Tatting in the woods: the backpacking fiber craft

I learned to tat in the late 90s from a wonderful woman named Barbara. Tatting is one of those "dying fiber arts" and Barbara was keen to pass it on to a young soul (I was fresh out of graduate school, not even thirty). I hear people tell me tapestry is a dying art all the time (I choose to think they said dyeing art), but I don't believe them. [I'm] Not Dead Yet!
The story goes something like this. My boyfriend had left me in our house 50 miles north of Reno, NV (yeah, I know--40 acres, 11 miles from the pavement, pack rats big as my dog, no neighbors to speak of) while he went to New York to visit his mother for Christmas. Being new to the area, new to my rehab hospital job, and fairly pissed that I was alone very far from anyone else with just a dog and a neurotic cat to keep me company (well, there were the pack rats), I volunteered to spend Christmas at the hospital visiting with the patients. Barbara was one of my patients during the week. She was in her 90s, lived independently, and had broken her hip. On Christmas there was no therapy so all I did was sit in her room and talk. Turns out we had a lot in common and she taught me how to tat.

Barbara's tatting
 We had quite a few conversations about fiber during her stay at the hospital and after she went home she invited me to visit her in Carson City. I drove down to see her and she sent me home with more tatting patterns. Over the next few years I left my boyfriend and got a dog of my own. I visited her a few times, and to her eternal 90-pound-soaking-wet credit, she loved my huge clumsy shedding labrador who must have been a rambunctious puppy at that time. Her vision decreased quickly due to macular degeneration and she asked me to visit so she could give me some of her fiber art supplies. I did and she showed me her new vision toys which helped her read but didn't allow her to knit or tat any more.
Not long after that I received a letter from her niece that Barbara had died and had wanted to give me all of her remaining fiber and yarn. I was happy for her collection but mostly sad that my friend had passed on.
I recently saw some beautiful tatting being sold on Etsy. Tatting is not a dead craft, though I'd say it might be struggling more even than tapestry. The tiny shuttles and thin thread require good eyesight and a lot of time. But the results can be beautiful. I like to take tatting on backpacking trips. There isn't a lighter smaller project to be had. I took my tatting along on a day-hike last weekend. Here is a little video in case you've never seen someone tatting.

Thank you Barbara for your generous gifts of teaching and love.