Keeping our Heritage Alive

Grandmother’s are so special! Mine had a very distinct effect on me. She worked hard and played just as hard. She lived life to the fullest. She never stopped dreaming and reached all the goals she set. There were many things she loved. One was reading and writing poetry. She did a crafts that are not seen very often these days. She tatted. It is beautiful and is a type of lace making. I have one thing made by Granny. It’s a tatted cross and I keep it in my bible. It means so much to me. She sewed quilts also. They were warm and beautiful. Here is the cross she tatted for me. It is approximately 75 years old.

Cross Tatted by my Grand-Mother,
Velma C. Goddard

While my grandmother and her skill at tatting is why I’ve written this article, it is another person I know, who is currently tatting, that this article is about. She lives up the road and around the corner from where I am. I have lived here for ten years and I met her early on after we moved here. I didn’t get to visit with her very often till she retired this year. Before retiring she was always busy with work and keeping up at home  along with the beautiful flowers in her yard. Her name is Judy Brocker.

One day, while we were visiting, Judy told me she was trying to learn to tat. I was so amazed. Now that she is retired, she wanted to learn something that she had always wanted to do but never had the time. Tatting was something that her grandmother did and she admired it. Most people don’t even know what it is. She had her grandmother’s shuttles and several samples of her work.  Her grandmother tatted mostly…and did embroidery. Her grandparents seemed very similar to mine who farmed. Judy’s grandparents lived in SW Michigan in Hartford, MI. As she talked about them, a picture formed in my mind of my grandparents in West Virginia That era of people did natural things to provide for their families as well as the decorative amenities for their homes. That’s where tatting, embroidery, crochet and knitting were part of the functions of the housewife from that era.

This is a statement from Judy Brocker:

“My grandmother, Lucile (Cooper) Ulrath  born Sept 7, 1893 in Lawrence, MI and died April 4, 1968 in CA.

Lucile (Cooper) Ulrath

She took care of sick people before marrying Albert Ulrath (he was the 1st child born in the US as his siblings were born in Germany) from Hartford, MI in June 24, 1920.  She took care of his wife until she died.  After marrying she was a house wife living on a small farm (strawberries and other items for family use).  They had 3 children named Mary, Albert, and Bonnetia.

Pillow Case with Embroidery and  a Decorative Tatted Edging done by Lucile Ulrath

My Mother, Bonnetia (Bonnie) Ulrath now LaFountain, was the youngest of the 3 kids.  She did a lot of sewing for my sister and myself when we were young.  She also crocheted things for their home such as tablecloths, dresser scarfs, bedspreads, and crocheted a top on hand towels so they will stay where they’re hung and not fall to the floor every time you dry your hands. They are wonderful. She still does hand towel tops occasionally today.

Dresser Scarf with a Tatted Edge made by Lucile Ulrath

I have done embroidery work but I was always impressed with the tatting my Grandma did.

She would always be making something that involved shuttle tatting.  I needed a hobby that I could do now that I have retired and have the time to learn something new – so I chose shuttle tatting.  It is an art that most people haven’t heard of nor seen.  I have had a hard time to find someone in the Lawton–Paw Paw area that know how to tat.

Started in Feb 2012 to find sites to show how to shuttle tat. After posting ads on many bulletin boards around Paw Paw and Lawton finally received a reply.  Annette Lyons from Dowagaic came to my rescue.  She said she could teach me “how to flip the thread”.  This procedure must be done and conquered before learning anything else.  Without knowing this procedure you are not truly tying knots just wrapping the tread.  I met her @ the Cass County Council On Aging in Cassopolis where she worked with me teaching “how to flip the thread”.  I went home and practiced several hours for a couple of days along with reviewing the DVD and book she loaned me.  The book was “Learn to Tat” by Janette Baker with interactive DVD #3766.  It showed step-by-step instructions and color photographs with a handy DVD showing the same thing.

Jon Yosoff has been a great help answering questions and referring me to different sites to help me.

Since then try to tat whenever I get the chance.  My husband has told me that I sure do “stick” to it even when I have problems learning a new stitch.  I enjoy learning and making items with the tatting.

Earrings Designed by Judy Brocker

Tatting is an inexpensive hobby.  You can make your own shuttles or purchase 2 of them for approximately $7 and a ball of cotton crochet thread for less than $5.  There are videos you can watch on the internet and you can also get “free” tatting patterns also.  You can find books, supplies, & patterns on the internet that you can purchase.”

Judy Brocker

August 23, 2012

 With some help here and there and a lot of work on her part, she is producing some wonderful projects. The difficulty seems to increase with each project she starts. Hope you enjoy the samples of her work. She has only just started to learn this craft and is doing very well.

Beading added to the Tatted Earrings by Judy

Here are some sites online to explore the world of Tatting:


Easy instructions for learning either right and left-handed tatting.


Bev Dillion’s You Tube Instruction Video


Just a nice site to see examples of Tatting.

Beautiful Earrings by Judy Brocker

I am thrilled that Judy is learning to Tat. Carrying on the heritage of skills from our grandmothers is a great thing for any of us to do.

2012 American Flag by Judy
God Bless the USA

Thank you for joining me as I review a lost art that is a heritage from Judy’s past and mine as well.  I’m glad there are those carrying this into the 21st century. As I say good-bye, I will show you one last thing from what Judy is currently making. It’s a doily that she is working on now.

Earrings Designed by Judy Brocker

Completed Doily by Judy Brocker

The bookmark above was given to me by Judy. I love it and put it in my Bible at one place and my Grandmother’s Tatted Cross is placed at another spot. Thanks so much for joining me as I look at this art that is a heritage from my past. Tell me what you remember from your past that is your heritage.  Leave a comment for me or for Judy. I would love to hear about it as I travel along my garden path. Come again when you can.                         Jan

Journey Along the Garden Path

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