Friday, October 31, 2014

Always Learning

This lovely little vessel of sorts
was given to me years ago
because, yes I am the one who likes old 'stuff.'
It was handed down through some extended family,
and was at a bit of an end so it came my way.
It is from Estonia.
It appeared to me to be a crochet set
for some very tiny/fine lace.

What I learned after all these years...

It is actually a tambour set.
Tambour was the precursor to crocheting.
What we now call crocheting
was once called tambour in the air.
It is frequently seen on such finery as wedding veils
or beaded pieces.
Fabric was stretched over a drum/hoop
which is in conjunction with the tambourine and snare drum.
The hook actually goes through the fabric where
the thread is wrapped around, hooked, and drawn
back up through the fabric.
It's really like crocheting through fabric.
(There are several good youtube videos if you're interested.)
There are various sized hooks for different threads.
This finest hook is about like a snag in your fingernail.
Even with a dime to reference size,
it is difficult to see just how small it is.
I can't imagine the works this set created.
It was so amazing to learn what it actually was.
I love those little bits of knowledge of history and tradition
that would otherwise be lost to modernization.

I tell friends, "I know lots of useless information, just
don't ask me anything important."
(Example: Did you know the zipper wasn't invented until 1891?)
This is just one more of those little morsels.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches


  1. Your tambour set is fascinating to me. It's lovely in it's own right, but the history you shared is equally interesting. Any idea who in your extended family might have used it? And I wonder when tambour embroidery went airborne? I love useless knowledge. ;)
    Several years ago my daughter and I were involved in reenacting at a local historical site. I was told I couldn't bring anything crochet-wise to work on during events as crocheting wasn't done in the 1790s at the site. I wonder if tambour embroidery was...I'll be looking into that. Thank you for sharing your treasure and it's history. Have a great day!

    1. I found a site that has a little more info on both:) Tambour was popular from about 1730-1840 when a machine was invented that was drastically faster than hand and hook:(

    2. Thank you for the link, I hadn't run across it in my own search.
      Innovation has really changed the world, but I still love the therapeutic motion of handwork. It's restful and gives one time to muse and plan as I'm sure you well know. Again, this was a very interesting post.

  2. you certainly are a hive of information, these little snippets are always interesting and a lovely vessel too

  3. I've never seen this before! That's really neat.

  4. Beautiful and functional! Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick®