Marilee Rockley has been tatting for more than 30 years, and has been designing and selling tatted jewelry for 10 years. She's been featured in different craft magazines, and has four different books published. Marilee is also a tatting teacher, with her online course at Craftsy, and in May she taught an in-person course at Shake Rag Alley.
Although Marilee is very busy, she was kind enough to take time for an interview. Lets see what she has to say...
Hi Marilee, I'm so glad you were able to take time out of your busy schedule to participate in this little interview with me.
Thank you for featuring my page on your site!
I thought it a great opportunity for visitors to get to know more about the life of a tatting Designer...
You mentioned in the About page on your blog, that you discovered tatting when you found a how-to book stashed among your mother's art books. Did your mother (or anyone else in your family) tat?
My mother did not tat. She enjoyed drawing and painting, that's why there were art books in the house. As far as I know, nobody in my family tatted. I do have an old shuttle that supposedly belonged to an aunt, but I never saw her use it.
What was the drawing factor to design tatted jewelry?
I don't draw tatting designs, except to draw diagrams on the computer after the tatting is done. I've never been able to tat ideas that I've drawn out first; that procedure just doesn't work for me. But, I did study art in college, so I think that the background training in the principles of art help me to come up with artistic tatting designs.
I noticed, that when reading your blog, I can see that some of your designs are inspired by nature (Atom pendant, Maple Leaf earrings, Gingko Leaf, & etc.), but where do the other design inspirations come from (cloudburst & newcastle, for example)... How do you come up with the names for your tatting pieces?
Thinking of names is often a challenge, but "Newcastle" was easy - I used a bottlecap as part of that necklace project, and "Newcastle" was written on the bottlecap 🙂
Interesting! I actually thought you were going to say that Newcastle was inspired by a mansion design from Europe. 🙂
For the sake of showing new tatters that mistakes also happen to seasoned tatters - Do you have an epic tatting fail story? How did you overcome? What did it teach you?
My epic fail would be the time I ironed a large tatted doily without a press cloth, and ruined it by scorching it with the hot iron! Since then I only use my vintage "Seamstress II" steamer (which has a plastic soleplate that does not get hot) to block tatting. If using a regular steam iron, never, ever, touch tatting or beads with it - just hold it an inch or 2 above the tatting to steam it. By the way, the ruined doily became the inspiration for my "Bedazzled Butterfly" necklace pattern!
What is your best advice that you can offer to new tatters?
New tatters who are just learning the double stitch should realize that their hands and brain need to develop a muscle memory, and that takes a little time. Just practice a few minutes each day. Eventually you'll reach that "ah-ah!" moment when the stitches suddenly seem easy!
Well, that's all the time we have for today... Be sure to check out YarnPlayerTats for more of Marilee.
The above photos can be found on Marilee's Free Patterns page of her blog - and you really should check them out if you haven't already. They're wonderful little patterns. I myself, have tried a few of them and really enjoyed working them up, and they have clear instructions so even the most beginner of beginners should be able to try them out.
And here you find one of Marilee's YouTube videos - Tatting the Dream pendant.
Check out her YouTube channel.
The titles in left to right order are:
- top left: Ripple Necklace
- top right: Vision Necklace
- bottom left: Arches Doily
- bottom right: Beaded Shamrock
Check back soon for updates!