At age 74, Violet Pangborn, of Jamestown, is crafty enough to create decorations in the spirit of the season.
To celebrate Christmas, Pangborn decorates a Christmas tree every year. But, this year, the 7-foot Christmas tree she decorated features 57 tatted ornaments that she made herself.
"I like decorating Christmas trees, I like the holidays and I like fancy work," said Pangborn. "So, I made all the red and white, tatted ornaments to decorate my tree this year."
Violet Pangborn poses for a photo with a 7-foot Christmas tree she decorated with 57 white, handmade tatted ornaments.
P-J photo by Dusten Rader
According to Pangborn, tatting is no easy process; and it can take many hours to complete just one piece. The technique utilizes thread, a tool called a "shuttle" and steady hands. Pangborn used this process to create the 57 unique ornaments that adorn the tree, as well as other patterns for various occasions. Much like real snowflakes, no two of Pangborn's ornaments are the same.
"For the tree, I made tatted snowflakes, stars and crosses," said Pangborn. "Then I added other ornaments such as aluminum flowers, which I remember my mother decorating her trees with when I was a little girl. There are also red ribbons, butterflies, teddy bears, icicles, candy canes, angels, cars and trucks, churches, birds, and a little bit of everything really. Then I topped the tree with a large red ribbon with lights in it, and it has Christmas lights wrapped around it too."
Pangborn enjoys crafting so much that she has amassed quite a large quantity of tatted items, which she either gives to her friends as presents, saves for her collection, enters into crafting competitions or sells. She gets her inspiration from tatting pattern books, designs she finds at antique, thrift and craft shops in the area, and from her friends who find unique patterns for her to try.
"I wind the thread around the shuttle to get it going and make knots," said Pangborn. "I leave a space, then move the thread up to make a loop. When you get so many loops on it, you pull it up to make a ring. If I have enough light I can do it without glasses. And, it works your hands so I don't have arthritis I guess because I keep them moving."
In addition to the tree ornaments, Pangborn also makes accessories such as necklaces, doilies, miniature tea cups, hearts, snowmen, crosses and more.
She started tatting when she was about 16; her sister taught her how. Her sister learned the process from their aunt, who passed away at 95 years old.
Tatting isn't the only craft that Pangborn enjoys. She also created a small Christmas tree made with various pieces of jewelry to display above her fireplace. She collected the pieces of jewelry from yard sales and tore off the backs to make them flat. Then, she glued the pieces to the tree. It has everything from watches, buttons, beads, pieces of Sarah Conventry jewelry, a statue of liberty, crowns and is topped with a star.
"I'm going to hang onto it, and if my kids want it they'll probably get it," said Pangborn.
Pangborn isn't the only one in her family who is crafty. Her son, Todd, of Kiantone, is a sand sculptor. For her son's wedding, Pangborn used tatting to accentuate Todd's wife Lori's wedding dress.
Pangborn hopes to enter some of her pieces in craft fair competitions over the next couple years.
"I'm so proud of my tatting and decorations," said Pangborn. "Years ago I earned several first places with my tatting work at fairs. So, I hope I can stay healthy a little longer to do that again."