I remember this piece of tatting – made entirely of plain rings and chains it was supposed to be a round motif that I put too many stitches/too many repeats in, making it ruffle a lot. By gathering it up around the flowers it allowed the rest of it to lay flat. It was a good way to use what might have been a mistake. This wasn’t my first attempt at designing my own patterns but everything I knew about tatting had been gleaned just by the experience of doing it. The only person I knew that even knew what tatting was, was my grandmother and she didn’t do much at all. There was no Internet to see other people’s tatting, so my exposure to patterns were in whatever books and magazines I could lay my hands on. The library didn’t have many books on it and magazines with tatting were few and far between. Yes, Workbasket was out there with a pattern or two a month, but that’s almost nothing compared to what we have available now. I had taken to coming up with my own patterns a lot of the time, simple though they were. I was following unknowingly in the footsteps of designers everywhere – trial and error: keep what you like, throw away what you don’t, but most importantly, keep trying!
As I look at the gift now I see all of it’s flaws, but also what went into it: the effort, the imagination, the skill, the courage to do something out of my comfort zone. And mostly the desire to give my mother something special that she would like and, hopefully, treasure. I must have succeeded as it still sits out in her living room, visible to all who enter her house.
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”