Saturday, October 1, 2011

In Memory of Myrtle Hamilton

A lovely tribute to Myrtle Hamilton was on display at 2011 Palmetto Tat Days. Pam Freck, one of the program coordinators for Tat Days 2011, told me that the display would travel to the South Carolina State Fair after Tat Days had ended.

Myrtle (Bartoo) Hamilton was born December 1, 1895, in Potter County, Pennsylvania. One of 12 children (9 surviving), Myrtle grew up in a fairly prosperous farm family near Mills. She lived in Coudersport, PA, roughly 20 miles from her hometown, and died in 2003 at the age of 107.

Mrs. Hamilton holds a special place in my heart for two reasons. First, she worked tirelessly to keep tatting alive, contributing many wonderful designs for future tatters to enjoy.

Second, it makes my heart glad to know that she lived no more than 125 miles away from where I grew up, not far from Clarion, PA.

In her "Celebration of Tatting and the Life of Myrtle Hamilton" for the Online Tatting Class, Georgia Seitz wrote:
"Tatting had many ups and downs during the second half of the 1900's and through those long years, I believe that Myrtle Hamilton became one of the guardians of the art of tatting. Myrtle produced wonderful designs of all kinds which were published in the Workbasket, Stitch n Sew, Popular Needlework, Old Time Crochet and many others. I firmly believe that Myrtle kept tatting alive in the US for decades."

Georgia also writes of Mrs. Hamilton's tatting column in Workbasket magazine in her BellaOnline article "Building a Tatting Library:"
"The tatting world has been enriched by dedicated teachers and designers like Myrtle Hamilton who helped prevent tatting from becoming a lost art. Her Workbasket designs were basic and in classic style. Any of the older issues contain tatting gems and would be excellent additions to any library."

I received one of Myrtle Hamilton's heart patterns in an online exchange in 2003.

The heart was done by Terry McGuffin who re-wrote the pattern to incorporate split rings and chains so that it could be tatted continuously, without all of the cut and ties in the original design. You can read about it here.

The I.O.L.I. Library has this listing:
T-049 Blue Ribbon Patterns, Patterns for Tatting/Hamilton, Myrtle/1970/English/24p/A collection of patterns/

Myrtle Hamilton exchanged letters with Betty Magill of Kinards, SC, who shared the photo taken on her 100th birthday (top). Pam Freck shared a copy of this photo with me. Thank you, Betty, and thank you, Pam Freck, for sharing this information with me. It is like receiving a hug from a tatting angel.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tat Days - Banquet, Quilt Drawing & Silent Auction

Friday Night Banquet
The banquet is always a high point. Some dress to impress in evening wear, though it is just fine to come as you are.

Regardless of attire, it is a great opportunity to show off your tatting! Isn't Kathy Berndt's tatted shawl gorgeous?

If the lavender shawl didn't drop your jaw in awe, Kathy sported an equally mind-blowing scarf during the day. (And check out her adorable penguins with tie-dye tuxedos!)

Riet Surtel-Smeulders from The Netherlands received a gift of a finely cross-stitched Sock Monkey Pirate from Celticdreamweaver. Here she is showing it off. (Note the Oohs and Ahhs.)

This close up shows you just how adorable the Monkey Pirate really is. It is stitched on linen. Riet also received micro-knitted sock monkey earrings as a gift and wore them proudly for all to see. So tiny and so cute!

One more snapshot of how genuinely tickled pink Riet was, and Hope Bates too!

Quilt Drawing
After the banquet, the Old Man Winter quilt covered in tatted snowflakes was auctioned off. Every flake was hand-sewn on by Erin Holloway. It was a stunning and spectacularly beautiful work of art.

Congratulations to Katie Verna, whose name was drawn as the lucky winner!

By this time on Friday evening my cell phone battery was mostly dead, so I didn't get very good photos of the quilt. The Tat Days web page has a close up.

Georgia was as entertaining as ever as auctioneer. Three smaller quilted wall hangings (or table toppers or table runners, depending on the winners' preferences) were also auctioned off, raising approximately $1,300 for the scholarship fund.

Silver Necklace donated by Nina Libin

Silent Auction
There were so many donations for the silent auction this year! Items of every size and description. Just a few of them (in no particular order) are shown here.

I donated two Tatting First Aid Kits, inspired by Fox who has blogged about her egregious tatting injuries. We have all done it: forced a dangerously tiny hook through a tight join, only to have it stab into a finger. Ouch! Of course no Tatting First Aid Kit would be complete without chocolate.

Knitted Stocking earrings donated by Lynne Gillies

Miser's Coin Purse donated by Sheron Goldin

One of several brooches donated by Erin Holloway

One of several Edging Pattern Books & Starlit Shuttles donated by Handy Hands

Tatter's Toolbox for Breast Cancer Awareness donated by Kathy Hodge

Hooked Rug Kit donated by Mary Alice Kinnette

Doilies with Tatted Edging donated by Riet Surtel-Smeulders

Tatting Treats & Box donated by Hope Bates

Heart Gift Basket donated by Kathy Hodge

Whew! And that was but a smattering of the many donations. Every time I wandered into the Silent Auction room there were new items to see...all of them thoughtful, beautiful and waiting for more bids. Well done donors and winners!

Good gracious, there's still MORE to come — stay tuned for candid photos and loot!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tat Days - Guinness Attempt & Eye Candy

Guinness Book Record Attempt
Over 100 tatters around the world gathered for the first ever attempt to establish a tatting world record. (Some said the number was 127, but I was not able to confirm this.)

The photos were taken, the paperwork filled out and we'll wait to see what the folks at Guinness Book of World Records have to say.

Shuttles were very busy during the attempt. Hands were working at many different speeds, some faster than I ever imagined they could go. Want to take a peek into the room?

Tat Days Keeps Growing
Eighty-six people attended Tat Days in 2011, that's 15% more than last year. Fifteen registered attendees didn't tat, but added to the fun by coming along and dealing with our tatting obsession. Three cheers for Tat Days and the non-tatting but very good sports!

Tatting Display
Each year tatters bring some of their projects to show. The display never fails to impress.

Elgiva Heart by Martha Ess

Martha Ess shared several original designs from her new book, "Playing With Picots." This lovely heart is dedicated to the memory of Elgiva Nicholls, who did such beautiful work with graduated picots. Octopus really liked it.

Barbie Dress & Hat by Marie Smith

Marie Smith tatted a dainty dress and hat for Barbie in hand-dyed silk. The pattern came from an old Workbasket magazine. Barbie never looked so chic.

HAND-DYED THREAD UPDATE: Marie Smith emailed the details for the thread she used on Barbie's FAB ensemble: Silk HDT by LadyShuttleMaker in the colorway "Enchantment" - Thanks!

Pillywiggin by Karrieann Warr

Karrieann shared the fairy house she made for Pillywiggin the pixie and the tatting she added to Miss 'Wiggins' attire and wings. Don't you just love the tiny white puffballs on her shoes? (...she reminds me of a certain tinker fairy.)

Mary Konior's pattern "Curds and Whey," tatted by Karrieann Warr

Karrieann also shared this beautiful edging, made from Mary Konior's pattern Curds and Whey. She didn't mention details about the lovely thread, but I'm guessing it was something scrumptious, dyed by her daughter Krystaldawne. Or perhaps Dr. Vonthreadmore?

HAND-DYED THREAD UPDATE: Karrieann commented, "The HDT thread that I used in Curds & Whey is by Karey Solomon... Seneca somethingother..."

Gold Beaded Bag by Marie Smith

This gorgeous, beaded bag took my breath away. It was tatted by Marie Smith and if my "amazing powers of deduction" hold true, I think the partial image of the note card indicates that it was made up of 10,000 beads. (*bows* if I got it right...*ducks.for.cover* if I got it wrong)

John from "John's Tatting Blog" shared several large projects, including an ecclesiastical stole, triangle lace, handkerchiefs, baby shoes and two large doilies. These items are more impressive in person than the photos can portray. That's saying something!

There's more to come — stay tuned for tales from the Friday Night Banquet, Day 2 of classes, Quilt Drawing and Silent Auction.