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“Can I make a rosary?” One young man at the edge of the group asked shyly. Several other students around him perked up at the question and looked at me expectantly. I had begun my pitch by appealing to the 7th grader’s interest in jewelry and fashion and tatted dragons—“Cool!“—but hadn’t anticipated them wanting to make rosaries. As soon as he said it though, it made perfect sense. This is a traditionally Catholic community, and family and tradition are important parts of many of these kids’ lives.

“Yes you can,” I piped back, making a mental note to find a nice tatted rosary pattern. I made one for my grandmother soon after I learned to tat, and had invented the pattern myself, and before you get your hopes up, no I am not going to post it. It was ridiculously long—I could wrap it around my neck three times—and poorly executed. But Gram loved it, like grandmothers are supposed to, because it was from me and she was proud that she had taught me tatting and I had kept it up.

apprenticeship fair tatting 1So twelve years after that first tatted rosary I get this request for another. This was at the Apprenticeship Fair for the spring semester of Citizen Schools. I was there to sell 150 7th graders on the idea of learning tatting for the next 12 weeks, and by golly Batman, I think it worked.

Thank you to everyone who offered suggestions for the fair in my previous post, they were very welcome. I took many of your suggestions and made lots of little doodles, AnneB’s famous Minor Norwegian Dragon, pulled out all my tatted jewelry, and gave them a little show.

They really liked the key rings with tatting in them, as well as the earrings, hair clips and “hats”—I don’t think they’ve seen many doilies before. I demonstrated how to use the shuttle and made some small mice and butterflies to give away, which they thought were really neat, “I wanted that one; I get the next one!”

tatted doodlesThe doodles I gave away were my butterfly, Suzanne’s tatted mice (not pictured), Jon Yossuf’s dragonfly (bottom right in black and white), Ellen Lai’s basket of flowers, Birgit’s angel, and a snowflake by Heather’s Designs.

If you are looking for more quick and easy tatted doodle patters, Sherongb of the InTatters Forums put together an awesome spreadsheet of tons of patterns for tatted doodles. This is a great resource for quick patterns to use up a little extra thread, and many are appropriate for beginners.

In addition to the live samples, I brought several pattern books and my tatting journal for them to see more examples of what they could make. The Celtic tatting got several good comments, as well as the dream catcher and necklaces.

apprenticeship fair tatting 2

Many of the students were very enthusiastic, including many of the boys, and several told me they wanted to be in my class. I’ll find out next week which lucky 18 get to learn tatting, and meet my students. Now that I’ve gotten some feedback from them on what they want, I need to go refine my lesson plans. This is exciting!