I’m slightly embarrassed to admit this, seeing as I work in the crafting industry and all, but I had never heard of tatting until quite recently. Not even so much as a casual mention among my crafting friends. Which is why I thought it was strange when tatting came up the other day and I thought to myself, “What in the world is that?!”
I’ve always been one to act on my curiosity, so I decided to do some digging and find out what this tatting thing was all about. After a little bit of surfing the net, I found out that tatting is a technique for handcrafting a kind of lace that’s really durable. Basically it’s constructing lace by creating a series of knots and loops, and it’s often used for edging, collars and even doilies.
I also found out that, even though it’s new to me, tatting has been around for a very long time. Like 19th century long time. Way back when, it seems that tatting was developed as a way to imitate point lace. I found it interesting that the way tatting is translated in most European languages is that it’s derived from the French word frivolité, which means just what it sounds like… a purely decorative design that’s particularly frilly and girly.
Okay, enough with the history lesson. Let’s get to the good stuff already! While digging into the wonderful world of tatting, I stumbled across this awesome book called Learn Needle Tatting Step-By-Step by Barbara Foster. It’s actually more than just a book, it’s a kit that includes a size 5-0 needle and a needle threader. This is a great book for anyone new to tatting like me, especially since it includes 85 color photos that really illustrate what this technique is all about. Because as any crafter knows, having a visual reference makes everything SO much easier!
This book is all about needle tatting, which is a particular kind of tatting. But as I quickly learned, there’s so much more to tatting than just needle tatting. You can also tat with a shuttle, which is a little pointed oval tool that holds wound thread and helps guide it through loops so that it’s easier to make your lace. Tatting with a shuttle is the earliest known form of tatting, and the shuttles used to look like this:
Needle tatting uses needles like this:
and produces a similar result to shuttle tatting, although the results are slightly thicker and looser.
If you want to get started tatting, the Learn Needle Tatting Step-By-Step book is a great place to start. Once you get the hang of the technique, you can move on to pretty project like this Twinkle Star. Imagine how lovely these would look as ornaments hanging from your Christmas tree, or as little embellishments on your holiday cards!
After you’ve learned the basics, I suggest you pick up The Complete Book of Tatting... that includes SO many projects, and anything you may have missed on your quest to master this craft!
Have you ever tried tatting before? What did you think of it?
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