Allan Chochinov has been tatting for years, making handmade lace with thousands of knots. His article about it is a fascinating read:
I’ve often theorized that there are two kinds of designers: those who like to design things smaller than themselves (appliances, sneakers, phones, book covers), and designers who like to design things bigger than themselves (architecture, interiors, city plans, cars). I’m the former, and at TKDG I was privileged to work on (and be named on a few patents of) several surgical instruments. And one of those projects was called a “surgical knot pusher/tier” — a device used to close a puncture wound that was created in the femoral artery (for inserting an angiogram catheter) — where a surgeon ties a knot in the suturing thread and then “pushes it down” to the puncture wound in order to close and tie it off.
Attempting to come up with a clever approach, I thought of rope tricks — where a knot is tied in one place and then shifted to another. That would work, right? (Spoiler alert: It’s not an actual knot.) I built dozens of physical prototypes with stainless steel wire, bulldog- and paper clips, surgical pliers, tape, shrink-tubing, and lots of suturing material, nylon sewing thread, string, and other items lying around, and ultimately came up with a solution that was novel and actually did the trick. Heartbreakingly, the company that sponsored the work went out of business and the project never saw the light of day. (People should know that 95% of what designers create never sees the light of day.)
All of this is to say that even though the project died, I had developed an enormous fondness for thread, for knots, and for, well, making tiny, fussy, things. (Think fly “fishing” tying, but with almost zero purpose. More on that in a bit.) And once I knew what tatting was called (the word was printed on the grandmother’s business card), I went where I always go to learn new skills — YouTube and Instructables.
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