Join me as I explore tatting history. I may trace the development of the craft, translate old patterns into modern notation, or play detective tracking down the earliest appearance of a technique, design, or term.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Do We Know What We Know?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that tatting sprang from the art of knotting. However little known those early days of tatting may well be, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of tatters as to be a part of our communal memory.

However, in his article, “Tatting Myths Dispelled” Dan Rusch-Fischer refutes that there is any proven link between the two. I can agree with his assertion that Mrs. Delany’s embroidered chair cover of 1750 does not represent a combination of knotting and tatting. Both sides of this argument base their claims on a grainy photograph of the chair. The enlargement looks like not just a strip of tatting rings, but rather rings and chains. I cannot believe in chains existing so early, so I accept his assertion that this is actually a cord couched down in loops.

Much of what we think we know stems from someone, however well intentioned, stating a conjecture as fact, without supporting evidence. Others repeat the statement until it becomes a familiar truth. With this blog, I will try to be careful to distinguish between facts and my own guesswork. Anyway, I will soon be through with tatting prehistory, and on to published works.

How did tatting originate? Will we ever know?

I read one source recently that claimed that tatting evolved from point lace. (I need to find that reference again!) Does anyone out there know enough about point lace to tell us if this is reasonable, or just another conjecture? **Update later: it was Riego who said tatting was related to point lace. I'll come back to this idea later.


DawnTea said...

Martha, did you come back to this? If so, where might I find your comments?

Martha said...

Unfortunately, life got too complicated shortly after I began the history blog and I did not have the time to continue it. I had hoped to get back to it someday...