Appalachian Folk Festival At the Historic Vance Birthplace

It isn’t often that we as a group of tatters and lacemakers are invited to demonstrate our skills. So I was pleased to receive an invitation from Kimberly Floyd of the Zebulon B. Vance Birthplace outside of Weaverville, NC late last spring. She had heard about The Thread Bears and invited us to attend their annual Appalachian Folk Festival.  

I agreed to come to the event, totally unsure if any other Thread Bear members might be able to attend.  The Birthplace is one of the sites affiliated with the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources as a state historic site.  Zebulon Vance was the governor of NC during the Civil War beginning with his inauguration to a 2-year term in 1862.  There is the house, a visitor’s center and at least one out building in which the Vance family lived and worked after obtaining the property around 1815.  It is a rather remote location today, and it is clear that when the only way to reach the farm was by wagon, on horseback or on foot, it was a remote location, indeed.  

I don’t know if the family had any members who tatted.  The spinning of flax and wool were certainly part of daily life there.  There was one person present at the Festival who was demonstrating spinning using a drop spindle. While spinning wheels were widespread throughout Europe in the early 1800’s, there were not so common at that time in these mountains.  In the bedroom of the main house was what appeared to be a Christening gown which was lined and was decorated with embroidery of the day.  The threads were quite a bit more coarse than threads we find today.

There were 3 of us who were present and demonstrating tatting.  Our “booth” was near the front door to the Visitor’s Center and we were directly in front of a large display describing Governor Vance’s career as a lawyer in Asheville, NC.  Here you can see Shonn along with examples of tatted doilies, bookmarks and other adornments for clothing and accessories.  We also had prepared some simple book-marks of large paperclips, ribbons and a small piece of tatting for our visitors.  There were about 180 visitors to the center that day, in spite of the cool rainy weather.  

Almost everyone who stopped by to chat with us had either an awareness of tatting, had seen it before or were totally unaware of the art-form.  Shonn is always willing to share his knowledge and skill with the shuttle and demonstrated often  while we were there:

The person from the NC Department of Natural and Cultural resources told us that in his 12 years of taping events such as this one around NC, he had never actually tapped anyone making lace.  We were amazed and at the same time honored to have made that distinction.  We will be watching for the video of the event in the weeks to come.


Following up on Tat Days 2017

The most wonderful thing about Tat Days is the networking!  For the past 7 years, I have had the privilege of meeting tatters from all over the United States, Canada and the UK.  Many of whom are marvelous persons,  experienced at the art and craft of tatting and who have influenced so many of us as we have grown in this lace form.  Wally Sosa was present this year direct from the eastern part of North Carolina. What a delightful teacher she is!!

 This year one of the Key Concepts was OYIA!!  Wally and Linda Reiff taught us several patterns using this form of tatting.  It’s a unique tatting form from Turkey which, according to one source I found locally in Asheville, doesn’t use the cotton threads so often associated with the creation of this form of lace.  Rather it relies on nylon or other synthetic threads that can be heated to secure the ends so that they don’t have to be sewn in to “hide the tails.”




These are some of the designs used in Wally’s classes and Linda’s class helped us create a lovely circular motif suitable for earrings or a broach:  

Other reference sources include the book “Needle Lace Flowers” by Figen Caldr which has a number of beautiful 3-dimensional patterns inside and is shown below.  There are also  several videos of this technique on YouTube. 


My source here in Western North Carolina created this necklace and earring set and has them for sale in her shop at the WNC Farmer’s Market


 I always enjoy myself and the company of other tatters when I go down to Tat Days – or any of the other conventions I have attended through the years.  Hat’s off to Tatting!!!


Award for The Thread Bears Tatting Blog

I was pleasantly surprised this past week to receive notification that The Thread Bears has won a place among the top 75 Tatting Blogs!  This means we are permitted to use the award banner you see here now.  Thanks to any of you who helped make this happen!

Keeping up a blog isn’t easy, especially if you have more than one ball to juggle in a day – and boy do I ever!  But Tatting is the one thing that helps keep me sane, so I make sure to work at it some almost every day!  There are a number of us who just put ourselves into sharing the patterns, tips, techniques and images that are what tatting has become.  We hope the pleasure is shared by many readers on a regular basis and that what is shown here helps to inspire others to grow in the craft!

Thanks again!

Back to the Drawing Board

Having had to stop working on my LLBean Top in favor of other projects for the group, for Tat Days and for the Yule Tree at the Monte Vista Hotel, at last I am ready to return to the blouse edging.  


Here is the basic design I had drawn out some time ago.  Over all the concept is a good one.  It follows the line of top-stitching just inside the boat neck upper edge of the blouse.  Previously I had begun working in a brightly colored thread – some older size 10 Flora in a pink – that wasn’t what I wanted at all, but would help me see what I was doing as I sized out the pattern for the neckline.  


While it’s not a bad start, it wasn’t really what I had in mind either.  So it’s back to the drawing board.  With a more subtle color in mind (I had chosen Lizbeth Herbal Garden in size 40) the bright pink in a larger than necessary size wasn’t really going to help.  So I’ve loaded up the shuttles and am ready to go again.

The Never Ending List of Projects

Every so often, projects are actually completed, at least that’s how it seems.  There are always several shuttles filled with thread attached to some length of edging, shuttles filled with some odd color of thread for demonstration or to help someone tat their way into or out of their current situation.  But then tatters also have projects in mind.

For the past couple of years, we have missed Sherry’s mothers Angel at the top of our Monte Vista Tree.  It has gone out on loan.  But the pattern is still available.  Tatsy is a company that has been around for some 30 years or more and with a presence on ebay, it’s pretty easy to obtain patterns.  So I got one.  The pattern pamphlet looks like this: 


Obviously the same pattern from the photo on the cover, it has a copywrite date of 1981 and looks to be rather simple to do over all.    So re-createing this for the top of the tree has become my personal endeavor for the year.  I am adding small gold beads to the skirt and will to the yoke as as well, when I finally get to it.  It’s coming along nicely and I’m looking forward to having the angel back atop the tree this year!


Who Needs Extra Shuttles?

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that la tatter should only have enough shuttles or needles to complete the project.  Any more and you never quite get finished.  oh….  but if you are a teacher?  What if you need that extra tatting needle or shuttle to demonstrate how a particular technique is carried out?  How is that concept reconciled?  Or what decisions can be made when your only granddaughter looks up and says “Will you make something for me, Granny?”  

That’s one thing that definitely requires a free shuttle.  So starting with a headband that fits her head, I embarked on creating a tatted cover for said headband.  It was going to be 2 specific colors and with beads.  So the project began with #10 Flora thread in white and purple with #10 glass beads that looked like little pearls.  Going out from the beg

inning wasn’t too bad, but the return trip up the second side involved 2 shuttles with beads and joins both above and below the molded plastic headband.  It was it’s own special challenge without a pattern of any sort!                                                                                

The headband had been decided upon in advance, but Granny felt like a little something extra would be in order as well.  And an available, pretty pink spring clip would certainly fill the bill.  It was adorned with a butterfly fashioned out of size 30 hand dyed cordonet  blended with silver Diamante metallic thread and following Deb’s Gr8 SCMR butterfly pattern , tatted as much for the practice of the Self Closing Mock Ring technique as for the design. 



So I guess I’ll continue to indulge myself with a few “extra” shuttles that are at the ready for that unexpected lil project I didn’t see coming.  Now back to my neckline. . .