My Roots in Tatting

The year was about 1977.  As I walked into my Great Aunt’s room that day in Des Moin, Iowa, she was sitting on the side of her bed. In her hands she held a small wooden thing with thread wrapped around it.  Her hands were working quickly back and forth. From below her left hand was a section of lace hanging down.

After the introductions and the catch up that was needed I asked her what she was doing.

She had continued this hand action all the time that we were speaking.

She laughed at my question. She stated that, “You of all people should know what this is. It is Tatting and your Grandma Lincoln was one of the best Tatters in the country!”

My Grandma Lincoln had lived with us from time to time when I was younger. I remember her teaching me how to play dominoes.  I also remembered her being a quilter. I kind of remember her doing something that I didn’t understand.  It was likely the Tatting that she was famous for.

My Grandma Lincoln had married my Grandpa in Springfield, Illinois and then left for her life with him in Southern Saskatchewan, in Canada in the early 1900s.

She would have four kids in that small shack that my Grandpa had built for them.  It was in the middle of the flat prairie surrounded with miles of wheat, more wheat and still more wheat. There were mostly no trees – anywhere where they lived… just scrub bushes.

The wind blew through the small shack endlessly.  And in my mind the fact that she had brought her Tatting shuttle in her apron pocket from Illinois, was about the only thing that kept her sane.

As my Great Aunt, my Grandma’s younger sister told the full story I was amazed.

My Grandma had passed away a few years before this time.

My Great Grandpa Phillips had done Tatting and then he had taught his three daughters how to Tat.  There may have been fancy stores to buy things, but Great Grandpa was more practical than that. He carved three Tatting Shuttles and gave one each to his daughters.

My Great Grandpa was also woodcarver – not just whittling with a pocket knife from what I was told. He was a quilter and a weaver as well.

After listening to the great stories that my aunt told me, I asked her if she would teach me how to Tat. She started to laugh and almost fell off her bed.  She declared that, “I haven’t got enough time left to teach you how to Tat!”

I guess she thought that I might have been a challenge, maybe even impossible to teach.

It was a fun visit hearing all about Great Grandpa and the things he did.

I left the senior’s home and went directly to a small craft shop. I bought a silver shuttle, a ball of white cotton and a book entitled, “Learn to Tat”.

On the Flight back to Toronto I taught myself how to tat from the little book.

My Aunt Annie heard that I was Tatting. She in her very kind way sent me my Grandma Lincoln’s wooden tatting shuttle.. the one that my Great Grandfather had carved from hickory for her as a young girl.

Along with the shuttle she also gave me Grandma Lincoln’s last handkerchief that she was working on when she finished lace making on Earth.

Above and below you can see my treasures.

I hope Great Grandpa Phillips and Grandma Lincoln are some how able to see what I have done with this gifts they gave me.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

My Grandma Lincoln’s last piece of Tatting… and another shot of Great Grandpa’s Hickory Tatting Shuttle.

Posted in hand carved tatting shuttle, shuttle, tatting whisperer, Tatting. tatting shuttle, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Peterborough Festival of Trees

Peterborough Festival of  Trees

Do you remember the TV Program that is a classic now.. “Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree”? It was way back in 1965 when it was first aired…

On November 22, 2010, I felt a little like Charlie Brown… with his little tiny Christmas Tree. We had just installed(dropped off) our four foot, black tree covered with Tatting. Yikes four feet is not very big!!!

As my wife and I left the Memorial Centre Hockey Arena it was hard walking away. We were overwhelmed by a strange feeling. She said, “It feels like we are leaving our baby behind…”

I nodded in affirmation. I understood completely. Our “baby tree” that we had worked so hard on was now sitting in that big, cold arena floor surrounded by big beautiful trees all decorated in unbelievable ways. Most were seven and a half feet tall and one was over 12 feet high!

I felt like I should be sleeping there overnight to protect it!

Earlier in the evening we had brought the tree into the Arena and were told to sit it on the floor near the stage area. On its left side was a three tier high set of speakers to blast out the sound from the stage area. On its right were three big, beautiful trees loaded with prizes and gifts from the sponsor.

The poor little black tree sparkled… and I blushed. My tree was so small.

Some of the other designers came over to look at the little, tiny offering that we had just set up. They stood staring at the tree without any words. I thought for sure they would bust out laughing at the shrub in front of them.

One lady then asked in a hushed voice, “Is that Tatting on this tree? Did you do all that?”

I nodded yes… and then felt a little bashful… like a grade three boy with his art project dragging beside him across the school ground… and then the older girls coming to ask to see it… sheesh!

I asked the ladies if they had decorated a tree as well. They said “Yes, but it is a big commercial thing, nothing at all like this one! This is beautiful!” motioning to the little black tree that I am sure was grinning from branch to branch.

As we wondered around the building taking many photos of all the trees… it was fun seeing what other “artists/designers” had accomplished with the decorations. These were Big League designers and decorators. Other than one other little tree decorated with Crocheted Christmas things, ours was the only one that had tatting on it… the only one that was very different.

My one thought was, “I hope they don’t think we bought these snowflakes in the Dollar Store! NO THEY WERE NOT MADE IN CHINA!”

As we arrived back at our little tree it was a good thing. The Hulks that set up the sound system were about to move the trees out of the way… kind of slide them over a little… so they could drive a rapid lift, huge machine through the spot where our tiny tree was sitting. They couldn’t run the big machine over their sound cords… but a small, insignificant Christmas Tree was another story.

YIKES! I felt like I did when my grandsons were beside me and the big truck was way too close for comfort as it backed up!!!!

I moved the tree to a safer place. I found a spot beside two other beautiful little trees that stood in a safer place. I am sure that the other trees giggled when the little black guy came over to stand with them. They understood!

I am so thankful for Dr. Bert Van Brenk stepping forward to sponsor this Christmas Tree Project. Without his support I may not have been able to get this done. I sure hope he likes it.

PS – Check out the Tabs above to look at more detail of the Tatted Motifs, Tatted Christmas Balls and Angels that decorated the Tree – under Tatting Demonstrations and The Gallery

* * * * * * * * *

The photo below (and at the Beginning/Above) shows the Christmas Tree installed in Katherine’s home – the winner of the 2010 Tree.

Posted in angels, peterborough festival of trees, tatted christmas balls, tatted motif, tatting, tatting whisperer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Fringer Tatters – Tat Exchange – “The Place I Call Home”

The invitation email from my Fringe Tatter friends read…
“It’s time for another exchange … The idea this time is about the place you call home … Tat something representational of where you live.”

I live in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.  The city is located in the heart of the Kawartha Lakes region of Ontario. And like the name states we are surrounded by lakes and lake country.  And as it happens one of my great pleasures is Fishing. I love a whole day away from everything, out in my canoe, with my fishing pole, and hungry fish waiting to climb aboard my little craft.  That followed by a great shore lunch is hard to match.

That is the background of my original Kawartha Lakes piece.  As you can see the Fish is much larger than the fisherman and canoe.

As a result of creating this scene I have now designed some more pieces that should be done soon.


Posted in fringe tatters, tatted fish, tatting design, tatting whisperer, tatting. tatted, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hello Tatting World!

Welcome to my new Blog on Tatting.  Following the lead of some of my friends and also responding to the requests of my Tatting Students I have started on this new project to publish my Tatting designs.  I trust you will enjoy the samples of my Tatting.

The name of this Site may seem a wee bit presumptuous to some.  Like the popular ‘Dog Whisperer’ and ‘Horse Whisperer’ before that, both helped others to get a handle on what they need to do for success with their critters.  A friend of mine became the ‘Yarn Whisperer’. She is amazing with her Knitting. So why not ‘Tatting Whisperer’? Yes! Why not?!?

I help people to be able to begin Tatting and also get a handle on their Tatting to the point of beginning to design with me. I have been teaching Tatting since 1976 and have students all over the world.  There isn’t much I haven’t done with a Tatting Shuttle.

My greatest delight is teaching others how to Tat. The second delight is creating something new with my Tatting Shuttles.

I hope you will benefit from what you find on this Site in days to come.


Posted in tatting, tatting classes, tatting designs, tatting shuttle, tatting whisperer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments