The gift shop in the New York Historical Society has a whole section of "historical pastime" kits- this tatting kit caught my eye:
What the hell is tatting? For $12, I was going to find out. Included was a shuttle, perle cotton thread, and a fold out page of instructions that looked totally worthless. That presumption was confirmed after a few hours of unsuccessful attempts. Turns out, tatting is a form of lace making that takes a lot of patience and skill. The only way I was able to pick up the technique was from watching this video:
Eventually, a trim of rings and connected picots emerged. After that first hurdle, it didn't take long to expand on the original design. There are a ton of pinterest boards devoted to tatting and a million patterns on the internets. The blog Tatted Treasures is a great resource for how to read patterns.
The results are very... delicate. And frilly. And not really my style. So when the original thread was all used up, I started looking around for something more substantial. Perhaps the twine from the 15ft necklace would work?
It so didn't work. And it was much more difficult to maneuver a flexible bobbin than a shuttle. A trip to the sewing store was in order:
Two balls of cotton thread, mercerized (the mint) and microfiber (the white), both in size 3. They're thicker than what came with the kit, but not nearly as thick as the twine. Picked up another shuttle too- and I've got to say that it sucks. Very uncomfortable to hold. Stay away from the metal shuttles.
The first guy up there was made with the original perle thread. The second was the mercerized #3, and the third is the microfiber #3. Both #3s produced a thicker result, with the mercerized looking similar to the perle thread, and the microfiber looking more graphic and spongey. Although the mercerized looks exactly like something my gramma would've made, I'll be moving ahead with the microfiber- it feels more modern and clean. Now it's time to get cracking on the next step- making chains.