For over two decades, May was indeed a "Merry Month" for tatters. That was the month when the Burda group published the annual tatting course in its magazine "ANNA." My first copies were available only in the original German but in the latter years of its publication, it was also published in English. Now defunct, back issues are sold on the secondary markets.
"ANNA" was an all around magazine for needle artists of every genre. The embroidery lessons and the cross-stitch patterns are the finest I have ever known. Knitting, crochet and craft projects were always included. Linens to decorate the family table for every day and for special occasions were a mainstay of the magazine and so beautifully photographed. (I never could imagine "my" family sitting down to eat at such a beautifully decorated table...ketchup, soda, smashed peas, chocolate smears... ah no.) And, in May, the tatting course.
This magazine was developed by Änne Burda (28 July 1909 – 3 November 2005) neé Lemminger. She married into the German publishers, the Burda Group. (The biographical data on her reminds me so much of our Anne Orr who supported the needle arts for decades in the USA. See note below. Änne and her husband expanded the family business into women's magazines. First, in 1949, a fashion magazine, then the magazine Favorit, which was later renamed to Burda Moden. And later, "ANNA, Creative Needlework and Crafts."
The May issue contained many patterns for tatting which were seldom seen in other months as well as the ongoing tatting course. The instructions were given in print and in illustrations. And patterns were diagramed with both the double stitch count and tips on the method on working. Note in the sample page below how the procedure of climbing out is indicated on the diagram but also on the lace. Using a colored marker they have highlighted the spot where the climb out occurs. It further uses the colored thread to illustration a simultaneous join to two picot on the outer row.
The "ANNA" patterns specialized in the most traditional types of tatting, doilies, edgings, and linens. They were the sort of patterns we expect to find in the vintage "Needlecraft Magazine." For the larger table cloth sized patterns, a giant fold out paper with the diagrams was included. This foldout had information for the other projects, too.
The exquisite tatting was done by experienced tatters in all but a few issues. At one time I suspect that they lost their tatting editor because they used ill-made imports of mass produced, i.e., each round done by a different tatter while another person crocheted the rounds together, tatted doilies and table clothes as their models. I am sure that I was not the only tatter who wrote in to complain as they soon returned to the "good stuff." May has not been the same without my "ANNA" magazine.
It is well worth the effort to acquire back issues of this magazine. G. Seitz