North Carolina Handicraft—Tatting

tatting1Tatting is a form of lace making, historically the domain of upper class women who had the leisure time required of this handicraft. Queen Victoria was an avid tatter. Tatting dates to the early 1800s. The word, tatting, derives from the French word, frivolité, an indication of the decorative nature of the projects produced using this technique.

tatting2In tatting, thread is wrapped around 1-2 shuttles. The shuttles guide the thread into a series or pattern of knots and loops, creating rings and chains in delicate lace designs. The tatter uses one hand to wrap the thread and the other hand to manipulate the shuttle. No other tools are necessary except the thread and the shuttle. The best thread for tatting is a dense thread that doesn’t untwist easily. DMC and Perl cotton are often utilized.

Tatting projects include: doilies, earrings, necklaces, Christmas ornaments, bookmarks, baby items and can serve as edging from everything from wedding veils to handkerchiefs to clothing.

tatting3Due to fashion and home décor magazines, tatting had a tremendous following throughout the first half of the 20th century. This art form flourished when fashion trends incorporated frilly, feminine touches such as lace collars and cuffs. Once technology made lace making an inexpensive and readily available purchase, handmade lace declined. Tatting has experienced a small revival of sorts and is now often used in occupational therapy to keep patients’ fine motor skills and minds tuned during a long recovery period.

Trivia question—When was tatting mentioned in Carolina Reckoning? What was happening?

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