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Saturday, December 22, 2007

The sweetest gift...

I've always been fascinated by the "needle arts."

I have tried my hand in many areas since a young child: crewel work/embroidery, needlepoint, cross-stitch, hand sewing, machine sewing, quilting, crochet and knitting to name a few. My skill level varies among the many forms and one form in particular has eluded me.


My interest was stirred nearly twenty years ago, when my mother-in-law referred to it as a "dying" art form. I wanted to learn, but knew no one who tatted. The intricacy of the patterns, the delicacy of the thread, the complicated shuttle were very intimidating. Images of priestly surplices and altar cloths with beautifully tatted motifs danced in my head...but never made it to my fingers.

Last year, my dear friend Sandra gave me a lovely vintage replica of a tatting shuttle. I purchased an instruction manual, bought a very fine spool of cotton thread, viewed several online tutorials...and accomplished nothing! I just couldn't seem to coordinate the shuttle and thread into anything that resembled the graceful movements necessary to create lace.

So, I gave up. I have my knitting, after all!

Friday. My same dear friend, my Sandra, came with her four dear children to spend the afternoon. Her face was aglow.

"Hurry and finish your lunch. I have your Christmas present--you have to open it now!"

A cream parchment envelope. A lovely card. And this:

A needle-tatted heart. A lovely gift crafted in her "spare-time"--this is a young mother with four children under the age of seven--one of whom is a nursing two month old infant. Spare time, indeed!

But that's not all.

My dear friend learned the skill so she could pass it on to me. She did this for me. I'm in awe. She is such a generous soul and I love her dearly.

I opened the second envelope which contained tatting needles. She handed me a large spool of cotton thread and the lesson began.

What an excellent teacher! Here is my very first attempt at needle-tatting. I'm delighted. It is uneven, twisted and slightly skewed. I'm excited!

On an even more interesting note: my dear cyber-friend Esther, submitted my name to another blogger several days ago who chooses a patron saint for 2008. Last night I discovered that the saint chosen for me (or better yet the saint who chose me!) is none other than St. Sebastian!

The patron saint of lace makers. How cool is that?

St. Sebastian, pray for us!

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