Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Tatted Tribute for My Mother on Mother's Day


Happy Mother's Day 2008!
This little picture shows my Mother as a small girl on the lower right. Her Mother, my Grandmother, Helene Marie, is on the top left of the photo with Al my grandfather on the top right and Bud my mom's little brother on the lower left. It was my Mom who taught me to tat. She had said that Her mother had tatted or at least knew how and it was from their French heritage that it had been passed down from. I thought having a "hens and chicks" edging coming across the photo was a fitting touch.
Seeing as it was my Mother who taught me how to tat. I thought a tatted tribute to her would be fitting. My mother passed away in 1992 from a sudden and serious health issue which caused her life to surrender at a most unexpected time.
Years earlier was the summer I turned 14. It was not an easy one for us as a family. My father had left and we were on welfare so groceries and money were scarce.
I had had a burning desire to tat since I was 3 years old and I felt it was time that my requests to learn to be stopped being ignored and seriously addressed with a lesson of some sort. My sister who tatted snubbed the idea altogether, so the only one left to teach me was my Mother who hated needlework of all kinds. Her family was very good at it and worshipped with reciprocity those women whose hands had been kissed
by the gods of the needlearts, but my mother had been looked down upon with shame at her lack of needlework charms. Somehow, inspite of this, I found an old red plastic "BOYE" shuttle in the sewing drawer and said "Oh, look Mom, here's a tatting shuttle, look now you CAN teach me, Oh, I SOOOOOO want to learn" (keep in mind I'd been doing this since I was 3 with no results).
This time my mother's response was less than encouraging, "It is the middle of the month we have 2 dollars left and no milk. Those 2 dollars are going to buy us milk for the rest of the month or they're going to buy tatting or crochet thread and you need to buy crochet thread to learn on and I'll be damned if I'm going to spend the last 2 dollars on crochet thread when we need MILK!!!" ....okay, okay, I thought, I could certainly see her reasoning for this. I desperately searched the sewing cabinet finding all kinds of spools and threads of all sorts of colors and sizes.. "What about this, Mom?"...."What about THIS?" "OR This!!!!" each little spool of thread seemed like the answer to my delimma at the time, the golden ticket to my learning to tat, each one shot down with my mother's shaking her head "NO", each time she appeared to get a bit more frustated with me. Finally she said to me, "Now, look, all we have is sewing thread and you can't learn on sewing thread the knots have to slide on this other string that actually made the knots in the first place and then they switch places and all the knots have to switch place in order to slide on the ring thread to close in a ring and if all the knots didn't switch you can' t close your ring and it's a big disaster. I could never do it on crochet thread and I'm certainly not goin to teach you on sewing thread....it's too small, it's smaller than the smallest tatting thread..NO NO NO"....well, I'll spare you the negotiation that took place but just know that 1 hour later my mother sat in the living room with sewing thread that I had wrapped around the old plastic "BOYE" shuttle and attempted to teach me with the help of a Coats & Clark How To book that had a tatting chapter in it. My mother, for the life of her could never get a ring to close, but she understood the concept of each half of the ds (double stitch) switching places so the knots would all slide in the ring. While she couldn't show me, her tangled knots causing her to utter more profanities than thought appropriate at the time for a 14 year old girl to hear did not deter me. I WAS GOING TO LEARN TO TAT. So, when It was my turn my mother patiently coached me as I switched each half of the double stitch over and over until all 10 DS slid expertly into a ring, so did the next ring and the next ring and the next....until my mother threw the book down and said, "Look, I don't know any more, I don't know picot's or how to join them, or chains or anything else, you're gonna have to teach yourself how to do a picot and how to join them, sorry kiddo".
Little did my dear mother know she had actually taught me the HARDEST part! Thank you, Mother!! I love you for that always! Picot's are easy so are joining them. I learned all the rest of that from the "how to book" that I mentioned earlier.
That summer our school had a summer "home economics program" where you got school credit
for a project in the needle arts worked on in the summer. The home teacher came around with a chart to keep hours on and so I had already decided that I was going to do a doily for my first project. I told the school summer teacher that I would start, but the finished project wouldn't happen until I was 80 years old and so I didn't think I should do it...she laughed and told me that
I just had to log the hours I worked on it all summer and I'd get a credit for each hour of work, finished project or not.
Well, 42 hours later (that's 42 tatting hours or a couple of months) I surprised myself as I really had a finished doily. At 14 I thought it was the most beautiful doily in the whole world. I had picked size 10 variegated pink cotton crochet and I thought it was the most beautiful color at the time.
Here it is, the summer fruit of my labors:
My Very First Doily, at age 14
I made a close up of it because believe it or not it was blocked not once, but twice. I'm showing it closeup for newbies to see that this is my very first doily and look how uneven the stitching is and now I take painstaking efforts to make sure there are no strings showing between the cloverleaf or tri-leaf or trefoil (all different names for the three rings in row that look like a clover leaf.) My tatting now is a bit neater, not requiring a lot of blocking, just know, if you are a newbie that it will not always look like this.

Close-up of my very first doily.

My mother, by the way, told me that summer how proud she was of me that I learned all that other stuff, the picot, the chain, the joining of the picot, the joining of the base of the chain in a round or to the last ring....etc....etc.... It meant a lot to me to hear her say that especially when she seemed so frustrated at first that I GOT IT and she didn't.
Thank you, Mom, for teaching me to tat. I love to do it and share it with others, although I teach them on DMC cebellia size 10 to learn how and I recommend a book called "Fancy Pants" available from HandyHandsTatting.com.
I love you, Mom. Happy Mother's Day, may you rest in peace.
From your loving daughter,
TattingChic ;)
Thank you for stopping by today. Newcomers and comments are always welcome and appreciated.

65 absolutely fabulous things were said:

Melissa said...

Awwwww That is soooo sweet! Thanks for sharing! I think it's amazing that you still have your first doily!

TattingChic said...

Thanks Melissa. Yes, my first doily rarely gets to see the light of day anymore, but it was out all through highschool in my bedroom. I was so proud of that thing.

Jeanne Turner McBrayer said...

This is a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it. I am sorry you lost your mother. It sounds like you have some lovely memories of her.

Rosemary said...

That was a very nice Mother's Day post.
Thanks for sharing,
Rosemary

TattingChic said...

Jeanne Turner McBrayer, Thanks again for stopping over here, from all things quilty. I really appreciate your kind words and to be sure, your empathy.

Rosemary, always a pleasure to have you stop by. Thank you for your kind comments. Come again, anytime.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

What a great story! Your persistence surely paid off. I think your doily is beautiful and I know your mom was indeed proud of you. Nice picture too! I enjoyed your post!

NormaH said...

What a beautiful rememberance!

TattingChic said...

Rebecca Ramsey, always a pleasure to have you stop by and leave such a sweet comment. I enjoyed your Mother's Day post, as well. You have a lovely way with humor and words

Norma, thank you for your visit and your kind comments. I really appreciate it. Come back anytime.

LadyShuttleMaker aka MadMadPotter said...

This is a really lovely tribute! I thoroughly enjoyed it and I am sure your mom is smiling upon you! That doily is the most beautiful doily in the world and you proved that persistance and determination win out!
I grew up very poor as well so I can certainly relate to the welfare stories. I used to be a bit bitter about it I think, but now I know that it has made me a stronger more apreciative person.

Nermal and Kitty said...

Hi there, TattingChic. I came to your blog from Elizabeth's at Gossamer Wings. I love tatting-both my grandmothers tatted and tried in vain to teach me. I have lots of their tatting & doilies with it on them. I've sewed it on my daughter's dresses when they were little. I'll check back with you. Luv, Nerm

BJ said...

Well, just goes to show "Two great minds think alike". I think I would have liked your Mom.
MY Mom knew how to do all sorts of womanly arts but said, "Hopefully, you won't have to do all this drudgery" and would not teach me to sew or do the wash - or anything really.
But she did teach me about great literature, to appreciate music and art; and, fashion. My dear MIL taught me the 'womanly arts' - she must have been aghast that her son brought home this young woman of 19 who didn't know how to operate a washing machine, let alone a sewing machine. LOL
She never said a discouraging word, just taught me how to do things as I was always at her elbow willing to help; as, of course, her daughters hid out trying to avoid work!
Funny how that worked out!
I wish my first piece of tatting looked as good as your doily!

Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting on my Mom's picture. We were standing by a really tall cacti and Daddy's Ford truck.

best wishes,

crazyQstitcher said...

Your dedication certainly paid off. Congratulations on completing such a wonderful doiley...and only 14 years old when you did it.

I'd be proud to say I had made this at any age.
cheers Maureen

A Romantic Porch said...

That is the most amazing story. Thank you for sharing it. I'm truly impressed.xoRachel

singtatter said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm not amazed you still have your first doily - that's the most precious one, especially when there is such a story behind it! My mother doesn't do handicrafts, but she sews on the machine. I remembered she sewed for me & my sis all those little girls' dresses when we were small. When I started tatting much later, she managed to find a piece of tatted collar which my father bought for her donkey years ago. Now, that tatted collar is with me.

Milly said...

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment at my blog!
I really wondered what "tatting" could be, and how fun; it's "nupereller" in Norwegian, and my mother did it too! She had learned it from her mother. I was very fascinated by it, and I can remember she teached me a little bit of it... I never got to practice it, though, but your post really bring memories.

Bonnie said...

I think it is great that you have your first doily. Your Mother's Day post is very special. Thank you for sharing it.

Lace-lovin' Librarian - Diane said...

Thank you for sharing your memories of your mother! I'm so glad she was able to teach you to tat. Your first doily is amazing! Your persistence certainly paid off!

Kathy said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I think her frustration over life at the moment was getting the best of her yet she did take the time to get you started. She was really proud of your accomplishment and you should have been as well. So sorry you couldn't share the day with your mother, but you had fond memories of her. Did she ever ask you how to do the picot's or joining?

TattingChic said...

First of all I am going to address each one of your personally, but I just have to say My heart is full...so full...that my eyes are tearing up at your outpouring of love for my little tribute to my Mom. Thank you so much.

Thank you LadySHuttleMaker, I was fortunate to babysit the neighbor kids and got a reputation for being a good and responsible one at that so I had lots of babysitting money to go buy crochet thread and shuttles and tatting books. I was in tatting heaven by the time I was 15. Yes, the "Refiner's Fire" has a way of making us stronger and more beautiful if we will let it.

Nermal and Kitty, so glad you blog-hopped on over. How nice that you have so much tatting passed down as heirlooms what treasures. You are welcome back anytime and I want to know when you post some of those family tatted treasure over on your blog!

BJ, thanks for hopping over to share some thoughts on your Mother. It's so special to share like that and I appreciate it. You're a sweetie.

CrazyQStitcher, Maureen, Thank you for your visit today and kind words. My tatting of that doily certainly made a foundation of things learned that make me a much better tatter today. I was so grateful I was able to figure it out and do it. My mom's favorite saying when she would watch me do it was "she's going great guns" it was her way of saying that I was going further and further in my tatting skills.

A Romantic Porch, Rachel, glad you stopped by. Always nice to share with another. Come back anytime.

Singtatter, how nice that your mother sewed those clothes for you. I had big sisters who did that for me as a child. Now, I'm just curious. What on earth was a tatted collar doing on a DONKEY? I'm sure there's a fabulous explanation there. Thanks, again, for stopping by. I always enjoy your comments. Tatted Donkey collar or not...LOL!!

Milly, yes tatting is Nupreller. I have alink to a blog by that name on my sidebar on the right under the list title of "Tatting LInks" It's in alphabetical order so you should find it easily. Thank you for stopping by and sharing the stories of your mother and grandmother. If you ever want to know more about tatting you can join etatters. There's a badge to in on the right sidebar of my blog. It's free to join and there's a lot of pictures of tatting and people who can get you started if you ask for the links to get you going. Welcome and come back anytime.

Bonnie, Thanks for coming by and for all your compliments. I'm glad you enjoyed my Mother's Day post.
Come back anytime.

Thank you, DIane, I'm glad you stopped by. You comments are always so encouraging and sweet. It was nice sharing that memory of my Mother with all of you.

Kathy, Yes, it is a positive thing that she taught me to tat 'midst all the turmoil. She never expressed any desire to learn the picot...lol...I suppose that's because she could not close a ring so she felt a picot was fruitless. I didn't push it too much. I would just show her what I was tatting if she wanted to know. I was proud of that doily, too. Now, it just wouldn't go with my decor, but I do show it to students to inspire them and yet, also encourage them that their stitching will get neater and more even, but it still looks pretty even when all is not perfect. Thanks for you visit. You're always welcome, I hope you know that.

Clyde said...

What a wonderful story. You are blessed to be able to have fond memories of your mother. Thanks for sharing.

jillian said...

What a beautiful story. What an amazing gift your mother gave you. Thanks for sharing it!
XOXO
Jillian

TattingChic said...

Glad you stopped by, Clyde. I am fortunate to have that fond memory, indeed. Thank you for your kind comment.

Jillian, thanks for hopping by. She did give a gift by teaching me the very basic stitch. I will always be grateful for that as tatting is a big part of my life.

Maria said...

Happy Mothers Day!! Hope you had a wonderful day. THe doily is beautiful/

TattingChic said...

Maria, thank you for poppin in to make a nice comment. I did have a nice day, thank you.

Gina said...

What a lovely tribute! And you are so fortunate to have someone teach you, even if they didn't know how very well...it was a start. I don't think your first doily is bad at all! You should see the bits and pieces from when I started that I still keep in a tin to remind me that you start where you are and don't get discouraged. The last time I looked, I was horrified to see I'd even tatted with some size 5 thread!

:-) Gina

TattingChic said...

Hi Gina, Thanks for comin' by. I didn't even know that there was such a thing as size 5 thread! Thanks for your comments, yes, I do consider myself fortunate to have had someone coach me on the double stitch.

Tattycat said...

What a lovely post. This is a wonderful tribute to your mother. It is so sweet of you to share these memories with us. I can tell they mean an awful lot to you. It is wonderful that she taught you to tat, however unwillingly! I'm sure she was very proud of you. The first doily that you did is fantastic and far surpasses my first efforts. Thank you again for all of your wonderful posts and the generous way in which you always comment on everyone else's blogs.

quiltdude said...

What a beautiful mothers day memo, and the doily is also beautiful despite the flaws that you can see. (I thought it looked perfect)
The pleasure you have gained from that summer is obvious in the work you now produce.

X Clare

TattingChic said...

Tattycat tattycat, ooooh, tatty, tattycat ah tattycat...that is to be sung to the tune "lollypop, lollypop" I am so glad that you meowndered over her to my blog to comment so kindly and such about the goings on over here. I trust this means you've gotten enough sleep this past night. I, too, enjoy my meowderings throughout bloggerland, don't you? Chat with you soon and either yours or my place wherever the next we shall meet, Tattycat.

Hi, Clare, thanks for visiting. Yes, that summer formed a foundation for all the many tatting techniques I now indulge in, not to mention the stitches being a bit neater. Glad you came back, You're welcome anytime.

Dantatter aka Susanne said...

Your doily is an impressive work done at such a young age. I wish I had started earlier than I actually did.
Great she could finally show you how to tat, and today it is such a lovely memory you have there. Thanks for sharing your story.

TattingChic said...

Susanne, Thank you for visiting here today. I wonder, how old were you when you started to tat? I'm glad I have a forum here to share that cherished memory about my mom teaching me how and I thought Mother's Day was the appropriate day to share it on. Thanks for letting me share it with you.

Linda S Davies said...

Well my dear, TattingChic, ten out of ten for persistence! And wasn't it worth it? Absolutely!!!

TattingChic said...

Yes, Linda, Persistence was the word of the day. I believe my mother knew it was the only way my Mother figured she would get me off her case about it was to just go ahead and just teach me to tat...LOL Yes, I will agree it DID pay off. Thank you for your visit and comment. Come again, anytime.

Tattycat said...

Hey, I like that little ditty you made up! I thought I was the only one alive who remembered "Lollipop, Lollipop!" Yes I did get a good nights sleep thank you. What fun it is to meet so many neat people!

Amy at Bunny Rose Cottage said...

What a wonderful post!!! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

Thank you for visiting my blog!
Happy Mothers Day!
Amy

TattingChic said...

Tattycat, I'm so happy to see that you meownered over, yet again! GLady you liked the little ditty and even more glad that you got a restful night's sleep. Enjoy you continued meowndering about the net! 'til we meet again....

Amy, Thank you for
stopping by to read my Mother's Day post. Happy Mother's day to you, too, although I believe I saw what I nice time everyone had on your blog. It all looked very nice. Thanks again for stopping by.

Mya said...

I love your little tatting story. Your first doily was beautiful. I don't have the fingers or patience for it but I envy those who do.
Happy Mothers Day (belated). thank you for the visit and kind comments.
-Mya

TattingChic said...

Mya, I appreciate your coming by. Happy Belated Mother's Day to you, too, but it sure looks like you had an absolutely fabulous one already. I'm glad you like my tatting story. Come back on over anytime.

Joy at Cupids Charm said...

What a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing. I am glad I found your blog this evening! ~ xoxo Joy

Emily said...

What a sweet story! Your work is beautiful!
Emily

Naturegirl said...

I have never heard of tatting!
What a wonderful craft that you learned from your mother!Her spirit lives on in you! Lovely post and tribute to your mother! hugs NG

verito90909 said...

I finally get the chance to visit your blog and I find this beautiful post of yours. It was very touching. I got very impressed by your first tatting work at such an early age, but also the story of the way you learned, your persistence, was impressive. I mean this. Your merit is big. I believe those conditions, in a big part, are responsible for making you love tatting this much now. And a proof you are truly gifted.
As I kept reading, I was thinking what a patience and dedication you always put in writing and replying the posts. I don't know if you realize this, but it's like a daily gift you make for us all. It's your time!
As for your mother, she obviously inherited to you more than the knowledge of tatting. And it's the kind of things you'll always have with you, no one will ever take that away from you.
Happy mothers day!
Vero.

Suzy said...

Hi,
thanks for your nice comment and for stopping by.
I love the story and she really taught you well. Such a nice thing to do to make a tribute to your mom.

Suzy

TattingChic said...

Joy at Cupid's Charm, Thank you for stopping by to read my Mother's Day tribute and for stopping to comment as well, it means a lot to me. You have a lovely blog as well. Have a lovely week and welcome back anytime.

Oh, Emily, the girl with the very sweet-looking Mother's Day cookies over at her blog. THank you for stopping by for a visit and making such a nice comment.

Nature Girl, that you for your reciprocity in visit and comments. I'm so glad to be the one to introduce you to tatting. There are so many talented tatting artist on the net, you are welcome back anytime and if you ever just google "tatting" a world of eye candy awaits. you.

Verito,
What an absolutely touching, kind and generous comment you left me and for my Mother. Thank you so much. Wow, I am deeply touched by your sweet comment. I feel like saying "thank you", "thank you" over and over.....brought tears to my eyes....truly it did...that's all I have to say. Thank you for stopping by and welcome back ANYTIME! :)

So glad you stopped in to visit, Suzy. I enjoyed reading your kind comment and hope you are able to get your kitchen just the way you picture it in your head. More importantly, I hope you are able to communicate what you see in your head to those that are trying to help you. Thanks for stopping in!

rochambeau said...

What a gift your mother shared with you! Yes!! I can tell you are surly a lover of knots!! It's great that yo tat. I learned once when I was fourteen, so at least I understand what is involved. PATIENCE!!! and fairy fingers.

Thanks for stopping by.
Constance

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

Oh, lovely! My grandmother tatted the most wonderful things, and I managed to keep several after she died.
I can see why they say that tatting is angel's lace by looking at all of your amazing tatting pics.
Blessings~
Cathy

TattingChic said...

Rochambeau, what a sweet, sweet thing to say. "patience and fairy fingers" You made my eyes tear up, yet again. these readers' comments have a way of doing that to me. So, you tried to learn at the same age I did. I want to see what you end up doing with your tassels, but Ican't remember how I found you as your Blogger profile has no URL available to your site. ah...well, nice to meet you, however, briefly, Constance.

So glad you stopped in Cathy from
Tadpoles and Teacups. That is so wonderful that you inherited tatting from your Grandmother! What a rare treasure, indeed! I hope you post some of it on your lovely blog and please let me know if you do, as I'd LOVE to see it.

Marty said...

You made me cry. She sounds like a special mom, and a lucky one. Lucky you, too.

TattingChic said...

Marty, Lucky Me that you finally stopped by my blog. Thank you for your lovely comment. I hope you have a lovely day and Happy Tatting!

Ginger Patches said...

Lovely tribute to your mom! I have a close friend who tats and I keep thinking that one of these days I'm going to have to have her teach me how :)

TattingChic said...

Ginger Patches, thank you for your visit. It would be wonderful if you learned to tat from your dear friend. Best to have someone teach you in person. Lot's internet resources out there, but nothing like a tatting lesson LIVE AND IN PERSON...LOL...no, really. Let me know if there's anything I can do for you if you do learn.

Thimbleanna said...

What a wonderful tribute to your mom, TattingChic! You really DID want to learn to tat!

TattingChic said...

Thank you, Thimbleanna, I'm so glad you came by. Yes, I did want to learn...lol.

periwinkle vintage said...

Wow, you are very talented (and patient!) That's one craft I've never tried. Thanks, girlie, for your sweet comments on my blog post!
Cheryl

TattingChic said...

Hi Cheryl over at Periwinkle Vintage, Welcome back. Thank you for your kind comments.

Donna Lynn said...

What a lovely tribute to your mom! I love tatting too, but, I am a fast food kinda gal and have never learned any neddle arts! I do love looking at yours though, so beautiful and intricate...
Thanks for popping in for a visit! I love comments and yours was really nice!

TattingChic said...

Hi, Donna Lynn, your comment made me laugh because I have to wonder what being a "fast foods gal" has to do with it, unless it's some figure of speech we don't use here in California. You're looking at the blog of a girl who is a fast food-a-holic! Thanks for stopping by and adding your sweet comment. I'm gonna have to go get my April/May '08 issue of Country Sampler to see your home that was featured in it. THat is so cool!

Bish Denham said...

Sweet story. And for a first doily I think it's beautiful.

TattingChic said...

Thank you from dropping by, Bish Denham. Come back, again!

Carol Lawecki said...

What a lovely tribute to your Mother. Thank you for sharing! You must be a writer, your posts are always beautiful! Your first doily is amazing.

TattingChic said...

Carol, Thank you, thank you, and again, thank you. Writing is my first love.

Pat Winter said...

I am sorry you lost your mom.It is wonderful that you have such sweet memories.Your tatting is lovely.Thanks for sharing your story.

TattingChic said...

Pat, Thank you again, for visiting and leaving such kind comments. Welcome back anytime.

tattabugg said...

What a wonderful story and tribute to both your mom and grandma! I so enjoyed reading it!

❦TattingChic said...

Thank you Tattabug! It was fun sharing it with you...not only here but also on Facebook! ;)
Tat on!
~TattingChic ♥