Thursday, February 18, 2010

Instant Heirloom: Tatting by Jessica Spaulding of Snap Dragon Lace

After last week's tatting post, I decided that I need to share another post on the same topic to show you another tatter's style. This is one craft that I haven't seen done in person, but I am just fascinated by the description of the shuttle that I think I need to find a local person to give me a demo!

Jessica Spaulding
San Diego, CA

How did you first learn about tatting?
I first learned about tatting because my grandmother did it. I tried, but never got the hang of it and stuck with crocheting.  In college a friend and I decided we would figure it out. A few books later and a couple weeks later I finally figured out the infamous "flip" of the tatting stitch. Been doing it ever since.

Why did it become your craft of choice?
I used to crochet and bead a lot, but tatting became my craft of choice largely because it's so portable. Also, I travel a lot beading is hard to take with and yarn is a lot more bulky than thread. I'm excited that I've started using more beads in my tatting, haven't really felt a desire to go back to crocheting.  I've converted over completely!

What are people most surprised about when you tell them about tatting?
People seem to be most surprised to know that anyone even does it anymore.  If they do recognize it, it's usually because their mom or grandmother did it. People often call it a "lost art" or "dying art" but I often get asked if I'm crocheting or doing a cat's cradle. Once I had someone say "Oh, so that's what tatting is!" Apparently "tat" is a common word in crossword puzzles, but he had never seen it done.

Is this your full time work?
Well, sometimes I spend enough of the day thinking about tatting that you would expect it must be my fulltime job, but no it's not. I work part of the year for KJazz, a public radio jazz station in Los Angeles and the other part I take off and travel as much as possible. I've always sold my tatting sporadically but this year I'm taking it more seriously with the Etsy shop and marketing. Of all the laces out there tatting might be one of the slowest, so it's not a good candidate if you're interested in making a living out of crafts.  But I'm addicted and figure it'd be nice to have a self-sustaining hobby. 


How does the history of tatting influence you- do you look at old patterns? Just rely on the basic technique but reinterpret it in your own way?
I do a lot of adapting of patterns, both older vintage patterns and then of those adaptions.  I like looking at a pattern for an edging and seeing how it can be turn into a bracelet or large cuff or even a tablecloth.  Then I'll look at that adaptation and see how that can be changed into a motif or necklace.  I don't usually create a pattern from scratch, but often the starting pattern and the finished pattern look nothing like each other.

How long does it take you to make something like, say, a bracelet?
The time it takes to make a bracelet depends even more on the size of the thread used than on the pattern.  Smaller thread means more motifs to get all the way around the wrist. Some patterns that take 2 hours with a larger thread can take over five with a smaller one. I think most of the ones in my shop now are in the 3 hour range.  I have a couple bracelets in the 1 hour range that will be posted soon.


  1. beautiful tatting
    thx for the post & pics!

  2. Very pretty...! Nice blog to. I have and do a lot of hobbies, but not as many as you do....