A Family Tree of Tatting

Master tatter Georgia Seitz shares the beginning of her tatting journey.

Piecework Editorial Staff Sep 17, 2021 - 4 min read

A Family Tree of Tatting Primary Image

Linda Ligon's attempts at tatting. Photo by Linda Ligon


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Georgia Seitz’s tatted Doretha’s Teardrop Edging.

All photos courtesy of Georgia Seitz.




Over a recent long weekend holiday, I decided to take a break from my normal routine of tatting, reading, tatting, stamp collecting, tatting, modernizing patterns, cooking (a little), tatting, housework (even less), and tatting. I began to enter data on my family tree begun by my grandmother, the one who drove a truck for 27 years but never sewed or knitted or cooked.


I knew my great-grandmothers both knitted lace but didn’t tat. Betsy Baker, seven generations back, was remembered not as a tatter or a knitter but as having had gold-colored slippers in which she danced until the toes wore out.


Along the way, I began to compare notes in my mind about the origins of "my family tree" of tatting. What planted that seed of interest in tatting I may never know. I didn’t know for years that the type of lace I started rescuing at garage sales and auctions was tatting.


It wasn’t until February 1979 that I finally learned to tat. I received a gift of tatting lessons from an old Army buddy. What she thought was a birthday present turned into a lifetime of pleasure and a new world of friendships for me.


I began to tat edgings on everything, whether the item needed it or not. I was happy.


Then I saw an “On the Road” episode by Charles Kuralt on CBS. Charles was interviewing “little ole ladies” from the Midwest who tatted. He stated that when they died, tatting would be lost forever. I was appalled. I sat down and sent Mr. Kuralt a telegram ($15 it cost!!!) and informed him that tatting was alive and well and living in Alaska.


A few months later, I began teaching tatting to anyone I could get to sit still long enough to get a shuttle in their hands. I carried shuttles in my pockets everywhere I went. I pulled out my shoelaces at the store check-out lines and gave impromptu lessons. I exhibited at state fairs and events.


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  Georgia Seitz’s miniature doll surrounded by tatting.

And then I got a computer. I have been online ever since. I have met and taught hundreds of tatters at local, regional, and international lace events and have made thousands of tatting friends online. Long Thread Media carries two DVDs of my lessons—Shuttle Tatting: The Basics and More with Georgia Seitz and Needle Tatting: The Basics and More with Georgia Seitz.


Where once the lone tatter feared she was the last tatter in the world, now tatters have a network, a web of lace, which encircles the globe. I know that my tree of tatting is strong and will continue to grow—tatting will never become a lost art.


Happy tatting,