Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gettin' Back to Bee?

Having heard of quilting, spelling and even JuJu bees, I have often wondered if the day would ever come when tatting would get a bee of its own.

A bee is essentially a gathering, to make an otherwise unwieldy task or project more manageable.

Wikipedia explains 'bee' this way:

"...a gathering of peers to accomplish a task or to hold a competition. Especially in the past, the tasks were often major jobs, such as clearing a field of timber or raising a barn, that would be difficult to carry out alone. It was often both a social and utilitarian event. Jobs like corn husking or sewing, could be done as a group to allow socialization during an otherwise tedious chore. Such bees often included refreshments and entertainment provided by the group."
Of course it is immediately plain why bees aren't common in tatting. Typically there haven't been enough of us living in close proximity to gather.

Tatters are the control group, the experts, the epitome of the "think global, craft local" movement.

Are Tats Days the new Bees?
Consider the Palmetto Tatting Guild, the Fringe Element Tatters, the Finger Lakes or Shuttlebirds tatting guilds. They each have enough members to organize an annual Tat Days conference.

Then there are the Mad Tatters and Oklahoma Shuttle Bugs in Tennessee, Mobile Tatters in Alabama, and the Timp Tatters in Utah, among many other lace guilds that include tatters in their ranks.

And last but never least, the Danish Tatting Guild, the Ring of Tatters in the UK and the Tatting Guild of New South Wales in Australia just to name a few of the global guilds!

Might it be time for larger tatting groups to get their bee on?

Dare I dream of a trickle down effect to smaller groups should such an idea take root?


It certainly seems to me that a large project, such as the crazy quilt project Georgia Seitz and others organized as a 2010 Palmetto Tat Days fund-raiser, would be an ideal bee project.

While I'm ruminating on the subject, why aren't "sheep to shawl" competitions lumped into the bee category? They certainly fit the bill.

Should working bees, like the once popular barn-raising, corn-husking, cider pressing and quilting gatherings of yore, continue to keep company with other ghosts of our American heritage?

I leave you to gather your thoughts with this poem I found on the Internet. It is written for quilters but applies to tatters equally well. Substitute "quilting" with "tatting" and you'll see what I mean:

THE QUILTIN’ TIMES ARE A-CHANGING
by CindyThury Smith 1999

For our Great-Great Grandmothers,
 in quilting times past—
A frugal quilter had to scrimp, make every scrap last—
 Today wasting fabric is not such a crime—
Today what’s scarce is a quilter’s TIME.
Patterns used to travel with pioneers going west—
Now we swap and share instantly on the Internet—
Once templates were traced, fabric carefully scissored—
Now we slice multiple layers, we’re all Olfa wizards.

At one time a two fabric quilt was a sign of status—
Now Watercolor quilts have hundreds of prints comin’ at us—

Quilters used to gather at small local quilting bees—
Now we congregate at conferences, national teachers to see.

Like our Great-Great Grandmothers our lives are busy, we’re stressed—
But with the beauty of our quilts, we feel we are blessed—

As with Great-Great Grandmother, our quilting serves many goals—
To give warmth, grace our homes, and feed our souls.

8 comments:

Eliz (tatknot) said...

When I saw your question, I immediately thought of Georgia's crazy quilt project. I'm glad you thought of it, too. Wouldn't it be wonderful to complete a project like that in a day or a weekend because you've gathered all the talent in one place? I can see it in my mind, hear the dull roar of conversation buzzing around the room and the click, click of lots of shuttles. (The needles are busy, too, but silent.)

Isdihara said...

Eliz, it would be marvelous to complete a project on such a grand scale in a day or a weekend.

But even if that is unrealistic, why not schedule two or three gatherings during a year to complete large-scale projects?

Or start with something a bit smaller that can be done in a day.

I don't think quilts were done in a day. But small group of quilters did meet at arranged times and places.

My lace guild meets weekly for "lace cottage." Same idea!

Lily said...

Thanks so much for sharing this.

I think it would be so neat, to be able to gather every tatter, everywhere and as Eliz said to 'hear the dull roar of conversation buzzing around the room and the click, click of lots of shuttles.'

I can see it in my mind now... makes me think of something out one of those movies set back in the 30's-40's.

I'm loving the idea...

Isdihara said...

Lily, it is such a lovely image, made even more perfect knowing that other tatters are out there today, tatting during Tatting Tea Tuesday.

Enjoy your tatting today!

Ridgewoman said...

I was fortunate, as a young bride (1955), to participate in my MILove's quilting bee's. Of course, since I didn't know how to sew, I wasn't much help past basting (which they taught me) and pressing the seams the correct way. My babies played beneath the quilting frame.
If I had another passion besides tatting; it would have been quilting. I like the 'old tyme' quilts myself.
To be able to sit with ONE other tatter would be a treat for me! I'm on my ridge, in my bed; usually alone; except, for the bird and aging Yorkie. I don't see anyone besides DH, Bekah and Omar for a month at a time. Can one spell hermit? LOL
But I'm happily tatting and 'talking' to my tatting friends on line. And the tatting classes are a new version of a 'bee', dontcha' think? I don't participate in those much any longer; with the emphasis having turned to needle tatting; but, I did enjoy it from 2007 to 2009.
OH, reminds me. If any are interested in learning Cluny tatting; Mimi is teaching a class on line on September 9th…check it out through Georgia Seitz.
I'm going to show up for THAT one!
Well, back to tatting. I really enjoy your blog, Gina ~ in case I haven't said so of late.
Very best wishes to you! xx bj

Tatskool said...

I think we are already part of our own new global bee. We are making different things...often the same as someone else has or will make...but at the same time we are buzzing ideas back and forth round the world.
You are such a great thinker, how do you find the time!
Enjoy your time at the Palmetto hive.
mmm a hive of tatters.

Isdihara said...

Tatskool, welcome back from your wedding trip! how do I find the time? I burn the midnight oil.

That's why my ideas sound half-baked, most of the time! LOL

Tatskool said...

Thanks IsDihara......but shouldn't you and Ciarrán be on a plane going somewhere special???