Tatting Altar Lace: Ann’s Story

Ann's Tatted Altar Lace: a new work in progress

Ann’s “Snowflake” Tatted Altar Lace: a new work in progress

This beautiful tatted lace is from Ann, a lacemaker I featured about a month ago.  She has started another altar cloth lace.  This will be her third altar lace for the Boise Temple!  She’s made one tatted altar lace, one crocheted altar lace and is beginning her third altar lace.

Ann sent me this picture of it, and this story:

“Years ago I thought it might be fun to tat an altar cloth for the temple. At the time I thought I’d just get started and the Lord would know where it was when He needed it. Finally, after I’d mentioned it a few times, my husband directed me past the temple matron’s office, and we asked about measurements. I remember her comment very well, “We’ll see you in a couple years!” Wow! I didn’t know if I could do it that fast.”

This pattern is Ann’s second tatted altar cloth for the Boise Temple. See her finished tatted altar lace here. Tatting takes a long time.  Ann’s first tatted altar lace had over 500 motifs, and took over 600 hours over five years to make.

Ann says:

“I was about half way done with my first tatted altar lace when the temple sent word to our stake Relief Society that they needed altar cloths as soon as possible. I stopped working on the tatted one and made one out of crochet (which is much faster).

Over the years I had plenty of distractions with that first tatted altar cloth… a cruise, two returning missionaries, a wedding, a fiftieth wedding anniversary party, a huge calling in the church, and our temple closed for 1 ½ years. Finally, after five years, I made it back to the temple with the first tatted altar cloth.

I felt like I had nothing to do after finishing the first tatted altar cloth last April, so I got this pattern out, made some adjustments and started fresh. Tatted altar cloth number 2 is underway. Hopefully, it won’t take 5 years to finish it!

The lace I am making now is called “Snowflake.” I love this pattern because it really does look like snowflakes. The large motifs are 4 inches in diameter so I’ll only need to make about 77 of them. I like making both sizes of motifs and connecting them as I go rather than do all the small ones at the end because my hands are rather small. This pattern also has a couple nice sections where only a shuttle is used, and rings are formed on the inside and outside of the row. Since I started this lace five years ago I have learned how to jump from row to row without breaking the thread so I still only have to hide ends once per motif! This pattern had many picots that were what I call “empty,” meaning they weren’t connected to anything. I find that picots don’t hold their shape with repeated washings and I wouldn’t expect every single picot to be pinned out when it is blocked. So I altered the pattern so that all the picots inside the design are joining with other parts of the design. The only picots that are “empty” are around the edge. All the others are “occupied.”

This pattern is called “Snowflake Tablecloth” from Traditional Tatting Patterns, Edited by Rita Weiss, pg. 13″


Another beautiful lace in progress!  Ann describes how she makes each motif:

The large motifs have five rows…meaning five places to tie off threads and five places to hand stitch the ends to hide them. I’ve been practicing my skills for jumping from one row to the next. All I have to do is wind enough thread on two shuttles and start in the middle. Then I do a split ring to move to the next row,
Beginning a new tatted motif

Beginning a new tatted motif

Ending the row with a split ring

Ending the row with a split ring

Ending the next row with a split chain

Ending the next row with a split chain

Starting the next row with a split ring

Starting the next row with a split ring

Coming to the end of the frilly row

Coming to the end of the frilly row

Last row

Last row– motif made!


The Los Angeles Temple

Painting by Kendall Davenport

Los Angeles Temple: painting by Kendall Davenport

Today  my children went to the Los Angeles Temple with their youth group. What a blessing this place is to my family.  It is truly an oasis from the world; a place where heaven touches the earth– a holy place.

I got a letter from the wife of the artist who painted this painting.  She told me a little of its history:

“One of the main reasons Kendall choose this temple to paint was because it was the temple that two of our daughters, who lived in California, attended.  We had come to California to help one of our daughters with her new baby.

On a beautiful summer evening in August, while we were there,  Kendall and I went to the Los Angeles temple to get references for this painting. We had never been as close to the Los Angeles temple as we were that evening.  It was a delightful surprise to see the pool with flowers all around it and the special doors.  The temple felt so apart from the world even though it was in the midst of it.

 Kendall spent over a year painting this painting, putting in the feelings, and spirit he felt that night.  He painted it so you could feel like you are right there in front of it, that you can walk right into it, and able to feel the warm welcome invitation from the Lord saying “Come Unto Me”.  He painted the words on the front of the temple so they can be read and the doors so they feel like they can be entered in.

He named it “A More Excellent Hope”

“And I also remember that thou has said that thou has prepared a house for man, yea, even among the mansions of thy Father, in which man might have a more excellent hope; wherefore man must hope, or he cannot receive an inheritance in the place which thou hast prepared. Ether12:32 But reverence as holy, the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh of the hope that is in you with meekness and reverence.”  1 Peter 3:15

–Yolanda Davenport

The detail on this painting is amazing.  It can be made panoramic mural size, and still retains the detail.  I love the close-up of the doors:

enter in

Los Angeles Temple Painting by Kendall Davenport: detail of front doors

I’ve walked through these doors hundreds of times.  Such a beautiful design in that ironwork, with so much meaning and imagery.  It’s captured just right.  I love to paint also, but this kind of detail is beyond my skill.  A talent and a mission…  the best kind of combination.