Attending Interweave Yarn Fest? Try Tatting

Last spring, I attended my first Interweave Yarn Fest. If you’re passionate about knitting, spinning, weaving, or crocheting—like I am—it is the perfect event. While attending last year’s teacher meet-and-greet, instructor Daniela Nii’s tatted earrings caught my eye. Lovely! This encounter motivated me! Having never tried tatting, I borrowed a tatting needle and size 20 thread and learned the basics of needle tatting from PieceWork’s video Needle Tatting: The Basics and More with Georgia Seitz.

Interweave Yarn Fest

The inside front cover and the first page of the tatting-sample book, showing the yellow thread used to secure the samples to the pages of the book.

Further fueling my drive to learn how to tat was a vintage tatting-sample book featured in the May/June 2016 issue of PieceWork, which went to press right before Interweave Yarn Fest. Susan Strawn uncovered this gem in the small town of Walnut, Iowa. Although the pages are worn and quite fragile, the tatted-lace samples have weathered the years and continue to display the maker’s skill. This exceptional find left Susan with many questions. “Who made this little book and why?” “When was this tatting book made?” “Why was tatting selected?” One thing Susan could determine from the tatting-sample book was that it was not “intended to showcase student work or to serve as examples of patterns.” Each sample had a price per a yard noted next to it in pencil. Susan pondered, “Could this have been a business venture of one wildly productive, entrepreneurial tatter?”

Interweave Yarn Fest

Interior pages of the tatting-sample book.

Although I am not planning on going into the business of selling hand-tatted lace by the yard, I find sample books to be extremely inspiring. It is one thing to have a bookshelf full of stitch-pattern books with photographs of swatches, but quite another to be able to view needlework samples in person. Actual samples give a better sense of the scale and hand of a particular stitch or pattern. Keeping a record of swatches and samples of your handwork is a priceless treasure. I keep binders with notes and samples from the fiber classes I have attended as a reference of what I have learned and refer back to them when I want to use a particular technique. My grandmother kept notebooks about her knitting projects, and I treasure her handwritten notes.

Interweave Yarn Fest

Daniela Nii’s tatting samples.

If you’re planning on attending Interweave Yarn Fest 2017, Daniela Nii will be back again, teaching Beginning Shuttle Tatting along with crochet and knitting classes. I will be there—I am looking forward to seeing Daniela and her beautiful tatting again. I hope to see you at Interweave Yarn Fest, too! If you see me, say hello. Interweave Yarn Fest takes place March 30 through April 2. To learn more visit

Not able to make it to Colorado? PieceWork has two helpful videos available, Needle Tatting: The Basics and More and Shuttle Tatting: The Basics and More by master tatter Georgia Seitz for those who want to learn how to tat. Once you’re tatting, keep your samples in a simple notebook or binder along with your comments and thoughts for future reference—a priceless record of your needlework accomplishments.

Happy tatting!

Featured image: Interior pages of the tatting-sample book. Photos by Joe Coca.

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