Last weekend the Diva had a soccer tournament up North allowing a small family reunion. One of Diva’s cousins was also playing in the tournament and another cousin (M) who lives in the area was able to come watch some of the games.
M saw me pull out my tatting (wonderful how portable it is!) and asked what I was doing.
First words out of her mouth? “Oh! Have you seen the tatting you can do on the sewing machine?”
This. This is the very reason for my prior diatribe on Faux Tatting. M has never seen anyone tat before last weekend. She had never handled it, had barely even heard of tatting. But somewhere she had seen the faux tatting listed as tatting and assumed that what she was looking at WAS tatting.
It’s not. And this is why those websites selling machine embroidery patterns marked as “tatting” are a problem.
I admit I am a huge, snobby, hipster nerd in one regard.
Tatting. I have posted pictures of my tatting projects here in the past.
For those of you who don’t know Tatting is defined by Webster as
“a delicate handmade lace formed usually by looping and knotting with a single cotton thread and a small shuttle.”
Technically, that isn’t entirely correct because you can use a shuttle or a needle to tat.
Where am I going with this?
Recently I ran across a woman who is selling patterns (instructions) for “tatted” Christmas tree garlands. The problem with this is, what she is selling isn’t tatting at all. It is instructions for machine embroidery that resembles tatting.
There are a lot of people commenting on her Facebook page about what difference does that “tatting” title make as they can produce the embroidery version with far less effort than the real deal?
That effort is the very point. By the very definition tatting involves a person tying BY HAND thousands of tiny knots to create a piece of lace. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it takes effort. That time and effort culminates in a piece of lace that has a very distinctive weight and feel to it. A distinction that someone who is versed in the art of lacemaking can see instantly.
Sadly, that is a small group of people. The vast majority of people have never witnessed either tatting or bobbin lace in the process, nor have they ever handled handmade lace. It breaks my heart that someone would look at that machine embroidery and think what was produced there was actually tatting. The other aspect that is disturbing is many of the designs on this particular website bear an uncomfortable resemblance to copyrighted tatting patterns. Not identical, but close enough to say “Hey! Haven’t I seen that before?”, and close enough that I can see a fight brewing over it in the future. And therein lies the tatting/not tatting sticking point.
If you are a tatter and you happen to be gifted enough to make your own patterns, please, please keep an eye on them. I would really hate to see someone get caught in that trap.
If you have EVER thought “Gee, it might be kind of cool to learn how to tat” please, please PLEASE do! There are countless tutorials on YouTube for both needle and shuttle tatting. If you are really more of a person to person learner please contact your local lace guild (yes, those things really do still exist) or go on InTatters.com. Either one would be able to put you into contact with a live body who can teach you how to tat.
There are countless other possibilities as well. Bobbin Lace which is drool worthy if only for the gorgeous bobbin opportunities out there. Romanian Point Lace (didn’t even know that was a thing until today), Armenian Lace and the list goes on.
Learning how to do it right really does make a difference.