I have a few lovely pieces of handiwork done by various people in my family that I treasure. This amazing linen mat has sat with my linen since my mother gave it to me many years ago and only recently brought out. It did seem a pity to leave it to languish in the drawer any longer. The scan is of just one corner- its overall size is about 16 x 10 inches. I used pink tissue under the white mat to define the tatting in the scan and this makes the tatting look pink - it is snowy white.
It is in perfect condition and was made by an aunt of my father no later than the 1940s. I am not sure exactly which aunt - he had two maiden aunts, Katy and Kitty, who were very good to him while he was a young man studying away from home. Kitty was an early childhood teacher while Katy looked after the house so I could probably hazard the quess it was Aunt Katy, the second daughter in my grandmother's family, who did the handiwork. Since I am now the lone tatter in the family I was also lucky enough to inherit a tatting book that belonged to them. I am very sad that I can't pinpoint who actually did it but the work is very delicate and is attached to a lovely fine linen using the neatest, narrow buttonhole stitch. I wish I could remember seeing either of the sisters with a tatting shuttle in her hand.
As far as I know while my mother and her grandmother were amazing with crochet hook and knitting needles and others did lovely stitching, noone else in the family could tat. In my final year at school a friend taught me the basic stitch using string - a brilliant aid to learning as there was no mistake as to why a stitch mightn't slide. I don't get out my shuttle very often these days but, early last year I did manage to produce a narrow length to use on a blouse. However my tatting uses a much thicker thread - I can't imagine how long it might have taken to make this mat. The blouse that is planned is still only yarn sitting on the shelf to be woven in the future! Definitely a work in SLOW progress!