Georgia Seitz - Ribbonwinners Tatting Patterns & Shuttles
1227 CR 1760 E
Greenup IL 62428 USA

The Online Tatting Class Celebrates Tatting and the Life of Tatter Myrtle Hamilton (1895 -2003)

When Myrtle Hamilton was born in 1899, tatting was well established. The Ladies Handbook of Millinery, Dressmaking and Tatting had been published in 1843 when Myrtle's's great-grandmother was just learning her stitches.

By the time her grandmother took up a needle or shuttle, Mlle. Riego was already a legend in tatting. Mademoiselle Eleonore Riego de la Branchardiere published her first book ("Knitting, Crochet and Netting") at the age of 12 in 1846. She went on to publish 72 books on the needlearts of which 13 were tatting books. Reprints and compilations brought the tatting total to 16 books. Mlle Riego began with borders and insertions in tatting and went on to create gold-medal award winning tatting featured at the world expositions (1851, 1855, 1862, 1872. )

Mlle Riego took credit for the use of picots to join the rings together but she used a needle to do it at first and not a shuttle, however, Mrs. Mee is now considered to have originated the true join which greatly improved the construction of tatting. Mlle Riego developed the central ring with picots as a starting point for many larger pieces and this was emulated for decades. I wonder if her grandmother decorated Myrtle's's christening gown with the classic wheel which was seen on so many pieces of Mlle Riego's tatting at this time?

Model by Martha Ess

Model with Josephine Knots by Susan Phillipo

By the time Myrtle's's mother might have been born, Mlle Therese de Dillmont had already published her book the Encyclopedia of Needlework (1886) which is still being reprinted today. Published by DMC for decades, Mlle de Dillmont went beyond edgings and insertions to create projects such as bedspreads which Myrtle's's mother might well have had on her own bed. Mlle de Dillmont added on the use of two shuttles and two colors and is credited with inventing the Josephine "knot."

Now if Myrtle learned to tat as a girl then she might well have been inspired by Lady Katherine Hoare's "The Art of Tatting" (1910). Not an instruction book at all but rather a book of inspiration using photos of Lady Hoare's work and the tatting of Marie, Queen of Romania. Queen Marie's work in tatting used real gold and precious gems and pearls (mostly religious items) in the pieces. Lady Hoare made popular the chain and she wrote: "with two shuttles and an imaginative brain there is no end to the designs that may be invented." Words still true today. These glamorous styles would certainly have set a "flapper's dress to sparkling back in the Roaring 20's.

Model using pearls and
semi-precious gems by Nina Libin

Anne Orr's Book #35

As Myrtle Hamilton began enjoying family life, I am sure her shuttle was still close at hand. I can imagine that she read the needlework articles published by Anne Champe Orr (1875-1946) in Southern Woman's Magazine, Good Housekeeping and Better Homes and Gardens. Anne Orr was endlessly fascinated with needle work and designed and sold hundreds of thousands of patterns for cross stitch, quilting, crochet, filet crochet and tatting. She also provided employment for women in the Appalachians making appliqued quilts and delicate tablecloths for sale. The tatting community is grateful for her many tatting patterns. Anne is thought to have developed the split ring technique.

Tatting had many ups and downs during the second half of the 1900's and through those long years, I believe that Myrtle Hamilton became one of the guardians of the art of tatting. Myrtle produced wonderful designs of all kinds which were published in the Workbasket, Stitch n Sew, Popular Needlework, Old Time Crochet and many others. I firmly believe that Myrtle kept tatting alive in the US for decades.

Myrtle was born at a time that let her experience many great moments in history. From world wars to landing on the moon, from horses to autos, from news 6 weeks old to CNN live reports, she lived it all. The tatting world has been blessed with not only wonderful tatters throughout these decades, but also dedicated teachers and designers like Myrtle Hamilton who helped keep tatting from becoming a lost art.

I will always remember Myrtle and her kindness to me. She encouraged me when I was publishing tatting books and gifted me with bits of her own tatting. After entering a nursing home, she tatted less but was tickled to learn that the online tatting class had named the classroom after her and she posted the first page from the "Tatting Online, the Official Tat-Chat Book 1999" with its dedication to her on her bulletin board. Myrtle tats with the angels now. -AKTATTER

Some Advances in Tatting during Myrtle Hamilton's Lifetime

This flower was part of an edging. It appears that all the bits and pieces were tatted separately and joined as needed.

Flower with encapsulated stem

One color work Lattice from 1896

Rainbow Sherbet by Lily Morales

Lily Morales was so inspired by this lattice pattern and its possibilities for color that she loaded up 12 shuttles (wound CTM) and away she went! The rings are R 5 - 5 - 5 - 5 and the chains are CH 25. Lovely work!

Ila Frost Popularized Block Tatting

Online Tatting Class Free Antique Booklet Index
Links to tatting patterns shown above:

Martha Ess Version of the Riego Grapevine

Lilacs with Josephine Knots by Susan Phillipo

Necklaces by Nina Libin

1896 Butterick Tatting Patterns with Diagrams for the "Rainbow Sherbet" Lattice by Lily Morales

Ila Frost Block Tatting

Sieglinde Grigat's 3-D Iris Pattern

All tatters and lovers of lace making are welcome to join the online tatting class. Please contact for details. No fees just tatting fun. Any questions? You are welcome to email me.
Tatting is NOT a lost art! Visit the Learning Center
And the late Sieglinde Grigat of Germany turned Ila's humble block into this riot of colorful tatted iris.