A unexpected kindness

Me, having fun with the audience at the Washington State Quilters Guild. Photo courtesy of Robin Waggoner

I had a wonderful time at an event with the Washington State Quilters’ Guild last week. I presented two lectures and two full-day, sold-out workshops to guild members who simply couldn’t have been nicer or more fun to be around! It was a great time and I enjoyed every moment. This state guild is active, vibrant and filled with so many talented people. I was blessed to spend three days with them, getting to know many of them personally.

At the first workshop I met one of the members, Patty Markley, and as I got to know her a bit better I found out she is not only a quilter but she is actively involved in a local tatting guild in the Spokane, WA area.

I’ve always been fascinated with tatting. My very distant cousin, Ruth, was an amazing woman. I met her once when I was a little girl and she was quite old at that time. She did all sorts of needlework and she was an amazing tatter. My Mom had one or two of her tatted doilies and linen napkins with tatted edges, all expertly done by this sweet, distant relative. I inherited them when Mom passed away and I treasure them. They are very old, fragile, and I dare not use them for fear of them falling to bits if they are ever washed.

Once, shortly after Kent and I were married, I decided to learn how to tat. I signed up for a local class in Alexandria, VA, and bought a shuttle and cotton tatting thread. I spent six hours working diligently in class and by the end of the day, I only had an inch and a half of simple tatted lace. It was so difficult; I didn’t inherit any of Cousin Ruth’s natural talent so decided I was better suited to quilting. But the experience and hard work in class — and the resulting 1 1/2″ of lace to show for it — made me appreciate how amazing tatted pieces truly are and for those who have the skill and patience to do it well.

Fast forward to meeting Patty last week in class. She showed me photos of some amazing tatted pieces including an exquisitely tatted hand-held fan by someone in her active tatting guild. It recently won best of show at a national contest; I couldn’t get over how beautiful all the examples of tatting she showed me were! 

A gorgeous pink-colored stone with multiple layers of tatting and hand-sewn seed beads underneath by Patty Markley

Brooch by Patty Markely

The next morning when I arrived ready to teach at the second full day workshop and I was surprised to find a beautifully wrapped gift on my table. It was from Patty and it contained an exquisitely tatted brooch with a pink stone in the middle plus a jaw-dropping doily, both expertly tatted by her! I was positively gobsmacked and overwhelmed to the point of tears to receive such an amazing gift from her heart and hands to mine.

Patty Markley and me

She told me doilies are typically what tatting has been in the past and tatted jewelry is what tatting is becoming in the future. She said many of the younger women in her group are experimenting with combining tatted bits of trim and lace and jewelry together for something modern and well-suited for today’s tatters and busy craft enthusiasts.

Tatted doily, but Patty Markely

Gorgeous tatting

The intricacy of the stitches and pattern is stunning!

Patty’s tatted doily has a place of honor in my new studio and the brooch looks amazing pinned on the collar of my favorite denim jacket. I will treasure them both including my new friendship with Patty. Such an unexpected kindness! THANK YOU, Patty! You truly have a gift not only for tatting but for touching hearts with your thoughtfulness and kindness!

  1. How wonderful,Kimberky! Her generosity speaks of her genuine fondness of you. You, Kimberly bring out the best in everyone. Her work is stunning, so beautiful.

  2. Wow, what an amazing gift. So very special. I can tat
    and like you it’s hard!!!! Let’s stick to quilting.

  3. I, too, tried tatting many many years ago and never could do it either. I’ve always admired it!

  4. Beautiful gifts from and to beautiful women.

  5. Beautiful tatting. I’m so glad I learned to shuttle tat when I was young. You might try needle tatting. Its much easier!

  6. I am so proud to say that Patty Markley is my sister. She learned to tat at our Grandmothers knee and in her adult life picked it up again and is indeed very talented. But Patty excells in anything she does. She is my sister, mentor, hero, cheerleader and advisor in all things crafty. And in most other areas in my life. I treasure the praise of others in my sisters talent and only wish I had half her talent.
    Thank you Kimberly for your very kind words towards Patty. I know she enjoyed your class immensely. I wish I could have gone to your class as well, but I live in Texas and was just up in Washington a few weeks before
    Again thank you for your kind word toward my sister.

  7. I am honored to say that Patty Markley is my sister. She learned to tat at our Granfmothers knee and picked up again as an adult. And as in everything Patty does she excells at it. She is my mentor, cheerleader, hero and adviser on almost every crafty thing I do and in many other aspects of my life.
    I’m thrilled that you had the chance to meet her and showcase her tatting talents. She has mentioned you several times in conversations, that always start with Kimberly says this, or Kimberly does that.
    Patty’s quilting is just as beautifully done as her tatting is
    I only wish that I had half her talent and that I had the patience to tat.
    Thank you for your very kind words regarding my sister. She truly a very talented and caring person.

  8. Very nice.
    But, for me the important thing here is you didn’t let me know you would be in WA. If I had known, I would have come as a visitor. I belonged to the guild when stationed at Fairchild.

    • Ack!!! So very sorry! I thought it was a bit too far away from your area (as in a six hour drive!) so I didn’t want to assume you would be able to make it. Dern it, I wish I had written in advance so I could see you!!!

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