Long time, no post

Good intentions abound in the blogging world.  No exception here.  It’s been a race with the Time Lords (for the Dr. Who Fans) getting ready for the 2018 Tat Days Convention, then attending the Vance Birthplace Fall Folk Festival where 3 of the members of the Thread Bears Tatting group gave demonstrations of tatting, and then there was a special treat!  I was able to purchase a ticket to attend this year’s public event at Hart Square Village.  Follow the link to learn more about the Village, its founder Dr. Bob Hart as well as its mission and events. 

It’s difficult to find authentic Appalachian log cabins because so many of them have fallen into neglect and rotted or were bulldozed in the name of progress.  Not only am I a tatter, but I am a videographer and historian.  So re-enactments are special, especially when they might apply to other aspects of my life.  I have wanted to attend the event at Hart Square for several years.  A friend brought me a photo he had taken of a doily in one of the cabins that he thought was a tatted piece.  The image was of such poor quality that I could not tell.  So I determined to go to see for myself.  

It took much of the day, but I finally found it.  Located in the Hoyle cabin dated 1850, the framed doily is about 18 inches in diameter.  I have no more information about the piece at this time, but it is a lovely well-preserved piece.  When more information is available, I’ll pass it along, but for now the satisfaction is in knowing that someone in the Hoyle family created this lovely piece.  Don’t believe it’s tatting?  Take a look at this detail:

The all-ring motif is unmistakable!   The cabin was built in 1850, yes, but it’s doubtful that the doily dates that far back.  It’s also not clear if it is made from linen (flax) or from cotton.  Flax was grown in that part of the world and cotton was not a local crop having to come from lowlands closer to the piedmont – Hart Square Village is located in the foothills not far from Newton, NC the county seat of Catawba county.  Among the re-inactors present were folks scutching flax, and spinning the fibers into threads.  There was also a bobbin lacer and after a wandering the grounds a while longer, I found 2 ladies who were tatting. 

I’m not sure their clothing was consistent with the times when Appalachian women were tatting.  While I know tatting had reached the Southern women of Atlanta by the time of the American Civil War (it’s referred to in “Gone With the Wind”), Mountain Women were a bit behind the times, so I don’t think many women were tatting until into the 20th century.  This would be hard to prove if it were not for the fact that Anne C. Orr wasn’t writing down cross-stitch, quilt, knitting, crochet and tatting patterns for Southern Woman Magazine until well after 1900. It’s doubtful that given the hard life of Southern Appalachian farm women after 1865, much time would be devoted to endeavors such as tatting or lace-making until times improved – closer to the end of the 19th century.  Written patterns weren’t necessary, of course, but it’s too hard to know how wide-spread tatting was in the mountains and foothills between 1860 and 1890.  Be that as it may, it was great fun to see the historic aspects of fiber arts – spinning, weaving, bobbing lace and tatting – portrayed so prominently. 

There were also several examples of knotwork present at the Hoyle cabin the likes of which I had never before seen. . .  The threads were rather coarse, almost like the cotton twine of a similar weight to what one might find for binding the legs of a Thanksgiving roasting turkey.  There were at least 2 examples draped over a chair and another sewn to the hem of a bed coverlet.  This photo is only one of the 3 designs present in the cabin.  Knotwork is rather rare to find as a hand created item.  This was a find, indeed!  

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