The Illustrated World
May, 1911


CARMEN SYLVA, the beautiful silver haired queen of Roumania, bas entered a new line for her in literature by writing an elaborate introduction to a book on the old fashioned “Art of Tatting,” which has just been put out in London by Lady Hoare.

The queen is one of the most enthusiastic and skillful exponents of the use of “grandmothers’ shuttles” and some very beautiful examples of her handiwork from the principal illustrations in a book which is of considerable value.

In her introduction Queen Elizabeth says: “Tatting has the charm of lace making and weaving combined. It is the same shuttle as in the weaving loom, only that the loom is our fingers and the shuttle obeys our thoughts and the invention of the moment. The joy when a new stitch is found is very great.”

It is to the “solitary, lonely, worried or contented woman” that the introduction is specially dedicated—the woman “who is not condemned to earn hard bread with hard work.”

With true womanliness also Carmen Sylva says:

“I have often pitied men—in the firs place because they can’t know motherhood, in the second because they are bereft of our greatest comfort—needlework. Our needlework is so much better than their smoking—it is so unobtrusive.”

There is the same charm in the writing of this little introduction which characterizes everything from the pen of Carmen Sylva.

Lady Hoare tells us that no one has done more to raise the work of tatting to a fine art than the queen of Roumania. The origin of the art of tatting is very old and may be traced to macramé work, the oldest of all kinds of lace, which is found, for example, in the twisted threads and knotted fringes in the wrappings in the tombs of upper Egypt, and tatting is only knotting made with a shuttle and is entirely composed of knots made on a running thread.

Lady Hoare tells us a good deal about the history of the art and the probable derivation of the name, and her book contains an interesting description of famous old shuttles. Some of the shuttles from the Wallace collection are reproduced, besides a novel invention of the author, which she designed for her mother, who was blind. This shuttle in ivory has a lengthened prong at each end to serve as a pin. It was a great comfort to her invalid mother, who ex celled in tatting, and Lady Hoare's love for the work is therefore inherited.

The instructions to beginners in the art of tatting are clearly defined by the author. An attractive portrait of Lady Hoare at work is an interesting addition to her book. Perhaps the most beautiful example of the work done by the queen is the coverlet made for the baby son of the crown prince, which has been cleverly reproduced.