Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Antique Tatted Collar

One day while browsing through antique shops about 14 years ago I happened upon a lovely piece of tatted lace. Since tatted lace isn't the most common thing to find in an antique shop I was quite excited to take it home with me. I paid my money and carried my lovely piece of lace home with me.

It was a tatted collar.


This tatted collar, to be exact!

The unusual thing about this piece was the
beautiful round tatted lace motifs filled with
their lovely webs of needle lace!

So very fine and beautiful!

The collar was edged with a beautiful
cloverleaf edging all around the collar.

Upon closer examination I noticed something unusual
about the joinings of the picots.

These were no ordinary picot joins!

They were tied together one by one.

Like this:

Ah! I am soooo glad we don't have
to do that anymore in tatting.

I'm grateful for the classic picot join in tatting!
This technique wasn't published
until sometime after 1851
(Some reports say 1852, others say 1853).

So, the next time you are joining your picots
whisper a little thanks to the French lady,
Mademoiselle Eleonore Riego de la Branchardiere!
"Thank you, Mlle. Riego!"

You see, Mlle. Riego made the way
we join
picots today very famous so all
tatters could enjoy
the convenience of joining picots
as we tat away instead
of sewing the
individual picots together later one by one.

The interesting part is the cloverleaf edging
which is joined with a classic join to itself,
but sewn to the actual collar!

I often wonder just how many people
worked on this piece?

Here in lies the mystery:

just how old is this tatted work of art?


The truth is we will never know the exact age of this tatted collar. Information didn't travel then as quickly across the globe as it does now. If it was tatted in America it may have been years, even decades before the tatter learned of the classic picot join.

Regardless of the age of this tatted mystery, I'm glad I am able to share it here with you! It is one of my little treasures and I wouldn't share it with just anyone, you know!



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The deadline is 7/31/09 at MN PST

57 absolutely fabulous things were said:

Jessica at Kids Napping? I'm Scrapping! said...

Wow. It's so detailed. And pretty. :)

***Jon**** said...

Yeay for Mlle. Riego!

That is a lovely tatted piece. What are you to do with the collar? If you think that it is too precious to use it on a dress/blouse, would you conside making a reproduction, now that you don't have to make knots to join the picots? :-)

Jane Eborall said...

How very interesting. Such a pain having to tie all those picots, though!!!!!

Lace-lovin' Librarian - Diane said...

Absolutely beautiful! Thank you Mlle. Riege... I never would have had the patience to tie all those pieces together!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

How beautiful! And what an interesting story, even for a non-tatter like me!

Gina said...

That is a stunning piece of needlework! I've found some pieces joined like that too, but I'm sure they weren't that old. Well....maybe a little older than me but I'm not all that old, right? LOL!

When I see that, I just so much admire the person who did it. What tenacity and love of needlework to painstakingly create such a beautiful piece.

Tracy said...

Love this art and history lesson, TattingChic! So much enjoyed all the detail photos...seeing this special piece close us was a great treat...just so lovely, such exquisite detail! I am thinking who must have made this...she was very clever! Thanks so much for sharing. :o) Happy Day, my friend ((HUGS))

Dean Grey said...

So TattingChic......

The tatted collar was at one time part of a garment. Am I correct?

I would assume it's too delicate for everyday wear though.

Just wondering why it was sold by itself and not still attached to the original article of clothing.

In any case, it's a wonderful piece of history. Gorgeously detailed too!

Thanks for sharing!


Joansie said...

Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. It is fun fantasizing as to what the color was attached to....perhaps a wedding dress! Great find!!

Kathleen Grace said...

These pieces amaze me! With all our modern conveniences, most of us don't feel we have time for delicate, intricate handwork like this so how on earth did the women way back then with all their hard work do it? Do you think you will wear or frame this? It would be a shame not to display it somehow.

Fox said...

Lovely old find. It amazes me that one woman, in this case, Mlle. Riego, influenced so many people in her own time and then continued to have such an impact on tatters for decades - indeed centuries - to follow, with her dedicated work.

Thanks for the interesting and thought provoking post! : ) xxoo

TattingChic said...

Hi Jessica! Thanks! I'm glad you like it.

Yes, Jon, YAY! We all owe a great deal to her. She was the "Martha Stewart" of tatting in her day! She may or may not have invented the technique, but she made it famous.

Hi Jane! I agree...what a PAIN! I don't think I would still tat if I couldn't join picots the way we do now, LOL!

Me too, Diane! The modern picot join sure makes it a LOT easier, doesn't it?

Thank you, Becky! I'm glad you enjoyed it! I thought you might with that French-iosity thrown in there! LOL! I knew you'd understand about the whole "no French accent" thing, too! I think there's an accent somewhere in there, but alas, no French no French accent! LOL!

Hi Gina! Glad you like the piece. Heavens no, you are not old. I agree, the person who did this really loved the art of tatting...who knows...maybe they didn't by the time they were done, LOL!

Hi Tracy, I'm glad you enjoyed seeing the piece and the close up photos as well! Yes, the person who made this was clever!

Hi Dean, yes, you are right, this was once a part of a garment and it is too delicate to wear now.
That is a very good question about why it's not attached to the original garment. The answer lies in the construction of tatted lace, itself. You see tatting is a very hardy lace. At any given point (except the picots) you've got 3 to 4 layers of thread over itself. This makes it very durable and hardy. What happens is that very often the tatted lace outlast the garment it was attached to. As you can see, the lace has some gaps in it (only where the picots were tied together) and it's age is showing. They original garment has most likely long disintegrated quite literally into dust. Many antique handmade laces are removed from their original, crumbling garments to preserve their integrity. When it comes to antique linens, lace is one of the few things that maintains (or increases) it's value after being removed from it's original garment. Lace can be framed or attached to something new!

Hi Joansie! Yes, who knows what it was attached to! It would've been lovely attached to a wedding dress! It definately looks like the style of collar used closer to the turn of (the last) century!

Hi Kathleen Grace! I wonder that, too! We often say we don't have time for things, but somehow these women from a long ago time found a way to make beautiful things with their hands in the evenings, I suppose. Once the daylight was no longer available to do many of their chores...and they didn't have things like computers and TV to keep them entertained! I certainly find time during my TV watching to tat!

Thank you, Fox! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. It's so much fun to share it with like-minded folks on the internet! It's a blessing, actually. I've shared things like this with 3-D friends and they'"huh?", LOL! That's fine, it's just so much nicer to share it with online friends who appreciate it and understand, LOL!

Gaby Bee said...

What a fabulous find! The collar is really amazing!
Thanks for stopping by. I always enjoy meeting new people :-)
Gaby xo

Just Between Us Girls said...

I love that collar and all the history you provide. It always amazes me that you are able to tat today... a wonderful and complicated art. Thank you for stopping by and leaving such sweet comments.

Linda said...

This is just beautiful, so very delicate....a wonderful addition to your tatting collection. Nimble fingers must have created this....hugs, Linda

peggysue said...

True lace can be framed, I had two pieces of lace or embroidery done by my grandmother framed for my mom.
The fact that all those little picots were sewn together, yikes! I cannot being to fathom how long it must have taken the original maker.

LadyShuttleMaker aka MadMadPotter said...

You are one lucky girl. I have only seen this type of tatting in person once before...I'm guess'n it's pretty darn old.
I am thankful for all the design techniques that have been discovered, especially in the last decade by so many talented designers.

Snap said...

Wow! Just thinking about tying all those picots makes my head spin. Wow! What a treasure.

Carol Lawecki said...

Oh My, that's a beautiful collar. I can't imagine the time it took to tie the individual pieces of tatting together and make this. Thank you for sharing this. Have a great day!

Dolores said...

All the work that went into one collar. I do hope the maker(s) are looking down on you kindly. You are keeping their handwork alive.

TattingChic said...

Thanks Gaby Bee! I'm glad you stopped by.

Hi Pat, thanks for letting me share it with you. I'm glad you came on over to visit!

Hi Linda, thank you. Yes, I agree, someone with nimble fingers must've created this collar.

Hi Peggy Sue. That is so sweet that you had some lace your grandmother made framed for your mom!

Yup, Lady Shuttlemaker, we have had a lot of tatting techniques discovered in the last decade or so by some talented designers. I'm wayyyyy grateful for this one today...everytime I see this piece I'm reminded of how glad I am for the modern join!

Hi Snap! The thought of tying all those picots makes my head spin, too! LOL!

Thank you, Carol. I'm glad you stopped by. It's nice to share it with people (like yourself) who can really appreciate it.

Hi Dolores, thanks! It is a lovely collar, isn't it?

LiLi M. said...

What work, but how special to see this.
This morning I went to an antiques market and I had to think of you; there was a lady selling these spools and some tatting work. Since we 'met' in blogland I was thinking of the proper dutch translation of tatting which is: frivolité. Thanks for sharing, have a lovely day!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful collar! What a great find! Since it is a notched shawl collar, I would think might be Victorian. I think that is the first time that collar shape is seen in women's fashion. The motifs could have been made much earlier and redone into the collar you have today. That may be why old and new techniques were used.

Julia said...

That collar is gorgeous! I cannot imagine the time and love it took to make such a beautiful creation! I looked and looked to see if I had a photo of a collar that I sewed onto one of my grand daughter's dresses. I only found one photo that didn't have a close up of the collar, but It was an antique hand made lace collar. Your post reminded me of it.
I love your blog!

Lori said...

my, that is a lovely and intricate...and all of the little ties to time consuming that must have been...truly a labor of love...thanks for sharing...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting such detailed photos of the tatting pieces you have collected. I enjoy looking at them.

There's an article in Interweave Crochet this month that includes information on Riego's contributions to crochet, as well.

Sally Kerson said...

Oh what a lucky find! The collar must be very delicate - a tatters dream to possess such an antique. The history lesson was also interesting, ah but ladies had more time for crafts years ago, sadly these days we have to do EVERYTHING and all at the same time!

Jenny said...

OMG! This collar is sooooooooooo beautiful! I am so glad that it has ended up in the hands of someone that appreciates all the time, effort, love, & techniqure that has gone into making it.

mica said...

Beautiful collar! I am sooo happy we don't have to tie our picots together anymore.

Tudy said...

How beautiful and unusual. I am glad we do not have to knot our picots together now.

EnlightenedByAngels said...

Wow what a cool find! I am working on a doily now that has lots of motifs to join together. . . every since you told me about how picots used to be tied I have thought maybe it would be easier to just make the motifs and then tie the picots together.
Upon looking at this picture and seeing the little ties that I would have to make. . . I have changed my mind. . . it looks much easier to just continue joining the picots the way I learned how to.

But maybe that is what the person who made this thought. . . that they would make the little round motifs then sew them, probably the way they first learned how, then made the clover edging in the "new" way. . . Who knows??? just a thought

(how funny my word verification is zitclr, I broke out with a huge zit on my face this morning) LOL

Heather said...

What a beautiful collar - thank you for the little bit of history lesson too, it was very interesting - my goodness, what do you do with all these lovely tatting treasures you have?!? Hugs.

Elyse said...

hello my friend!

a beautiful and interesting post!

i would love to know how you first fell for tatting.


Ladytats said...

Ah, Chiclet,
it looks very like the doily my grandmother made back in the 20's. she too tied all the picots together between motifs. she did picot joins in the motifs.

are you going to display this?

singtatter said...

A very nice pattern in the collar. A neat piece of treasure. I have got a tatted collar from my mother which my father bought for her, not really an antique (just a few tens of years), and just simple rings and chains, but even that, I treasure it.

TattingChic said...

Hi Lili! Thanks for thinking of me! Frivolité also looks like that is how it's spelled in French, too! Very cool, thanks for sharing that with me! You totally ROCK, Lili! ;)

Hi Yarnjourney! Yes, it definately has a Victorian style to it, doesn't it? I also think that perhaps the inner part of the collar is done by one person and the edging was done much later by another person (perhaps to replace the rings that were joined by thread and had been disintegrating. Or it very well could've been done by the same person (inner part earlier and the outer part much later). It's just that the inner part and the outer edging look like they were tatted by two different people since the tension looks so very different. It looks like the inner rings were done by older, arthritic, shaking hands with looser tension and the edging looks like it was done by younger, much more nimble fingers.
Who knows!

Hi Julia, that handmade lace collar sounds beautiful! Thanks for sharing that!

Hi Lori! it must've been time consuming, aye?

Thanks, Sayingthings! I'm glad you like the close up photos! I thought there'd be a few people who would want to get a better look at it. Yes, I remember that Mlle. Riego had contributed a LOT to crochet, too. I'll have to check out that article you mentioned! Thanks for telling me about it!

Hi Sally, yes, the collar is delicate. It seems that the motifs, themselves, are fine, but the tied joins have disentigrated. Luckily it can easy be restored with a few knots, LOL!

Thank you, Jenny! I'm glad it ended up in my hands, too! It's also so nice to be able to share it, too!

Thanks, Mica! Me, too!

Glad you like it, Tudy! I'm happy about that, too, LOL!

Yes, LOL, Enlighted by Angels, it is much easier to join picots with the modern join!
The collar may have been done the way you are saying. It kind of looks like 2 different people worked on it...or even the same person...just added the edging many years later or something. Who knows!

Hi Heather and thank you. What do I do with all those tatting treasures...hmmm...I blog about 'em, LOL! I have a cedar chest that some of the really older things have been in (like this collar). The dress and the doily are out.

Hi Elyse! I wrote about what I thought of a tatting as a very young child in this post and in this Mother's Day Post I wrote about how I learned!

Hi Ladytats! Wow! Do you still have that doily your grandmother made!?! That is really cool! If you do still have it, I would love to see it! I hope you show it off on your blog sometime.

Hi Singtatter! Oh, that sounds like a treasure! That is wonderful that you have it now! That is sweet that your father bought it for your mother! OH, so sweet!

shirley said...

Very pretty piece to own!! I would have given up if I had to tie all those pieces together.

Anonymous said...

s delicate thing is done by hand - that is always something very special. And oh what mystery as to how long this lace has lived on and what story goes with it. Did your heart go pitter patter when you laid your eyes on it? :-)


Judy said...

I love your collar. It is so very pretty and dainty.

Kathy Niklewicz said...

Hi TattingChic!

It's been awhile since I've commented, and didn't want you to think I haven't been visiting!
You're almost posting faster than I can keep up with you!

First of all, I'm wondering if you have set a some kind of record with 50,000 visitors on a blog that's a little over a year old! Of course, it's no wonder you have achieved this amazing number! You have one of the most cheerful, friendly, humorous and entertaining blogs on the Web - plus you're a great teacher! And I needn't mention your dedication to responding to everyone!

Did you ever have aspirations to be a professional writer?
You definitely have a talent for it.

This exquisite 'rescued' piece of tatting is certainly exceptional. (Almost makes my wrists hurt just looking at it!) I've often told visitors at the fairs that tatters sewed rings together before they knew how to join them; but to see it up close is really amazing - and scary! I've also said that if the world was waiting for me to figure out how to join rings, they'd still be waiting! And yet it's so simple, and 'obvious' - once you know how! We're so fortunate to have been 'shown the way' so long ago!

Congratulations again on your 50,000+ visitors! As I already have two copies of Janette Baker's book, I didn't join your generous giveaway in order to let others the chance to win it. And it will be a treat for them to receive the lovely tatted heart from you also.

Have a great day today, and congratulations in advance to the winner of your giveaway - soon to be announced!

Draffin Bears said...

Hi TattingChic,

Love your tatted collar and wonder what sort of dress or blouse it had been on.
What are you going to do with it?


Vinnie said...

Wow! Thats a beautiful piece of lace!
so many picot joins...knotted?
Can't even imagine doing that!!

TattingChic said...

Thanks, Shirley! I think I might've given up too, LOL! The modern join is so much easier!

Hello, Li! Yes, I think my heart did start to pound a little harder when I saw it! I have found the most fabulous bits of tatting in old antique shops where they're stuffed in a drawer full of linens and the (unwitting) shop owner is telling me that I "won't find anything in there". I never know if they KNOW that there's a precious piece of tatting in there or not, LOL! Probably not, since most pieces of tatting I've found are erroneously labelled as "crochet", LOL!

Thank you, Judy! Glad you came by for a visit!

Thanks for your congrats, Kathy! I know what you mean about those joins! I'm sure people probably really enjoy your tatting demonstrations! I am glad you've started your blog so we can see your beautiful work! Thanks for all your kind comments about my blog and my writing. I do love to write and have written short stories and poetry since I was a little girl! I learned to read and write when I was 4 and uttered my first poem to my Mom when I was 3! LOL! She told me that I was a poet from before I could write. I would like to become a professional writer. Thank you for your encouraging words!

Hi Carolyn! It is kind of fun to wonder what sort of garment it was on, isn't it? I often imagine that it was a dress due to the length of the front of it. I plan on framing it someday when I have the extra funds for that sort of extravagance. I may work on restoring it by sewing the disintegrated joins together.

Hi Vinnie, thanks for stopping by! I think you are asking if it's knotted. Well, you'll have to read the post to find out! ;)

Vintage Linen Treasures said...

I LOVE this kind of history! This beautiful collar was such a great find. New way or old way of joining, it's amazing to me!!!
Patricia :o)

The Victorian Parlor said...

The collar is beautiful!!! I often pick up pieces of antique lace when I find them in antique shops or yard sales. Recently I purchased a bag of lace remnants and inside was a lovely tatted collar which I have since used to embellish one of my historic re-enactment dresses:).



Betzie said...

Amazing handiwork for sure...I suppose before TV and the computer and all our modern day distractions, this was just something elseto occupy one's time...and how lucky you were to find it!

TattingChic said...

Thank you, Patricia! I'm glad you liked the post. It's fascinating to me, too! LOL! (ahem...not MY blogging...but the antique tatted fascinating to me, too...just wanted to clarify! ha ha!)

Hi Kim! That is so cool! I'm glad that beautiful piece of lace ended up in such good hands! I hope you show a closeup of that collar while you're dressed up in that outfit on your blog sometime! That would be cool!

Hi Betzie! Yes, I was so very lucky and so glad! Now, I'm glad to be able to share it here with all of you! :)

Tatskool said...

Oh Chic that was some amazing find, I doubt i would ever find anything like that here, don't know why but tatting never shows up. It stunning and a wonderful treasure, so glad that it belongs to you and that you took the trouble to show it to us.

TattingChic said...

Hi Tatskool! Thanks for letting me share it with you by coming by to visit! I don't know why it wouldn't be where you are, either. I guess there's some lovely Irish Crochet there, though!

CJ Stitching and Blooms said...

Congratulation to the winner!! I am sure you will love all the tatting goodies. Love the antique tatting color. Very lovely.

Have a great weekend. Hugs Judy

Sarah said...

I love this. I had no idea that they used to tat like that. Wow! I dont know if I would like tatting very much if I had to do it that way.

tales from an oc cottage said...

Oh, man! I just love stories like that!

m ^..^

Charmingdesigns said...

What a find!!! So. Cal. was just fabulous...would move back in a heartbeat if we all HAD a job, not had to FIND a

TattingChic said...

Hi Judy! Thanks!

LOL! Sarah, I don't think I would like tatting very much, either!

Thanks, m ^..^

Thank you, Charmingdesigns! Glad you had a good vacay!

Plays with Needles said...

I really enjoyed seeing this beauty. I wonder if you will try to reproduce it??

Nikki via The Scarlett Rose Garden said...

A beautiful find!! I'm *guessing* it's from the late teens but I could be wrong.

Shucks, I missed the give away! But I'm having one now so be sure to stop by!

TattingChic said...

Hi Plays With Needles! I will probably not try to reproduce it, but I may just try to restore it by tying the joins together that have disintegrated. Thank you for visiting. I'm glad you liked the collar!

Hi Nikki! I'm so glad you came to visit! Some people seem to think that it is from the Victorian Era, due to the motifs in the center. However, the edging around the entire collar is consistent with the time you mention due to the chains being incorporated into the design along with the rings...who knows!