How do you store and carry your tatting projects? I’m a fan of a small bag for each project-in-progress. This little origami bag has served me well for project after project for many years.
In 2000 I visited Japan for two weeks as part of an international exchange program through the Civil Air Patrol cadet program. Myself and four other cadets and a senior member escort found ourselves treated like cultural ambassadors through the generosity of the Japanese government and people. Staying with a host family in northern Japan for a week was a real treat—and a culture shock!
This was enhanced by the fact that I had memorized maybe 25 words of Japanese (including how to count to ten) from my phrase book on the plane trip over, and they knew barely more English. We used the dictionary a lot.
While I was there, the grandmother of the family came to me and spread out many beautiful fabrics in front of me. She pointed at the fabric and at me, and I got the gist that she wanted me to pick some. I pointed to a couple that I liked, and waved my hand in a vigorous “no” over the only one in the selection that I didn’t like, a red and white striped checkerboard that looked like it belonged on a picnic table. She gathered them up and trotted off.
At the end of my stay she made me a present of this little origami style bag of one of the fabrics I had pointed to. She had hand sewn it for me and I must say the stitching is excellent. She gave me two more bags just like it, one of the other fabric I pointed to, and one of the picnic table fabric. So much for the international understanding of “no.”
I have treasured these bags, and yes, I even found a use for the red and white one. Just not in public. Since I use this one for my tatting, I edged it with a fine tatted edging in a matching size 80 variegate from Germany, and a matching tatted hexagonal medallion on each of the flaps.
A few months ago several of my tatting students asked me for the bag pattern, and as my mom is good at figuring out that sort of thing, I sent her one and she sussed it out. I drew up the pattern and you can buy it in our Etsy shop.
So what tatting supplies do I carry around with me? Since several people have asked, I thought I’d spill my
guts bag. Here goes:
- Of course there is the tatted doily or motif I am working on. This one is a rectangular doily that is folded up so you can only see two motifs, though there are currently four done.
- Also the thread and shuttles for the project.
- Scissors of some kind are a must, though I often have clippers instead.
- At the top you will notice some extra thread that doesn’t belong to this project. That’s in case I get frustrated or bored and need a bit of a diversion, or if I come up with an idea I want to try out right away.
- That little purple tube was a pleasant side-effect of taking Boiron brand homeopathic medicine. Once you use up the medicine, you get a free needle case!
- Naturally the pattern is useful. I usually photo copy patterns from books or print a single page if it is a PDF, to mark on and fold it up to bring with me. The second page is notes I made for myself on certain parts that gave me trouble.
- This is a better shot of the shuttles. In this case I am using my ivory and ebony shuttles, two of my favorites, as this is a special project.
- My seam ripper for taking out stitches. (Knock it off, I can hear you cringing from this side of the internet. I have NEVER cut a single stitch this way.)
- The crochet hook is on a lanyard I designed and tatted in size 80 thread. This was my own design soon after I learned Celtic tatting many years ago. You can probably tell that it needs a wash, but I usually forget unless I’m using it, and then I want to use it, not wash it. (Okay, okay, I’m off to the sink right now.)
- Last is my leather finger guard that helps keep my fingers from developing thread burn on long tatting sessions. You can easily make your own with my handy dandy DIY finger guard tutorial.
That’s it! It is not that much, and it all fits in a little pouch that’s barely bigger than my fist. See, this is why I love tatting. It’s super simple, inexpensive and portable. Plus you get some great tatted lace at the end! I think my host grandmother would be pleased that I put her handmade bag to use for making handmade tatted lace.
So what’s in your tatting bag?