Sunday, 14 February 2010

How hard can it be, really?

I have been trying to learn a new skill. You may remember the tatting shuttles my eldest and youngest sister gave me recently, both inherited from Great Auntie Saima. As a happy owner of at least two shuttles (I still have not come across the one I believe was given to me years and years ago) I thought I ought to try to learn how to tat.

First thing to do was to buy a book: Learn to Tat by Janette Baker, with a DVD showing how to do it. I also bought a ball of thread to see how it should be. So far easy beasy.

Second step was to start learning the basics. Like instructed, I started with two different colours of thread, orange and red, because they were the same thickness.

Almost even knots, looking all the same. The result of about two hours twisting and turning and bending, and rewinding the shuttle once. Then I noticed that each and every single (double) stitch was wrong. They were red (shuttle thread) instead of orange (ball thread).

New day, turquoise cotton yarn for the ball thread. I played the DVD Lesson 1 over and over, learned to hold the shuttle and the left hand thread properly, but not the shuttle thread. Look at this, it is supposed to be turquoise knots only with no red visible:

For me, it is really hard! I have not given up yet, but I'm no longer thinking I will learn the basics in February. February is such a short month, too.

My stash reducing is not going too well either. I don't even count the fabrics my sister P dumped on me because I didn't ask for them. I just happened to buy some more fabric I felt I absolutely needed: Brown I just must have, always, grey I need for the big wall hanging project and the yellow was too pretty to leave in the shop. They are in fact bed sheets, good quality 100 % cotton at 7.90 € for 2.7 m which makes a little under 3 €/m. If I buy the same fabric by the meter, it will cost at least 5.50 €/m for the 1.5 m width.

On Friday I sent the 10 pillowcases to Jackie, so she can take them to the children's summer camp when the time comes. I hope she will get the 2,000 pillowcases she was planning to deliver this year. Here are the last two I made this month, and I used my Husqvarna Sapphire to write Good Night Sleep Tight on the green accent strip.


Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! We call it Ystävänpäivä, Friend's Day. I'm glad to call you my friends.


  1. I had a Great Aunt Saima also!!! And, I have some tatting threads and shuttles that have been sitting in a box for years- not Saima's, but maybe one day soon, I will attempt to tat!!! Good luck with it!!!

  2. Hi Ulla!!
    Happy Valentines' Day right back at you!! Tatting looks like a skill where you need someone sitting beside you guiding you through the whole procedure..Good for you for trying it on your own and with only a book!! Take care and have a wonderful day!

  3. Happy Valentines Day! Good for you for trying to learn to tat! That is awesome! You'll get is hard at first. It's easier with someone showing you how to do specific movements with each finger on your left hand, but it's great that you have the DVD, too! Don't put yourself down by saying "how hard can it be, right?" because learning the flip is the hardest part of tatting....THAT part is why everyone else says tatting is so hard, but once you get it down it is very easy because that's all you do! :)

  4. I also have two tatting shuttles and I tried tatting with a little booklet I have...only I didn't even know you're supposed to have two threads! LOL! You're way ahead of me!

    Happy Valentine's Day!

  5. Ooh what lovely pillowcases for Jackie's Hole in the Wall Gang charity. So pretty.

    With the sheets perhaps they could be classes as backings because of their widths so not really stash? :-) Erm trying to dig you out of that one. LOL

    Would you tube have a different video that might show tatting a little differently? Great that you are trying something new and pushing yourself.

  6. Good luck with your tate making. It looks a bit difficult to me. And you have made some darling pillowcases Ulla..

  7. I remember watching ladies tat when I was a girl. They were so FAST at it - - - but it looked HARD to me even then. I HOPE you get it mastered, I think you are "the bomb" for even trying!!! (That's a GOOD THING in American Slang in case you wondered!)

  8. Wow, good for you to want to learn how to tat! Looks difficult to me. But you know what they say "Practice makes perfect " and " Slow and steady wins the race". I am sure that you will get it soon.

    Those pillowcases look just wonderful!! I can't wait to get them and add them to the bunch for the camp. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! They will be so appreciated!! I will send you an e-mail when they arrive. I love the little touch on the accent strip, just perfect!

  9. Happy Friend's Day Ulla! You're a patient one with the tatting. I hope it goes well for you because I'd love to see what you make. Wow, Jackie will be thrilled. How sweet to stitch the sweet saying. I have a couple more pillowcases to make and then I'll be sending out a package too.

  10. oh my! good luck with the tatting, it looks way too complicated for me!

  11. Happy Belated Valentine's Day, Ulla! I'm so excited that you're attempting to tat! I've always wanted to do that so I will be watching to see how it goes with you! Love your pillow cases - I have never used the embroidery module on my machine! So far I haven't purchased any new fabric this year and have used only stash, but I have 2 gift certificates to use - maybe they don't count - LOL??

  12. You are a patient person, your attempts won't be in vain! Beautiful pillowcases for Jackie, the children will be so happy.

  13. Cogratulations on your go to learn to tat! Here we can see (very seldom!) elder women still doing this delicate "work". I think soon nobody will know anymore how tat with this special "tool".
    Good luck with tatting!
    P.S. By the way, did you receive my e-mail recently?

  14. Ah - congrats on your venture into tatting! I haven't mastered the skill (yet) but I keep telling myself that one day, I'll figure it out! It's one needlework skill that I think must be easiest to learn when learning from someone who knows how, rather than from a book. For some reason, I find needle tatting easier than shuttle tatting...

    Good luck on the journey!!


  15. I learned to tat with the aid of an old finnish book, recently I found the same book as a pdf in the web from this wonderful page:
    search for: Otava, Kustannusosakeyhtiö. Käpyily-ja solmeilutyöt and you will be overjoyed with the patterns and the drawn images of how-to =)


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