Saturday, November 11, 2017

Tatting Correspondence in the 1810's

Corina kindly sent me some links to references to tatting in some ladies' letters in the 1810's.  I've done a cut and paste of part of the pages.  

Joanna Baillie was a poet and playwright born in Scotland.  Mary Cumming was an Irishwoman who had emigrated to Virginia.

Joanna had been given a length of tatting and asks her friend if she knows what tatting is.  Mary had just learned to tat and is describing how to do it as though her friend would not know how.  (Even then, as now, the beginner's difficulty in getting rings to close is noted as the hard part.)  

I can envision this as a time when the art of tatting was just starting to spread from person to person in the English speaking countries, while we know some decades were to pass before there would be published instructions.

I'm sorry the print on the clips is so small.  Here are links for closer looks at these pages:

Hamstead April 3rd 1819




  1. Wow, Martha! Fascinating. Such a treat to read.
    Katie V. in NC

  2. Thank you! that's a great discovery!

  3. Very interesting! I didn't notice mention of either a shuttle or a needle, just a yard of cotton, the kind you knit with. I imagine they didn't have the fiber stashes so many of us have today!

  4. Tatting is definately older than most people think, just shows how it spead by word and mouth not by the aid of the Internet as it is today

  5. Very interesting. A letter or e-mail today might equally say, do you know what tatting is?