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Dexter Yarn Co. & Tatting

The name Dexter Yarns is perhaps less well known to tatters than other vintage publications, but at least one of the Dexter booklets featured tatting. N.G.B. Dexter 1788-1866 (aka Grandpa Dexter)founded Dexter Yarn Company in 1820 in Pawtucket, RI. Dexter Yarn Company made high quality crochet and knitting cottons. As we have read earlier about other thread companies, Dexter Yarns also had a marketing tool. This was to publish instruction/pattern books ("Dexter Art Books"), leaflets, and packets in various areas of needle arts such as knitting and crocheting, in order to create a need for the threads. Prizes and premiums were very common also.

In 1927, Dexter Yarn was acquired by Collingbournes. During that time one very successful marketing gimmick was the use of the name "Grandma Dexter" in advertising. They did business as Dexter Thread Mills until it was bought out by LeeWards. And in the 1990's LeeWards was bought out by the chain of Michaels. How the threads intertwine!

Even today, Michael's stores and Michaels.com continues to support tatting by offering tatting threads, tatting needles and tatting shuttles. They carry basic instruction booklets and some pattern books also. Although stores vary, tatting classes are frequently offered by the arts and crafts or needle work departments. If your local store does not offer tatting classes, please request them.

Dexter No. 3 Filet Crochet and Tatting

Copyright 1917 by Lillian Frances Brown, Boston, MA, this antique needlework booklet was produced by the Dexter Yarn Co. Pawtucket, RI whose introduction featured a description of their 100 years of progress. Five pages of the booklet contained tatting patterns, pages 10, 12 -15. It may be freely copied and shared.

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