Tatting toward Home

Tatted bedspread made by Chester Ross Bentz Sr. for his son Chester Jr. and completed in 1953. The bedspread is made of 5-inch blocks and is about 85 x 85 inches. Collection of the Bevington Kaser House, Madison County Historical Society, Winterset, Iowa. Photograph by Debbie Zacharias and courtesy of the Madison county Historical Society.

One of my favorite PieceWork stories from the last few years is “Chester Ross Bentz Sr. and His Tatted Bedspreads” from our May/June 2012 issue. This is a quintessential PieceWork article as it fuses the personal, the historical, and remarkable handwork all in a single story.

Mr. Bentz learned to tat from a Red Cross worker while waiting for return transportation home from his service in Europe at the end of World War I. And he loved it. So much so, that after his return from the war, he kept on tatting. And kept tatting, until he’d made each of his five sons a bedspread. Along with that article, we included Carolyn Wetzel’s instructions for tatting the same motif Mr. Bentz designed for one of his bedspreads.

It’s a fabulous story in which the rich details of a remarkable man’s life and his love for working with his hands are explored through a larger historical context. I love that in one article I can learn about the role the Engineer Corps played in World War I, the Madison County Historical Society in Iowa, and how to tat a beautiful little motif.

It’s an honor to be able to offer you a kit containing Mr. Bentz’s story—and all the other stories in that issue—the instructions to tat one of his motifs, and all the required materials. Enjoy and happy tatting!