I am one of the very few people my age who are fortunate enough to have learned tatting (and several other needlecrafts) the old-fashioned way: at the knees of my parents and grandparents. Now that they have all passed on, I am honored beyond words to have this legacy to cherish and to continue.
My father learned to tat from his mother, and he taught my mother and her mother. I have an almost-complete collection of Workbasket magazine and a healthy collection of pattern books that they collected over the years. Most of my tatting memories are of my mother making hen & chicks edging for pillow cases. She made miles of the stuff - giving a set of pillowcases to each couple for whom my father (a Methodist minister) performed a wedding ceremony. After his retirement in the 1990's, they enjoyed tatting together, challenging each other with new patterns and comparing their work. Mom passed away in 1999, and Dad left us in December 2007.
I learned to do basic rings and chains when I was young, but have just picked up the shuttle in earnest since Dad's passing as a way to grieve our loss and to feel connected. Here is a photo of mom and dad, one of Dad's doilies, and a couple of Mom's pillow cases.