My Friend, “The Mad Tatter”, and a Giveaway!


Don’t you just love beautiful, handmade items? Something that I have always loved about “all things MaryJanesFarm” is  the devotion to sewing, knitting, embroidery, and other homesteading “arts”. I myself am an expert knitter, and have taught classes for over a decade. I love keeping the art of knitting alive. My dear friend, Judi, is an expert of another art, bringing her “modern “spin” on an “old world” craft. Let me introduce you to my friend, the “Mad Tatter”!

I first heard of the art of tatting, through MaryJane, in her wonderful book, MaryJane’s Stitching Room.


I was fascinated! I had seen tatting, not realizing what it was, mostly on pieces in my collection of antique linens – on the edges of vintage handkerchiefs, tea towels, and aprons. I marveled at the beauty – small, lacy loops of the tiniest thread coming together with the perfection of an intricate, perfect spider web; feminine charm married with the strength of knots.

I first met my friend, Judi, over ten years ago when we were paired together in a tent at our local Arts Festival. Over the years, we became close friends. She is a hoot – we always have fun when we get together. Tiny in stature, Judi has a big personality and an even bigger heart.


Judi is an amazing gardener, having retired a few years back from a career at a local nursery. She also shares my love for all things vintage!


However, it is Judi’s amazing expertise, skill and talent in tatting that always has me in awe. 

Judi first learned the art of tatting, when friends who had just gotten engaged visited Judi and her husband for a weekend back in 1978. Eileen first taught Judi how to do calligraphy. Later in the weekend, Eileen pulled out a box of thread and shuttles. Before heading back home, she left Judi with a shuttle and a spool of thread in case she wanted to practice. Judi loved the art, and has been making beautiful tatted treasures ever since.


The type of tatting that Judi does is Shuttle tatting, done with a shuttle and DMC cotton perle thread #5 or #8, depending on the project. Judi says DMC brand thread has the best sheen.


Not to be confused with Needle Tatting, which showed up circa the 1890’s, shuttle tatting dates back to ancient Egypt, found in some of the ancient tombs, as well as ancient China. The pilgrims brought tatting to North America, and Australia was the latest country to adopt the art of tatting.


Using shuttles that come in all different sizes, shuttle tatting involves the looping and knotting of threads into knotwork to circles and rings, creating beautiful lacework.



One of my favorite things that Judi does, in true “Farmgirl” fashion, is to repurpose cups, vases, and other vintage pieces into beautiful pin cushions.



She made a special one just for me, from a vintage child’s “Bunnikins” cup. When she saw the Bunnikins cup featuring “knitting” bunnies, she thought of me. I think of her whenever I sit at my sewing table. 


Judi takes her beautiful skill to a new level, with a “modern” twist. Instead of just tatting lace edges typically found on tablecloths, lace trims, pillowcase edgings, or vintage round doilies, Judi designed a pattern of tatting to “turn” a corner, allowing her to use straightline trim to create something new. 


The color combinations that Judi puts together are stunning, like this fall-colored bookmark.

One of Judi’s special art pieces are her stunning bookmarks, which have become “The Mad Tatter’s” trademark. Judi’s bookmarks are destined to be heirlooms.


I love the one she made me for my 50th birthday last year. I think of her every time I read. I also sent one to my mama, which she cherishes, as well. 



Would you like a beautiful tatted piece? Just in time for the holidays, I am doing a giveaway of one of my favorite samples of Judi’s beautiful, talented work, a lovely holiday wreath pin.


One lucky winner will be randomly picked and announced in next month’s blog post. Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered in the drawing. 


It’s been a beautiful Autumn season here; hope you’ve had a nice fall, too! Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving, and start to the Holiday Season!

Until next time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole


  1. Joan Piercy says:

    Nicole, Judi’s tatting is just beautiful! Thank you for sharing it with us. And she sounds like a wonderful friend to have and so do you! Love your blogs. jmp

  2. Lori Fresina says:

    Tatting is beautiful. We have a quilt member who does this also. She does strawberries for door prizes for our meetings. They are so beautiful framed as my friend did hers but what Judy has done to recycle touch my heart because I love recycling old items in my sewing.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Lori, what a great idea – to frame tatted pieces! Sounds like some talented members in your quilt guild! Judi certainly has made some amazing pieces using recycled materials. She has a great eye! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Bonnie McKee says:

    My mother in law used to tat, before she lost her vision. What a beautiful, delicate craft! ❤️

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Bonnie, I am sorry to hear your Mother in Law lost her vision. I hope you have some of her pieces she made! You hit the nail on the head – it is a delicate craft, what a great way to describe! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Carol Slater says:

    I love that wreath pin. All of her work is amazing!

  5. Laurel Anne Pries says:

    I sooo love the beautiful art of tatting!! I think I will “give it a go”, at least a try….. lovely post Nicole. I look forward to it each month….keep up the good work!! Laurel

  6. Thanks for blessing us with the eye candy of Judy’s Tatting. Just beautiful photos & story!
    ~ Binky, Petaluma, Ca

  7. Sabrena Orr says:

    Such beauty in tiny stitches! I am in awe of those that can tat and would love to learn some day. My mom has my great-grandmom’s shuttles…I REALLY need to learn this beautiful art. Very talented lady your beautiful friend is!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sabrena,
      I am in awe of Judi’s handiwork, as well. She makes such beautiful things and makes it look effortless, though I know it is not! You definitely should learn to tat – especially if your great grandmother was a tatter! What a great heirloom your family has. Thank you for reading and commenting! Good luck in the drawing! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. Denise says:

    I love the art of tatting. I have many items that my grandmother made and I have her tatting shuttle to use as well!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Denise,
      How wonderful that you have your grandmoter’s shuttle and pieces she made! What a wonderful heirloom! I hope you display her shuttle! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Karen Martell says:

    Such beautiful and delicate works of art! I would love to learn one day!! 🙂

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Karen, thank you…isn’t it an amazing talent? I am so in awe every time I watch my friend tatt. Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  10. Hello Nicolle, enjoyed reading and seeing Judi’s tatting talent. My mother taught me to tatt when I was a young girl growing up no our Northern Minnesota farm. I am almost 83 years old and I still tatt today, but my tatting has changed in that I combine it with watercolors and make (what people say) are absolutely beautiful greeting cards and bookmarks. I would love to send you and Judi one of each if you let me know where to send them. I also watercolor bookmarks for kids to encourage them to pick up a book and read rather than using technology. These do not have tatting. I am a Minnesotan, but in Florida for the winter, but guess what……my tatting is with me…………Anne

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Anne, I love that you tatt and take it with you! Your work sounds so beautiful and I love that you are encouraging children to read instead of use the tech. Wonderful!

      I would be honored to receive a tatted piece. Please watch for my email (it will come from my personal email), and please email me your address as I would like to send you something I have made, too. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  11. Colleen says:

    Nicole, I love your blogs and I’m so happy you introduced us to Judi. Her pin cushions are amazing!! The tatting on the top is the icing on the cake.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Colleen! Thank you ever so much! I just realized reading your comment that Judi’s adorable pin cushions resemble little cupcakes! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  12. Gail Telecky says:

    Tatting is certainly an art and these pieces are beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Gail, right? Such an artisan skill! I am glad you enjoyed the blog. Good luck in the drawing! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  13. Love this blog on tatting. So pretty. My grandmother and great aunts also tatted. I think it’s almost a lost art. You are fortunate to have a wonderful talented friend.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marlene! Isn’t she amazing? She is so creative and has such a good vision with the pieces she creates. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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