My tatted Heirloom Treasure–& My Tatting Heritage

This is my Paternal Grandmother’s Tatted Doily

Tatted by Louise Goeller Reuter–born in 1900. Probably tatted in the 1920’s or 30’s.

I was so thrilled to get this. I had seen this doily in my grandma’s house probably 35 years ago, after I had learned to tat, but hadn’t seen it since. My Aunt Janelle had it and recently gifted it to me for my recent wedding (August 2013).  She had it framed.  It is truly a treasure to me.  I never remember seeing my paternal grandmother tatting even though I grew up around her.  She was actively doing other handcrafts, most notably quilting.

I learned to tat from my maternal grandmother, Julia Kominek Dolesh.

Another part of my ‘Tatting Heritage’  story revolves around my paternal grandFATHER:

  • I am the daughter of an long line of Nebraska farmers in NE Nebraska. This includes my father & grandfather. They were true men: probably never changing diapers, cooking for themselves, cleaning, etc…..that was women’s work. There were clearly defined male/female roles in how I was raised and I know that came down through the generations. So I was surprised when my paternal grandfather told me (35 years ago or so, and shortly after I had learned to tat) that he too had tatted. Even then I was shocked at this professment. He told me that he had learned to tat in grade/elementary school as a kid. He told me that that back when he was a kid, the Nebraska winters were harsher than in recent times and that it was to ugly for the kids to go outside for recess. So the teacher taught them things like tatting. Let me back up and tell you that this was a one-room country school that he went to….the same one that my father and I went to too (good old District 40). So the heritage of tatting, my grandfather, and this one-room country school (that no longer exists) is a particularly sentimental one for me. I would assume that ‘yes’ he did learn to tat, but ‘no’ he really never was a ‘tatter’.

Tatting (sometimes called ‘poor-man’s lace’) was something that was cheap for the teacher to work with her students with. Probably everyone’s mother had a tatting shuttle in their sewing basket, in fact you don’t even need a shuttle to do it. So in my heritage, it truly was a poor-man’s lace.

I was raised in a humble, rural environment but was never wanting for anything though. We raised all our own food (beef, pork, poultry, dairy, vegetables, fruit trees, etc.). It was a good life. However, I tell people that since “no farmer wanted to marry me” after high school, I had to get out of the area and went to college. I now live in Omaha (the big city!) about 100 miles from where I grew up.