Tatted Christmas Stars

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Identifier

2022.001

Title

Tatted Christmas Stars

Creator

Curry, Esther

Date

circa 1971

Format

A dozen stars, approximately 3 inches in diameter, tatted in cotton thread

Description

My grandmother, Esther Curry, tatted these stars for me, at my request, when I was a girl of about 10 or 11 years old (early 1970s); they may well mark my very first personal acquisition in what has become a lifelong fascination & enjoyment of fiber arts. I remember Grandma was hesitant to make them, because as she finally admitted, she was unsure how to work them; as far as I know, she rarely - if ever - worked from a pattern, and I think she generally made edgings, rather than motifs. Nevertheless, she figured it out, and gave me 12 stars, which my mother showed me how to block & stiffen with starch for use as tree ornaments. They have been a cherished part of my Christmas tradition for about 50 years.

The stars are worked in what my grandmother called "tatting cotton"; I'm unsure of the size, possibly size 40 tatting thread. Tatting is worked with a shuttle, and my grandmother had two that she favored: a small silver one that she used for finer work and a larger shuttle, which might have been made of bakelite, that she used with larger gauge thread. I think these stars would have fallen into the "finer work" category.

Grandma always wore a dress, or apron, with a pocket, and she always kept a bit of handwork there, usually tatting (or a quilting square she was hand-piecing for one of her many quilts). If she had a few minutes, whether waiting for her yummy cinnamon rolls to bake, visiting with the neighbor or waiting for her bus, you'd see her reach into her pocket & draw out her latest project – this is how I always remember her.

These simple stars are not her fanciest work, but they do speak to her aesthetic – cheerful & homey, a soft personal touch that could raise a humble cuff, collar or hem out of the ordinary.

Provenance

Contributed by Cindy Cabler

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