttle and introduced "joining with a needle" in 1850. Needle tatting was first mentioned in "The Ladies' Work-Table Book" published in London, England, in 1843. Needle tatting uses a long blunt, non-tapered, five-inch needle. Other types of tatting that have been referenced are finger tatting and Japanese hook tatting. Finger tatting only involves the fingers and no shuttle or needle is required. Japanese hook tatting requires the use of a long, double-ended crochet hook.

Shuttle tatting was obviously very graceful to watch as the hands turned and moved back and forth with the shuttle. Women liked to show off their work and their fancy shuttles made of bone, ivory, mother of pearl, and ones studded with jewels. Tatting was so popular that some of the more prominent women had their portraits painted with shuttles. The National Gallery at London houses a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) of the Countess of Albemarle, which shows her tatting. Another painting in Versailes, by J.M. Nattier, is of Madame Adelaide of France. She is holding a rather large tatting shuttle in this painting. Most of the tatting shuttles we see today are small. Large shuttles were used in the 18th century for thicker cord, usually silk. A six-inch shuttle is recorded in Musee de Cluny in Paris, France, where the finest of the world's historic shuttles are to be found.

PACKAGE DIMENSIONS - 5.5 x 7.75 x 0.5"