Translate this Blog

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Oh my, I really need to keep myself to a schedule.  Life is just running away with me.  I guess that's okay, though, means I have a real one instead of living in Cyberville.  

So, I have been back from Tat Days in Indiana for just over a month now.  Lisa Greenlee Adams of Tatting Corner in Anderson, IN really does do a lot of work to make everything appear seamless.

This was her second year hosting such an event, and it was my first ever session of teaching more than one or two people at a time.  I will tell you what, I had a blast!  Do you want to increase your knowledge of how to do something?  TEACH!!  Your students are such a wealth of information, you have no idea!  It also makes you try harder to be prepared for those questions that come up.  You do more research, you practice more techniques; heck, I even taught myself basic needle tatting and I couldn't be happier that I did! 

Let's get one thing very clear, here.  I do not hold with that old argument "My tool is better than your tool". Needle, shuttle, it's all the freakin' same...they all make the same knot, the same rings, chains, picots, all worked in rounds, all uses the same thread, it's all tatting.  Yes, the process to make a ring or finish a chain might be a bit different, and adding beads might be a bit of a challenge with one over the other, but they all make tatted lace.  Gloria Nelson is an absolutely wonderful lady and there is very little about needle tatting she doesn't know (and her work is absolutely exquisite!).  By the same measure, Karen Cabrera from Florida is one of the best shuttle tatters I've ever seen, and her tutorials are phenomenal.  They both do beautiful work, but one is not better than the other.

I found this online one day while searching for tee shirts:

It has all things I like on it.  A cat (what breathing human being doesn't think cats are at least interesting?)  A tatting needle AND a tatting shuttle, and the legend of Puss 'n' Boots.  Yup, gonna put this puppy on a tee shirt!

Back to Tat Days.  Sorry, I got side-tracked.  Lisa was one busy lady.  We had all kinds of things to look at, she opened her store so we could all shop for those things we wanted to look at before we purchased, the instructors (myself excepted, don't wanna toot my own horn) were phenomenal, and this was a very well-attended event.  I got to re-connect with some folks I met last time that I don't otherwise get to see, met some wonderful folks I had never met before, and I got to teach four classes of talented folks that really loved what they were doing.  I was so honoured to be there.

I did manage to take two classes, though, one of which was with Carollyn Brown, a very sweet lady from Tennessee.  She showed us how to cover the bow of a skeleton key with beautiful lace, like this:

This is my version of Carollyn Brown's Key to Happiness pattern, a class taught at Tat Days in Anderson, Indiana, July 2019.

Folks, I can't say this enough:  Find someone with whom to tat.  Find a group you can join, or another person to meet for coffee even once every couple of months.  Save up your sheckles and go to a convention, if you can, even just one (Fringe Element Tatters is hosting Fringe Tat Days in Cambridge, Ontario at the end of September, in case you're interested!)  It's a chance to "talk shop" with someone that speaks your language!  Yes, knitters and crocheters have groups that always say "sure, we'd love to have you, come on out" but you feel rather alone if you're sitting there watching them all work away with their yarn and talking knit, purl, double crochet, half doubles, whatever they're working on.  You likely also do one or both those crafts, and you understand what they're talking about and can likely help them.  My point is:  it's still a lonely feeling to sit with a group of crafty people and still have no one to talk with about what you're doing.  Yes, online groups are fine, but we need to be out there with other people or we're going to lose our minds.  And you will learn from each other.  That's the best part; the learning and exchange of information.  

I'm meeting a lady named Fiona Geisinger who will be visiting Moose Jaw, SK from Edmonton, AB this coming Saturday, August 31, at Chrysalis Coffee at the corner of High and Main Streets at 1pm.  If you're in the area, and you tat, and you have time, please bring your tatting and join us!!  We would love to meet you for sure!

Until next time, my friends:

Happy Tatting!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Hello all you lovely folks!! You'll never guess in a zillion years what I was doing all weekend!  

I went to Tat Days in Anderson, Indiana!  I had an absolute blast!  Lisa Greenlea Adams, who runs Tatting Corner, is a friend of mine and let me tell you, she can throw a party!  I'm tired, I'm still unpacking all the wonderful things I bought at the Tatting Corner and still trying to percolate all the wonderful things I learned, but another awesome experience.  You really need to try to attend at least one of these events.  You do know that the Fringe Element Tatters are having their convention in September, right?  And that it's in CANADA!  It is being held in Cambridge, Ontario and if I hadn't already committed to going to Indiana, I would be going there.  Put it this way, folks, events like these are where we can have "knotty thoughts" and say "knotty words" and do "knotty things" and no one can say we're misbehaving!

So, I have another interview for you lovely folks to read.  This nice lady is Samantha Melnychuk from British Columbia.  She has been tatting for quite some years, and has even published some very impressive books.  Three, to be exact!!  Of which have a copy of each, by the way!  So happy to have those in my library!

Without further delay, I introduce you to:  Samantha Melnychuk!!

1.  How long have you been tatting?

I started when I was around 12 or 13, so around 1995-ish.

2. What first drew you to learn?

I was looking through my grandma's copy of Ms. Beeton's needlework and asked my grandma what tatting was (because the pictures weren't very clear, being old-timey pics) and she said that it was an old craft that nobody did anymore. Because I' so contrary, I had to prove her wrong by learning how to do it.

3. How did you learn; did you have a teacher?

I taught myself to tat in an afternoon, maybe two. I used many different books: Weldon's Needlecraft, Better Homes & Gardens Needlecraft Book, and others. I would have LOVED if YouTube video tutorials existed back then. I would have gotten the 'flip' so much more quickly.

4. Needle, shuttle, both? Why?

I'm solely a shuttle tatter, if only for the sole reason because that's what I learned, and I find I can get much more uniform stitches with the shuttle. Also, I'm not limited by the size of gthe needle as to how small of thread I work with, because my favourite is 100 or smaller.

5. What do you get from this artform?

I like that I'm one of the people who carried on this craft into the future. I get a tactile experience with working different kinds of fibres. I like designing and figuring out how I can get one element to move to the other and one round to the next without having to cut and tie. I love that it's lace and I made it.

6. Are any other family members tatters?

I'm not 100% sure. My grandma had a yellow Bakelite shuttle that her mom had, but she doesn't ever remember her mom tatting. My great-grandma on that side was British, so it's possible she did when she was younger.

7. Do you have an online "presence"; a blog or Facebook page you'd like to see folks visit more?

I don't really have any online presence anymore, other than a very fledgling Etsy shop for dog accessories called "Amazing Pet Stuff by G & T" that is currently offline while we finish unpacking, painting, and decorating.

8. Have you published any books or patterns, inspired any gadgets or developed any techniques?

I've self-published three tatting books: "A Veritable Tatterd Blizzard", "The Psychedelic Shuttle", and "Teeny Tatted Snowflakes". I also have a couple of individual patterns, one of which I know is floating around Pinterest.

9. Does your family support your art? What kinds of accommodations do they make?

My husband is amazingly supportive of all the crafty hobbies I have, even when they did end up accidentally injuring him (hook on the end of a shuttle in the butt HURTS! 😉) He enjoys driving hours to take me to specific craft stores in the 'States or Alberta or even across BC. He puts up with me yelling at him for interrupting my counting on weird patterns, and even the dogs understand what just another round/repeat means.

10. What does tatting do for you?

I don't do a whole lot of tatting anymore due to inflammatory arthritis, but it is so relaxing and allows me to just focus on what I'm doing.

11. Have you entered competitions? Shows? Anything you'd like to brag about?

I've entered some of my doilies in the Creston, BC Fall Fair and they've all won Best of Show. All of my books were also published before I turned 19, as well.

12. what do you hope to accomplish with your art?

I'd like to publish another book or two in the future, maybe design a doily that is non-traditional. I'm only really able to tat in high summer, so it'll probably take a while to accomplish.

13. Is there anything you DON'T like about tatting?

I don't like how joint sensitive tatting can be, even after stretching your fingers and wrists, warming them up.

I also don't like how fragile antique thread is, LOL. It's so pretty yet it doesn't hold up well with tatting.

14. Have you taught others to tat? Are any of your family members interested in learning?

I have taught a couple of people to tat over the years. Nobody in my family is particularly interested in learning to tat, but I have a baby niece incubating in my sister who may want to learn in the future.

15. Where do you see this artform, in general, in say, 20 years?

I would love to see tatting have the resurgence that knitting and crocheting have been enjoying. I would like to see it become a more mainstream craft with younger people picking it pu the same way they are with knitting and crochet. I think it would be so cool if tatting were incorporated more in different crafts the same way crappy store-bought lace is, but in place of the crappy lace.

I hope you'll consider looking up Samantha's books and purchasing at least one.  I have all three and love them.  They're easy to understand, quick to do, and you can decorate a whole tree with the little snowflakes in very short order.  

This is another Canadian tatter that has made a mark on the art in a country where many, including myself, thought we were alone for a very long time.  I'm so glad to be writing a blog where I can showcase tatters who work with a needle or a shuttle, and places where we can source supplies to support our local shops, and promote each other.  

What's projects are in process in your house?

Happy tatting, everyone!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Hello again, Friends.  I'm going to cut short my customary prattle and to introduce to you someone I have met in person and consider a good friend.  I thought with Canada Day being tomorrow, I would introduce to you someone Canadian who has made quite a mark on our tatting community.

Her name is Gloria Nelson.  She lives in a small community in Northern Ontario, Canada.  I have seen this woman's work and held it in my hands and it is absolutely exquisite.  She has the biggest heart and just loves to help people with whatever tatting questions they might have.

I asked her a series of questions (via email; she lives in Ontario and I live in Saskatchewan. A person-to-person interview was simply not possible) and she kindly indulged my snoopy nature.  I thought originally I would paraphrase her answers in the interest of brevity, but I thought we’d all get a better “feel” for who this Gloria person is in her own words.  Here are my questions and her answers:

  1.   How long have you been tatting?
    I started tatting in 1999.

  2.   What first drew you to learn?
   I saw a doily in an artisan boutique in Ste-Flavie, QC,       Canada while on vacation and knew it was not crochet or   knit.  I bought it and asked my husband’s grandmother what it was.  She said “frivolité” (the French word for “tatting”).  The woman who made the doily was 85 years old at the time.  Her name was written on the blue cardstock that the doily was attached to: “Marie-Ange Castonguay”.  I became so determined to learn how to make this beautiful “frivolité”!

  3.   How did you learn; did you have a teacher?
      I had a "Learn How" book for knitting and crochet at home and always ignored the tatting section at the back.  But afgter buying the doily at the artisan boutique, I found my book in my craft room and read the whole tatting section.  I found a shuttle at the store and started to teach myself to shuttle tat.  I made a few things but found the instructions in the book very vague.  So I went to the local library and they had the "Learn Needle Tatting Step-by-Step book by Barbara Foster.  I went home with that book and fell in love with needle tatting.

4.   Needle, shuttle, both?  Why?
   I am primarily a needle tatter and make all of my things with needle.  I can shuttle tat the basics.  I always felt more naturally comfortable with the needle so decided to focus on that tool and learn as much as I can.

    5.   What do you get from this artform?
I enjoy knowing that I am continuing a fibre art into a new generation. I like the challenge of reading antique patterns and tatting them with the needle techniques. I enjoy the delicate threads passing across my fingers. For me, tatting can he very peaceful and meditative... or it can be a creative challenge.

   6.   Are any other family members tatters?       
        I found out that my grandmother tatted.  She passed away when I was only a baby, so I never knew her.  When my aunt found out I was tatting, she mailed to me her mother's tatting shuttle.  It still had pink thread on the bobbin from the last thing she made.  It's precious to me.  You can see where her fingers grasped the shuttle - the metal is worn.  It's the only family member that I know of who tatted.  But I wonder where my grandmother learned it from...maybe her mother?  It would be interesting to know...

  7.   Do you have an online “presence”; a blog or facebook  page you’d like to see folks visit more?
Visit my Facebook Page: "Sparkling Light Creation Studio - Tatting by Gloria Nelson" Check out my Instagram: "sparkling.light.cs" And Pinterest: "Sparkling Light Creation Studio"

   8.   Have you published any books or patterns, designed  any gadgets or developed any techniques?
Tatting Tools: I am the original designer of the "Bare Thread Space and Picot Tool". It helps a tatter to make consistent lengths of Bare Thread Space and perfect picots! My tool is the only one with special slots to hold rings in place while making Bare Thread Space. It makes it so much easier to do! More information can be found here:

I have published individual patterns (you can see them on my Facebook Page in the Photo Album section, on Instagram, and Pinterest). And for books - well, I am currently working on one. It's too early to give any details but check my Facebook page for more information.

  9. Does your family support your art?  What kinds of accommodations do they make?
My family is very supportive of my tatting. They understand that I have a passion for making it and teaching about it.

10.What does tatting do for you?
     While I am tatting, I am in a meditative space.  I am in the creative and artistic part of my brain where I get lost in the stitches, the counting, the rhythm of sliding the thread, the beautiful colours.  In today's world, we need that place to unwind, relax, and just breathe.  I get that when I tat.  When I'm not actually tatting, but am still doing things related to tating (updating my Facebook page, drawing a pattern on the computer, filling orders, sending shipments, etc.), my mind is engaged and busy with what I enjoy.  It's a good place to be.

11.Have you entered competitions? Shows? Anything you’d like to brag about?
I was a Featured Artist at the Espanola Fibre Arts Festival* in 2016. The Introduction to Needle Tatting workshops I taught were so much fun! I have entered tatted pieces in the Fall Fair for my community and received ribbons and Judge's Choice awards. There is another announcement coming soon - you will have to check my Facebook Page for that information!

* Espanola Fibre Arts Festival in 2016, located in Espanola, Ontario, Canada.

 12. What do you hope to accomplish with your art?
I want to help tatting to advance and be made by future generations. I want to encourage beginner needle tatters to become the best needle tatters they can be! With the correct tools and tutorials, they can make quality handmade lace. I want to inspire non-tatters to consider learning, or to just look at tatting with admiration that all of it is made with just one stitch (the double stitch) and to realize that tatting is NOT a "lost art".

13. Is there anything you DON’T like about tatting?
I don't like knots in the thread where they're not supposed to be!  :o)

I also don't like the rivalry that sometimes happens amongst tatters about needle vs. shuttle. They are only the tools used to carry a thread to make the same end product: handmade lace with double stitches, rings, chains, and picots. Tatting is tatting. The double stitch doesn't care about what tool makes it... it's just happy to be made into something beautiful. :o)

14. Have you taught others to tat?  Are any of your family members interested in learning?
I have taught many people to needle tat in classes around my community, and at workshops at the fibre arts festival.  I hope I have taught more about needle tatting wiht the tips and tutorial sheets I share on my Facebook page, Instagram and Pinterest accounts., and have shared in the many Facebook groups in which I participate.  And unfortunately, nobody in my immediate family tats.  I have teenage sons who prefer playing baseball, and other creative family members who prefer drawing and painting over any of the fibre arts I enjoy.

15. Where do you see this artform in general in, say, 20 years?
In 20 years, I hope tatting will have more groups that gather together in person, on a regular basis, in communities worldwide.  The knitters and crocheters have their weekly gatherings at local yarn shops.  Let's have the tatters do that, too (and get more local shops to stock tatting thread and supplies!).  I also hope that tatters and artists will blend together and use tatting in works of art.  Tatting is not just about Grandma's doilies on a shiny living room table.  Tatting can be incorporated creatively into many forms of art and i would like to see that happen more.

And in 20 years, I want to be able to walk into any craft store and when I ask where the tatting supplies are, the salesperson will actually say "Follow me, they're over here" instead of the "Tatta what?!?" response I get today.

On a personal note, I know Gloria to be a warm, inviting, intelligent, talented woman with a wonderful sense of humour who will help you in any way she can.  I extend an invitation to you to go visit her Facebook page, or go explore her Instragram or Pinterest accounts.  You would  be amazed at the collection of resources she has accumulated that are applicable to both shuttle and needle tatting.  

The best thing about Gloria?  She's 100% born and bred CANADIAN!!

Happy Canada Day, m'Dears!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Well, folks, here I am again! I can’t believe how fast time is flying by!! It gets closer and closer to when I leave for the convention at Tat Days in Anderson, Indiana and it seems time has sped up! I’ve had my ticket booked for a few months when the event seemed so far away. “I’ll have plenty of time to get my things together” I said to myself. Famous last words... 

At the time I’m writing this, I have 10 days until I’m due to check in at the airport. Where did all my prep time go???!! I’m madly making lists and winding bobbins of thread so I don’t run out. I know I am attending an event hosted by, essentially, a store, but I want to spend my money on the good stuff! Lisa, I hope you’re stocked!

On the home front, my house is officially painted. It went from a lovely butter yellow that I loved (and Beloved hated, I found out), to a dark, almost military green (which Beloved loves and of which I’m still undecided). To be honest, it's almost a military green and while I do like green, I'm not sure I like looking at my home and thinking I should report to the CO at the barracks.

In addition, I have a green-splattered dog and a cat that seems to think it was a good idea to rub the corner of a house with wet paint. As my mother used to say: “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken.” Anyone know how to get oil paint out of animal fur short of shaving the poor creature?

Enough about me, I have another someone to add to our list of honoured mentors!  I introduce to you Fiona Geisinger!!  She's located in Edmonton Alberta, near the famous West Edmonton Mall.  She is a very nice lady and is more than willing to help you out if you have a question, or maybe just meet for a cuppa something, some tatting, and a giggle!  Her email address is, and her Facebook page is called Fiona's Frivolite at   Go have a look!

I do have a thought, since this blog is all about helping Canadian tatters with information, resources, and connections.  I'd like some input on adding online resources.  I'm thinking of adding a few websites with video tutorials or link to blogs that offer tips and techniques for both shuttle and needle tatters.  There are so many out there, but I have a few I've found helpful.  They might help you, too.  If you have any ideas, I'm all for hearing them!  I can't guarantee they'll be Canadian content (CBC terms are haunting me!), but it will be a Canadian person posting, so we're halfway there.

Well, my Lovelies, I'm off to figure out what I'm forgetting on my list of stuff to take to Indiana.  I know I'm forgetting something...

Happy tatting, m'Dears!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Hello, everyone!! Again, one of those irregular posts I seem to be so good at, but again, I've been a busy bee. I have been tatting, of course, working to support my habit, and getting ready to attend the second Tat Days in Indiana, this time as an instructor! I sure hope you've thought about going. It's nice to meet folks I talk with on a daily basis.

A word on tatting conventions: I never really thought about going until last year. I hate to admit it because I don't like giving it acknowledgement, but I'm not really great with new situations. I've had a problem with social anxiety for a very long time and while I have a great time when I'm actually IN the situation, my brain lets my imagination run away with me. I get very anxious, but once I'm there, I have a great time.

'Nuff about that: Back to tatting conventions. If you've never been to one, whether you're a newbie or an old seasoned pro, you should attend at least one in your lifetime. During the summer, there are many that occur across the USA, and one that I know of for sure in Canada at the end of September. The gathering of talent, experience and just plain NICE people is staggering! For me it was a combination of meeting so many like-minded people, putting faces and voices to names, learning new things and LAUGHING (I don't think I've laughed so much in my life) that had me coming away with a renewed sense of feeling like I was pursuing something important. I was exhausted, the trip itself was long and arduous (I don't ever want to go through LaGuardia Airport again! Too many people and I'm just not accustomed to crowds of that size.), and I was so glad to get home, but I had a very good time. I met wonderful people, I learned great things, I found out how supportive the tatting community can be, and I can't recommend the experience enough.

So, I got something in my email today from the Canadian Lacemakers Gazette!

I'm a registered Canadian Lacemaker! I've never been an official anything, really, and there are now only four of us in the entire province of Saskatchewan, but I'm ONE OF THEM! I'm rather pleased! Okay, enough patting myself on the back.

I have another shop for all you tatters in Quebec and the Maritimes! I introduce you to Broderies Raoul Vennat in Boucherville, QC. They're located at 1031 rue de Nogent, Boucherville and their phone numbers are (450) 449-7575, (514) 924-3049, or toll-free in Canada AND the US at 877-981-7575. If you're in the Montreal area, they're not too far to go and online shopping is always available. Their website is translatable if you use Google, and they even have a handy map on their website contact information for where to find them!

How'd that for service? Their website at is well-laid out and easy to navigate. The lady that I emailed to ask her permission to use her contact details was very polite, named Francine, and she was very enthusiastic about providing service both in person and online. Give their website a look; you might find something you've needed and didn't know it!

And I'm not done! I have one called Viviel's Laceworks, whose website is at

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a phone number for the shop on the website but Marisa, the lovely individual with whom I have been communicating, is particularly interested in being able to provide online shopping services in Canada. She has noted, as have I, that there aren't a great many resources for supplies for we lacemakers in Canada!

Viviel's Laceworks is located at 1244 rue de Mon-Village in a little town called St. Lazare, QC. You can find their physical shop here:

You really should go have a look at their online store. It's VERY well organized, simple to navigate, and they're absolutely set up for whatever strikes your fancy. They have a wide selection of tatting tools for both shuttle AND needle, books on a wide variety of subjects, and a very nice selection of different brands and sizes of threads. Lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!

I love adding names and stores to my lists. It means there is a true interest in tatting and although it still seems to be in its' infancy, it's growing all the time. It's an exciting time to be a Canadian Tatter!

Uh-oh, I'm being paged from outside to go help paint the house. What fresh trouble has my dear husband got himself into now...

Happy tatting, my friends!