Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Blogaversary Celebration & How I Learned to Tat!

My blogaversay is on Sunday, February 13th.

Yeah, right before Valentine's Day and right before the ending of the OWOH event and ON my grandson's 17th birthday. It will be a busy day. So I'm announcing the celebration now so you can get in on the drawing before things get crazy!

This is the end of my 8th year blogging. Eight Years! So I've come up with 8 little gift bags, one for each year. Each bag will have a number attached to it. The number is associated with a giveaway item. I can't tell you what the item(s) is/are because I don't have them altogether yet, but I do have several. Not all are tatting related. Not all will even fit in a bag. Some are just pretty, some are tasty, some are useful, some silly.'s starting to sound like the Seven Dwarf's! Ignore that comment.

Just to make this interesting, when you comment, pick a number between 1 and 8. If the random number generator picks your comment number, then the number you mention in your comment will be your bag number. Now I don't want to make this too complicated, just a little bit more fun. It's obvious that more than one winner could have the same number, so the first one picked by the random number generator will get the bag number they designate. In the interest of simplicity and brevity, I will pick the duplicate number winner's bag. Since you don't know what gift is associated with the number, it's not really a big deal. Basically, you're telling me your favorite or lucky number between 1 and 8.

So, this post only, and only one comment per person! No strings attached. I just want to thank you for being interested in my blog and keeping ME in interested in my blog. I will do the drawing on the morning of the 13th.

Miranda posed the question - What's the story behind you learning to tat? I wasn't going to because it seems like I've told the story countless times. It came up in group discussions and forums and in newsletters over the years many times. I usually mentioned it only because of my frustration.

I'm self-taught. Maybe I'm not a very good teacher because I had to teach myself twice! My two youngest boys are 29 and 30 years old. When they were little (in 1980-something), I read a lot of stories to them. That really has nothing to do with this story other than to tell you I was busy. I also remember that story-reading going on the same time I first taught myself to tat. I had one of those Coats & Clark How-To books, a little green one. I also had a metal Boye shuttle. I'd bought it years and years before because I wanted to learn to tat but never got around to it. I was probably cleaning something out and found the shuttle. I remember sitting and studying the book, size 10 crochet thread in hand, and slowly going through the steps in the book. They have these little black and white drawings, you know. I didn't understand what it meant to "transfer the knot". I could come up with a knot okay, but the thread wouldn't move after that so there was no way I could "close the ring". I think the knot flipped accidentally, to be honest. It was years before I heard the term "flip the knot". All I knew after many tries was that a loop turned over and when I did that with both halves of the stitch, it made a nice looking stitch which slid on the core thread. I made 4 or 5 rings, slowly, painfully, and with lots of non-sliding knots in the process. I do remember laying it down to read the boys a story. Apparently I just put it away, thinking I'd pick it up again when I had more time. After all, I knew the secret now and could tat.

Famous Last Words!

Fast forward 12 or 13 years(1997). I was working full time. My two older kids had graduated from high school and the two younger ones were starting high school. I found my shuttle again! Oh yay! I have time to do this now, I thought to myself. With unabashed confidence, I wound thread on the bobbin and stuck it in the shuttle. I still wasn't clear about that hole in the bobbin or the hole in the top blade of the shuttle but I tied the thread about the bobbin and might have even tried putting the thread through the shuttle hole but that didn't last long. I had to refresh my memory with the how-to book to sort out how to put the thread around my hand and how to make the movements with the shuttle. So far, so good.

Now, you're not going to believe this: I ended up with a knot.
and again
and again
and again
and again
and again.........
What was I doing wrong? I fussed with it for two weeks. The frustration was even more intense because I knew I had successfully tatted a ring before. Now I was getting nothing but permanent icky going-nowhere knots!

So I was strolling around in Hobby Lobby one day and saw the Needle Tatting book and needles. I ignored it. Too much money and besides, I knew how to tat....if I could only remember the key. A few weeks later, in desperation and with healthy discount coupon in hand, I bought the needle tatting book and needles.

Oh my. I was instantly successful. I knew it was different, but I was making rings. And then chains. And I made a ring only bookmark. The Internet was new at my workplace and there was only one computer that you could connect to it on. I was still learning my way around and I don't even remember how I searched for it but I searched "tatting". I found Tat-Chat and what has become In-Tatters. I found a website by Carrie Carlson with BIG drawings of shuttle and thread. And then it hit me. The Flip. THE FLIP! I'd forgotten THE FLIP! The needles went back into their tube. The book went into my library. I never looked back.

I hated the metal Boye shuttle and found David Reed Smith online and ordered a very small wooden shuttle. Loved it. I bought more. A coworker gave me a red plastic Boye she'd had for years without learning to tat with. I found a beautiful Tortoise colored shuttle at St. Vincent DePaul's. I bought an ivory Bates shuttle. I bought more Smith shuttles. I bought some tortoise Clover shuttles. I bought some Comfi shuttles. I bought some German shuttles. I found more shuttles in second hand stores. The neon colored Clover shuttles came out and I bought some. THEY became the perfect working shuttles for me.

See that round spot? One of my problems with the metal shuttle was that it kept sliding out of my hand. Someone on one of the lists suggested getting these little round rubber circles in the sewing department which are adhesive on one side and to stick it on the shuttle so I'd have some "grip". It did help but that darn hook got in my way too. I have no idea why this still has thread in it!

So...self-taught....both times...but I recommend to anyone and everyone to get a mentor or a teacher or a video - something with a moving visual! And that's why I'm always willing to help someone who is frustrated with tatting. I remember the feeling all too well. I am SO GLAD I stuck with it.


  1. Well, I hadn't heard your story yet & the beginning reminds me a bit of my own with the exception that I never put the needles back in the tube!

    Congrats on eight years of blogging! I guess I'll pick 8.

  2. For all the years I've followed your blog, this is the first time I remember reading your tatting start. ^_^ Wonderful story of never giving up btw..and I think I may have that same needle tatting book!
    Please include me in your generous drawing..I gotta say my number to be 3. A nice solid roundabout the number of kids I have. :p

  3. I'm glad you stuck with it too!

    I would love to be entered in your drawing! My favorite number is 5. I'm sure you'll get lots of responses, so let me be among the first to wish you a happy blogaversary!

  4. I am so glad you stuck with it, too. 1997 was the year of our big flood, the year I lost my first tatting pamphlet and the bits I’d done. (a couple of snowflakes).
    HOWEVER, you have certainly become a masterful tatter while I’m still . . . .whatever I am! LOL Certainly no where nearly as accomplished as you and I tat every day! I KNOW one is not supposed to compare, that it is a fruitless exercise, but. . .:>) I can only aspire while you inspire!
    I DO aspire to win one of your little bags with # 6 SIX.
    xxxxx Bev

  5. What fun to read your story- I'm glad you stuck with it because I am regularly inspired by what you do!
    Please enter me in your giveaway and 2 is my number choice.

  6. Congratulations on the 8th blog anniversary. Your blog is very inspirational.
    I was lucky to be one of your giveaway recipients and was very happy with the goodies that you have put together. Please include me in this draw. I pick number 8.

    p.s. I like the new look of your blog.

  7. I bet your glad you did not give up!! Congrats on 8 years of tatting.

    What a wonderful giveaway! Please enter me. The number I choose is 7. Thank you!

  8. Ooo, those bags look cute! congratulations on your blogoversary. Please enter me in your drawing with #, umm, uh, 3.
    I love reading your blog. You have so much to say and share. And for some reason a lot of people come to my blog from yours, so thank you for that!
    I enjoyed your story about how you got started and so glad you kept at it. I've been enjoying reading the blogs with the getting started stories, they make me feel a little closer to you all.

  9. ooo, enter me please sweat pea, my favorite number is.... um, there are so many good ones, lol, lets go with 5, lol and what pretty bags those are, I love bags :)

  10. Congrats Gina on 8 years of blogging and tatting. I am always inspired by you and the things you come up with. I loved the bag you made for me in an exchange from a dinner napkin, and how about the pin cushion you made me out of a spoon. they are among the favorite items in my craft room. so count me in and the # I choose is # 1 because you are # one in my book.

  11. Congrat's on your 8th anniversary please enter me and my pick of a number is 3.

  12. I too am really glad you kept at it. And your frustrations remind again of my own. Though I did have a teacher in the beginnng,,,but didn't give it enough time, as I was learning other things.
    You are an inspiration as all tatters are :)

    I would love to entered as well. for a number,,,,I'll pick number 1,,,for if it weren't for that day number 1,,,none of us would be here tatting together! "The Beginning"

    Thanks Gina for all you do for Tatters and your wonderful giveaway. Congrats on 8 years,,,in Scripture,,(Hebrew) 8 is PERFECTION :)

  13. Such a lovely idea for a giveaway! Hmmm...I cannot wait to see what is in each litle goody bag...such a nice twist not knowing:-) Please enter me into your drawing, and I think I will choose number 4. I wish everyone the best of luck, and I hope to be part of the lucky few:-)

  14. Happy 8th Blogaversary, Gina! The story of how you learned to tat is a model of perseverence. So is your blogging!

    I love surprises... 1 is my choice. :)

  15. I'm going to go with 3

    (13 is usually my lucky number)

  16. I started tatting a few years ago and am self taught also. I remember finding your blog and reading it like a novel...I loved it. You were, and still are very inspirational to me. I would love to have the chance to win something from you. My number is 7.
    Congrats to 8 years and I hope you have 8+ more years of blogging.

  17. I'm so happy you stuck with it! Yours was one of the first tatting blogs I found a couple years ago when I decided to give tatting another try - I wouldn't have gotten any further without you all!

    I enjoyed reading your tatting story and seeing your first shuttles. I find it interesting that many of these stories involve MUCH perseverance and finally success with help from the internet.

    Congratulations on 8 years of blogging! I enjoy reading about your projects so much - always inspiring! Those little bags are so cute - I would choose lucky #7.

    :) Ann

    MY NUMBER IS 4. Be prepared for MANY entries!!!

    Well, we sure are glad you 'stuck with tatting', too! Your blog site makes it so easy to navigate and to keep up with almost every tatting blog and many other craft blogs, where I've learned so much! I would never have found many of these sites on my own.

    At first I thought you were telling MY tatting story - the Learn-How book and the Boye shuttle, except I bought the shuttle around 1956 when I was 12. But you at least DID figure out the flip on your own. I had to wait until 1989 (45 yrs old) to SEE someone actually use the shuttle. Even though you 'detoured' with the needles, you eventually took off like a rocket, not only with tatting but with BLOGGING -one of the early pioneers! And raising four kids and having a full time job! My hat is off to you!!!!

    Thanks so much for EVERYTHING you do for tatting, and for offering this COOL give-away!!

  19. CONGRATS ON 8 YEARS OF BLOGGING. Gina, your story of being self-taught sounds much like mine. I'm so glad that you did not give up as I enjoy your blog so very much. I have learned a lot from reading it and have also met other wonderful and talented tatters through it. Thanks for all your help. My lucky number is #5. Please continue as "Tatting does Make the World Go Round"!

  20. Hey, you and I learned to tat at almost the same time! It seems that nearly everyone's "learn to tat" story is a matter of perseverance overcoming frustration. I like the number 3. :)

  21. What lovely little bags! Haven't gotten around to needle tatting yet, but it's on the list :) How about #1?

  22. congratulations on your blog anniversary. I love this interesting idea of giveaway. This is my sixth year of blogging and my number is 6. Please do add me for the draw. Thank you.

  23. Please count me in; I'll take number 1.


  24. Karen in OR3:25 AM

    I always enjoy and learn from your blog. Today was special getting to read your story. Congratulations on 8 years of blogging. Yes, I want to enter your drawing and 4 is the 2nd number in my age as of last month, so 4 sounds like the number for me. Karen in OR

  25. Such pretty little bags, congratulations on your blogaversary.
    Favourite number 4.
    I love reading how people became addicted.
    happt tatting

  26. 8 years of blogging! Huge congratulation! Lovely little bags and such a lovely story about how you started I think having children has started off so many artists! I love your tating and its another thing I would like to add to my to try list! Please enter me in to your giveaway my lucky number is 4!
    Many thanks
    niky x

  27. Please enter me in your giveaway and congratulations on your blog-iversary!

    Eight years surely saw you through all sorts of creative surges and dry spells, thread love (and hate) and goodness knows what else. Yours was the first blog I ever read and is still one of my favorites. I decided to join a lace guild after reading your posts about guild projects. Yes, you have Inspired me!

    I, too, had never read your "How I got started" story and am glad you shared it one more time. So glad you kept at it!

    Number 3 ( three) for me, please.

  28. Interesting giveaway! Cute little bags :) I don't really have a lucky number, but I think I'll pick the number 6 because it's my birthday..

  29. Happy Blogaversary!

    I am not sure that I have heard your story before, so it was great to read.

    You made me laugh when you said you were starting to sound like the Seven Dwarfs.

    I am glad you stuck with it because you've been a big help in my tatting steps. I can't thank you enough for that time when you made the video about hiding the ends when adding a new thread.

    My number would be 1.

  30. I'll pick number 1! - always enjoy reading your blog.

  31. I love reading your blog and was thrilled to have met you at the Fringe!!! Congrats on 8 years of blogging!!

    I like the number 6!!


  32. That is a clever idea. I will pick number 7.

  33. I had to learn twice too! But I knew how lucky I was to have my older sister to teach me both times.

    Congrats on the Blogaversary! I think I've already told you how thrilled I am to have found your blog and how much I learn from it when I visit. I absolutely love those little gift bags and that would certainly be gift enough for me! I like the number 5 . . .

    And a Huge Happy Birthday to your Grandson from another Aquarious!

  34. Love reading your blog and seeing all the pretties you come up with! Lucky number 6 please... :-)

  35. Anonymous8:39 AM

    I loved reading your story. Happy 8 years!
    Im glad you perservered. I like the #5.

  36. Congratulations on returning to the tatting and for the 8 years of blogging. Both my interest in tatting and finding your blog are new to me. I want to learn to tat but it looks Greek to me, but I keep getting drawn back to it.

    Hoping my lucky number will be 7.

  37. Thanks for sharing your story! I was taught by an elderly lady with arthritic fingers, thus I have a very strange form of tatting! I would love to be entered in your drawing with the number 7, Thanks for a wonderfule's usually the first thing I read every morning when I get to work!

  38. Congratulations on your 8th Blogoversary !

    My story is similar to yours but my first shuttle was given to me by my sister :)
    Was busy with my five kids and forgot about the shuttle.
    The youngest is now a teenager and with some 'me' time now, found the shuttle and attended a tatting class (wise move here LOL).

    My lucky number is 7 ! Thank you !

  39. Congrats on the Blogaversary! Enjoy reading your blogs every time and have learned many things from it. Liked the one dealing with the DMC Ground #1 article. Would like to sometime try it again to make a small mat. Keep going. Favorite number is 5. Robert, in northern Iowa.

  40. Your blog is one that always helps inspire me to keep tatting. :) I'll choose #2.

  41. Congratulations on 8 years! Loved the tatting story! I, too, could not figure out the flip to begin with. My great aunt taught me and she did not even know that was what to call it. So I sat and watched her for 3 hours and still could not figure out how she was getting her stitches on the core thread! It took a video on youtube for me to get the flip! I still say my aunt taught me cause she did teach me how to hold the shuttle and how to do the knots.
    I am excited about your give away and I choose the number 7.
    Have a very Blessed Day!

  42. congratulations! =)

    The pouches look awesome! =) How about 3?

  43. Congrats on your 8th mile stone!Love reading your blog with lots of good info. I love give a ways where there is more than 1 winner and all thoes red bags! Busy little bee and I will pick lucky number 2!
    Linda M in NM

  44. Gina,
    Congrats on 8 years of blogging! I know all the numbers have been picked but I still lean toward #4. I do enjoy you blog so no matter what I will be back to read.

  45. Love the bags. have just the thing to but in it, so please include me in the draw for number 4.

  46. Anonymous11:54 AM

    OOO I forgot to tell you who I am. My name is Jennifer and my lucky number is still 3

  47. Wow! Eight years of blogging! I'm just in my first year...I have a long way to go!

    Loved your learning to tat story. I had to see it done "live and in person" before I could understand it. I had that same metal Boye shuttle and green "Learn How" book, and for the life of me, I could not see the difference between picture 1 and picture 2 (the flip).

    If the Random Number Generator picks me, I'd like #8.

  48. Jane S.12:58 PM

    Your learning to tat story sounds a lot like mine. Being self-taught certainly isn't a drawback especially in your case -- you make lovely things.

    Congratulations on 8 years of blogging! I'd like to enter in your drawing with number 7, please.

    janers41 at yahoo dot com

  49. Glad you stuck with it, you do such excellent work.
    my fav # is 7 ~ cuz I have 7 kids

  50. Congratulations on the 8th blog anniversary.
    I like number 3

  51. How DID I miss this post? What planet have I been on? I'm here now, though!!! Lovely story of learning. My favourite number is 5 - well, it's my birthday number.

  52. Love reading your blog, it is always a pleasure coming here.
    I choose number 7.

  53. Congratulations on 8 years of blogging. I tried to teach myself to tat without any success. I'm glad there are so many more tools available to help today's beginners. I choose number 2 please.

  54. Great to hear your tatting story, sadly I can't remember learning as I was too young. The bags are a fab idea and congratulations on your 8th year of blogging, gosh I bet there weren't many tatting blogs then!! My number will have to be 4 - my birthday, but you know that!!

  55. Congrates on 8 years. I so love to see what you are working on. I get inspired. #7

    Tami in WA

  56. Hey, it took me 28 years to finally get shuttle tatting right. Congratulations on 8 years of blogging. I only discovered the tatting and blogging community a year and a half ago- that's how I finally succeeded with tatting- it was all the encouragement from this community. As I gave birth to my mom's 8th grandchild, 8th grandson on 8-28-88 and he weighed 8 pounds (but I wasn't going to wait another hour for him to be born at 8:00pm) I'll pick the number 8.

  57. Congrats!!! Loved reading your story. My number is 4. The shuttle that I won in a previous giveaway of yours is helping me learn to shuttle tat. Hopefully I can continue to teach myself as well as you taught yourself.

  58. Anonymous8:51 PM

    Congrats on your Blogoversary!! I am looking forward to seeing you at Lace Day in April.
    My number is 4.

    Millie Moody

  59. Happy 8th blogaversary, dear Gina. You are always an inspiration and that is why I love your blog. I choose 8.

    I learnt tatting twice too. First time was when I was 10 years old. It didn't take and the second time was 5 years ago. I see quite a number of people learnt it twice too.

  60. That was the first time I had heard your story too. I enjoy reading your blog and have learned so much over the years from you. Happy Blogaversary. My favorite number is 6.

  61. I thought I commented shortly after you posted but I don't see it so if this is a duplication I apologize. First, congrats on 8 yrs of blogging. That amazing. I just started my first hope to keep it up. Second, I'm new to tatting, trying to teach myself so thank you for all the info and advise you provide.

    I'd love to be included in your generous drawing... I'd pick # 6!
    Happy Creating!

  62. Oh my! your story sounds so much like my own, minus the children. My grandmother taught me back in the 70's. I wasn't good but I was able to make rings and chains. Then I put it down and went about the process of life. about two years ago I picked it up again and for the life of me could not remember how to make it slide. Even after finding a video where she keeps saying "flip the knot." I don't remember Grandma saying anything about flipping the knot. But she must have taught me that because I could do it before. Love reading about your life and adventures. Don't think I've ever commented before but would love anything you made so my favorite number is 8 (unless one of those other bags is full of shuttles... ;)

  63. Anonymous8:08 AM


    I'd love to take part, I love surprises! I choose number 2.

  64. That's a great story, Gina - well told!

    Thank you for having the give away - I'm in with a #1.

    Happy Eighth Blogaversary! That is quite a milestone.

    Fox : )

  65. Hi Gina, please enter me! My number is 3. Thank you and I wish you more happy years with your blog:-)

  66. Anonymous9:56 AM

    Hi Gina,

    Loved reading your story! Wow, it seems so much has happened in blogland since I've been away, and it's only been a week! Imagine everything I missed out on in the years before blogging!! LOL

    Congrats to your bloggerversary. 8 years, eh? Imagine that!

    Count me in Madam... I'll take bag # 4 , if you please (provided my name gets picked in the drawing LOL)

  67. Congratulations Gina! I've always enjoyed your blog. Thanks for sharing your story and love for tatting with us. Please count me in. My favorite number is 4.

  68. Anonymous2:32 PM

    Gina, I am so glad you stuck with it too. I am addicted going so your blog at least twice a day most days. It is like a breath of fresh air. I am a needle tatter. Shuttles frighten me, but reading your blog of determination gave me the idea there may still be hope for me in the future. Best wishes to continue your blog many years to come. I guess I am too late for your drawing, but just in case. *3* is my favorite #.{Ruth Ann Adams}


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