Monday, April 14, 2008

Musings on a Monday

Sunday night I was revisiting "Tatting Techniques" by Elgiva Nicholls and it suddenly ocurred to me that I was very fortunate to have learned tatting at all - from a book I bought. I don't recall the book's title; it was lost in a flood. I do remember it did not have much in the way of visuals and didn't speak to being able to transfer a knot to the running line; sometimes called the "flip". It did not break down what was happening or when the transfer happened or the structure of the stitches. Books having a later publishing date present excellent, visualized instructions; and, there are very good on-line videos from which to learn.

I vaguely recall I made a dark blue table mat about 16 x 19 inches which I gave to my SIL because she had made a lovely quilted hanging for me. I know I tatted at least fifty snowflakes from Vi Sunderman's book because I found them covered in mud, post flood. Apparently I managed to produce a very lopsided Christmas tree - which survived the flood - promptly claimed by my grandson, Chris. Of course there is that parenthetical period of time during chemotherapy when I totally forgot how to tat.
Because I didn't know the thread was supposed to 'flip'' or 'jump' it was not at the front of my nebulous brain. Fortunately, for me, the flip just happened! I was unaware this is the component for success in tatting.
I actually learned that later, when I did attend two - three hour classes in order to learn how to use a ball and a shuttle. ( East Sacramento, CA) The first three-hour session was when I first heard and saw the frustration one could experience without the 'flip, pop, jump' of the transfer! For once, I kept my thoughts to myself instead of planting my foot firmly in my mouth! Praise be!

Reading Elgiva Nicholl's book, last evening, made me realize how little I really knew back then about the topics she discusses in her books. I must admit her algebraic style of pattern writing, introduced in later chapers, left me with a dull headache! She was very precise in her opinions of terminology and way of tatting. I think I may have enjoyed learning from her in person as I do appreciate someone who speaks the "King's English." But after reading a bit from the book (the first three chapters) I reflected that I would probably have been so intimidated by the book that I would never have picked up a shuttle! I am fortunate to own a good collection of her books.
That being said, if you really want an academic study of tatting - this is a very good textbook. If you want to learn design - it is indeed very good. I feel I may have tried Ms Nicholl's patience with my blase, laid-back approach to her beloved craft. There is a realistic, logical reason for my attitude.
I have always tended to be a perfectionist; however, as a realist I acknowledge that at my age; I do not have 30 years to refine my craft!
If my tension is not on par with those I truly admire - I am not going to be discouraged and give up. I don't have enough years left to tat as well as Martha, Sharon, Zena, Jane, Linda, Marilee, Rachel and a myriad of others I have not mentioned due to lack of space! I do not mean to give the impression that I will not be aware nor work towards improvement; just that I have no unrealistic expectations of myself. I tat for the joy of tatting! I do enjoy their patterns and having examples of their work in my hands. I can hardly believe such tiny, perfectly tensed, stitches as are on the umbrella, tatted by Martha; and, the hearts from Sharon and Rachel. The beadwork on Zena's earrings - ooh la la! Let alone the swimmingly stunning, dolphin suncatcher I acquired from Jane Eborall and the jewlery I've bought from Marilee*. And have you looked the rainbow Linda produced in block tatting? *BTW Marilee sent me a darling bookmark!
I will ever be in awe of those even stitches done in very fine threads and the resultant firm, neat piece.
news flash. . . . .
*** Linda Davies' block-tatted rainbow is the homework in Georgia Seitz's online class on April 21st - so if you want to learn block tatting; now is the time to join in the on line class! As I use to tell my College students, "be prepard to think, don't leave your brain at the door!" There is information in the right hand column about how to connect with these classes and a link is available from Georgia for the pattern. A grand plus to these classes is the fact that many of the designers who produce the books that we use, are in the class. ***


Linda S Davies said...

Bravo Beverly! You and I both learned to tat from a book with very little instruction and I too was lucky I managed to get the "flip" as it was not mentioned at all! I have to admit that I am a perfectionist and soon learned to have very even stitches. I have still got the very first item I ever made - an edging - the last part is much better than the first part! Your little parasol is beautiful - It has been a pleasure to see you progress over the months.

TattingChic said...

Hi BJ,
I love Elgiva Nicholl's book as well. It was one of the very first books I purchased of my now 130+ tatting book library. I'm sorry to hear you lost it in a flood.
I enjoyed reading your Musings.

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

Lovely writing BJ,
I too learned tatting through instructions, not from a book, but a tatting booklet .. from Coats, I think. In fact I don't have any problem following written instructions. That was how I first learn crochet and knitting and some embroidery stitches. In fact I have managed to assemble some flat-packed furniture, like those from Ikea by just following the enclosed instructions. I can't remember much about how I managed to do the flip or the pop. Like you, I guessed it just happened, :-).

BJ said...

Hi Linda, Tattinchic and Jon! Thanks for visiting.
Unfortunately Linda, I have not conquered even stitches. And the little Parasol was done by Martha, so I can see what I have to strive towards!
I didn't loose my Elgiva Nichols book in the flood, but the little book from which I learned to tat.
Like you Jon, if it is in a book with written directions I can accomplish the task. My daughter, Kristen, is the one who is gifted at reading schematics for putting furniture pieces together. I am not good at puzzle-making. But if the directions are composed of words - then it isn't a problem for me to succeed. My first teachers did a very good job with language skills as I was growing up!
Thank goodness for Teachers!

Marty said...

Your musings are always so thought provoking and well written, BJ. It's a pleasure to visit your blog.