The Ancient Art of Tatting

Tatted Loops and Picots

Photo: Tatted Lace and Tatting Shuttle
Photo: Tatted Lace and Tatting Shuttle | Source

Simple Tatting Shuttle Yields Stunning Results

Tatting or shuttle lace, as it is called, employs the use of a thread-carrying tatting shuttle pointed at both ends. A tatter winds thread on the shuttle, then works stitches over the fingers onto the center thread.

Tatting is made up of basic units: the ring and the chain. A tatter fashions knots, loops and picots to create tatted lace. The different sections can be arranged into any number of positions, resulting in intricate and near perfect tatted designs.

Tatted lace has a defined and distinctive look to it and it is truly beautiful.

Tatted Necklace and Earings

Photo: Tatted Necklace and Earnings
Photo: Tatted Necklace and Earnings | Source

Shuttles themselves were a thing of beauty, made from ivory and inlaid with mother of pearl or fashioned from other materials.

Origins of Tatting

How did tatting emerge as a method of making lace?

Tatting had its genesis in the craft of knotting. From antiquity, people used knotting to decorate clothing.

  • It is believed the ancient Egyptians used knotting on garments.
  • The Chinese used knotting techniques and worked these into embroidered designs.
  • By the seventeenth century, the craft of knotting had taken hold. Additional knotting styles were introduced and it became a popular pastime in Europe.
  • Early techniques involved successive knots, so that the work resembled threaded beads or tiny pearls.
  • Knotting gained popularity in England. Designs were worked in fancy threads, which extended to the use of gold thread. Queen Mary was known to be an ardent fan and ladies at Court adopted the practice.

Early Tatting Books

  • Ladies Handbook of Millinery, Dressmaking, and Tatting
  • Encyclopedia of Needlework. Therese de Dillmont

Shuttle Lace and Doilies

At some point, the art of knotting transitioned into circles (c. sixteenth century). The knotted thread was joined – and tatting, as it is known, caught on.

  • By the 18th century, tatting gradually replaced knotting. Early examples of tatting may have been referred to as knotting; however, the word "tatting" was first used in 1843.
  • By the 19th century, tatting designs began appearing in books.

Tatted Doily

Photo: Tatted Doily
Photo: Tatted Doily | Source

Where to Find Tatted Lace

Antique shops and secondhand or thift shops often include handmade items and linens. You just might be able to find some tatted lace for bargain basement prices.

Tatting in Recent Times

Interest in tatting waned after WWII, but in recent years, the art of tatting has been rediscovered. Many people have come across tatted lace in antique shops and have fallen in love with the distinctive look of tatted doilies and edgings.

Tatted lace or shuttle lace looks delicate; however, belying its filigree appearance, it is durable, withstanding the passing of time. This makes tatted lace especially suitable for decorative trim and ornamental applications.

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Tatted Earings Make for Modern Jewelry

Photo: Tatted Earnings
Photo: Tatted Earnings | Source

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Beautiful Tatted Lace Items

Tatted items make distinctive keepsakes and can be passed from generation to generation. Imagine the beauty of a tatted veil or a tatted christening gown?

Shuttle Lace From Past to Present

The art of tatting has come down through the ages and is used by modern crafters to produce captivating and intricate designs that are every bit as captivating as tatted specimens from the past.

© 2013 Athlyn Green

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agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 3 years ago from Indonesia

Very beautiful.

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