A great fact about tatted lace is that it is knotted so it is extraordinarily durable. This is one reason many of you have a delicate handkerchief from older generations that has lovely tatted trim around the edge, or those little note cards with hand drawn stems and tiny tatted flowers glued on them. I call those Teeny Tats and have been making them when I can, trying to get their tatted sweetness back into circulation. I frequently enclose blank, hand decorated Teeny Tats in my sales.
To begin with, I have care instructions at the bottom of my receipt that people receive with their purchase. For some of my work such as Fiber Art, heavily beaded or sculpted work I leave this information off because I would prefer that people contact me about the care of these special items. In which case, I will give my email or hand written instructions on the receipt.
My sales receipt currently reads:
Tatted Lace Care: Press gently between two warm, moist cloths of similar color with hands. Something thin such a tiny crochet hook, bobby pin, or paper clip can be used to reshape the loops. Allow to dry flat. Polish metal with a Silver polishing cloth. Inhibit tarnish-Store in a sealed plastic bag with paper or a Silica Gel package. Please contact me with any questions.
Here is a full explanation, with pictures, of the process of rejuvenating your lace.
Like most people, I like jewelry that is easily taken care of. These instructions for care and storage should help everyone keep their tatted lace in fabulous shape for pretty much an eternity!
This Tat Fact is about storage and pressing beaded tatting. I plan to talk about cleaning lace at a later time after I have had a chance to do some experiments to have photos and accurate descriptions.
I used my own well-loved and well-worn jewelry as an example. All of my work is made with 100% Egyptian cotton tatting cordonnet that is colorfast.
The delicate look of my Corsage bracelet can get pretty out of whack but taking care of it only takes a few moments.
Begin with a clean, warm, damp cloth and press the bracelet by hand, moistening the lace so that it turns darker throughout: Next pull the lace into shape by gently pulling the opposite sides of the design.
If you find the decorative picots (small loops) are flat or curled or misshapen, you can use anything small and round to push through them making them round again. Just make sure the loops are moist and that they dry flat.
In the first picture above I use my beloved wooden awl. But since most people do not have a beloved wooden awl, I would suggest a thin crochet hook, a heavy safety pin, paperclip or bobby pin. All you need to do is move the tool around in a circle inside the picot making it round again.
Finally leave the work flat on a towel to dry quickly on its own.
My Double MOD Cuff gets lots of miles and every so often I like to work out the kinks:
I press with a warm, moist cloth, pull the opposite sides into a rectangular shape again, poke through the picots and let it dry:
The matching MOD earrings can start to curl and lose their shape just from getting caught up in my big hair. So instead of cutting my crazy hair, I use the same process to reshape them.
About Tarnish and Storage-I frequently use Sterling or Sterling plated jewelry components in my work. If you are wearing your jewelry very frequently, generally tarnish will not be a problem. Occasional polishing with a jewelry cloth will keep your jewelry shiny. But if you are not wearing your jewelry all the time it is easier to store it in a way that inhibits tarnish.
Clear, clean, plastic bags that have no holes and seal tightly are perfect to keep air and moisture off the Sterling. You will have to polish it much less, if at all. It is best to add to the sealed bag a piece of paper, a desiccant or silica gel pack (often found in new shoe boxes), or even a small amount of rice rolled into paper or fine netting. This will absorb any moisture that may lead to tarnishing. After you have placed the jewelry in the bag and made sure it is flat, gently press as much air out as possible. Here are some pictures of my jewelry storage:
I know it is not particularly glamorous but it totally works and is worth it when you like to wear your jewelry without worrying whether it has been polished. It also help keep lighter colored lace cleaner because if there is no tarnish, it won’t smear onto the fibers.
NOTE: Let me know the item your are buying from me is a gift that will not be given soon, I will enclose a good bag for storage so it stays fresh and new for when you are ready to give it to your friend.
I hope this clarifies questions you may have. If you have any additional questions, drop me a line and I will try to answer them as best I can. This is meant to explain how the tatted jewelry I personally make can be cared for. Other tatters may finish, stiffen their work, tie in their ends or add beads in ways that this information would not necessarily apply. I would always encourage everyone to contact the original tatter if they have questions about the care of their jewelry.
And I welcome comments on what people have found works for them.