I adore old time tatting patterns. I search out, swap and acquire vintage tatting booklets, old magazines and even old newspapers which carried needlework columns. Dusty, moldy, spotted with age, these patterns with faded gray photos are a treasure trove of inspiration to all tatters. But, my first thought, usually, was, "How would that look in red or purple or an ombre green?"
Many modern tatting publications are in color now but it still surprises me that so many have photos of white lace on black or traditional ecru on white. The book with color lace photos really stands out among tatting books. This is especially true with a recently released pattern book from Handy Hands, Tatting, Inc. Edited by Barbara Foster, this 28 page booklet has color on every page. Abbreviations and instructions are color coded. There are about 15 patterns and notes are included for both needle and shuttle tatters.
So far, dear tatter, you are probably about to yawn thinking this is just another ho-hum book review. Well hold onto your shuttles, folks, you are about to be dazzled. From the front cover to the back, every page has lace edgings in glowing gorgeous colors!
Handy Hands took a bold step and created a model for each pattern using only one type of thread, the new Lizbeth thread which debuted last year. Lizbeth thread comes in a staggering number of color combinations. Just listen to some of their names: Western Sunset, Tutti Frutti, Confetti, Wildflower Garden, Razzle Dazzle, Tropical Punch, Lollipop, Root Beer Float, Peacock Blue and my personal favorite, Island Breeze.
Are you thinking, "Well, you can call a thread Root Bear Float and it is still just brown?" Prepare to be surprised! This is NOT our grandma's ombre thread. Root Beer Float is a thread containing 5 colors! Mocha brown in dark and medium tones, light beige brown, medium brown and light brown. And Wildflower Garden? This variegated thread has a light purple, medium tones in lilac, autumn orange, pink coral, and blossom pink, light English rose and a dark olive. Seven colors blended together just as you might see in a country meadow. The thread is a 6-cord cordonnet of mercerized Egyptian cotton. Sizes are 10, 20, 40 and 80 (25 - 10 gram balls) and it is reasonably priced.
Book has one more treat for the tatter which I have not seen in a tatting book before! There are written instructions on how to attach tatted lace to a spoked doily center or a hanky.
Are spokes new to you?
The holes at the edge of the cloth are called spokes.
Both linen and cotton doily centers and handkerchiefs come hem stitched with 1 - 3 rows of holes or "spokes." The tatter may join the lace directly into the spokes as the lace is being created. However, the lace will long outlast the cloth, so it is preferable to attach the completed lace afterwards. The photos show how to measure and select the spokes to which the edging should be sewn. Tatting a sample repeat will aid the tatter in measuring where the joins occur.
Tatting all the patterns in this book will be a joy for all tatters.
[Ed.'s note: This was a gift for my tatting library from a long-time friend and fellow tatter.]