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Tatting 101

Updated on August 1, 2014
Image Credit: Internet Archive Book Images (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Image Credit: Internet Archive Book Images (CC BY-SA 2.0) | Source

What is Tatting?

Tatting is a way to create hand-knotted lace using a shuttle (or needle) and thread to make a series of knots and loops. These knots and loops are formed into rings and chains that connect together to create a larger piece.

The knots, known as double stitches (ds), are composed of two half stitches made by working the shuttle first over, and then under, the main thread. Loops, or picots (p), are created the same way, but you stop the first half stitch from tightening all the way, leaving a little "loop" in the thread, before completing the second half of the double stitch.

Traditionally, tatting was made as edging for clothing, doilies, linens or towels, or for decoration.

Types of Tatting

The process of making tatted lace includes using a shuttle or needle to create the stitches. While shuttle tatting is an older form of tatting, needle tatting is a viable option for those who don't like using a shuttle. Additionally, certain items (like this tatted chainmaille pattern) can only be made using the needle tatting technique.

However, neither technique is better than the other, and each has its pros, cons, and limitations. Ultimately personal preference is what dictates which tool is used.

Shuttle Tatting

Thread is wound around a tatting shuttle, and then the shuttle is placed in one hand, and is moved back and forth over thread held in the other hand to create the double stitches and picots.

Shuttles are oval shaped, less than three inches in length, and may have a hook, or slightly upturned pointed end. If a shuttle doesn't have a hook, a small crochet hook is used to help guide thread through picots to attach pieces together.

Needle Tatting

Using both hands, thread is looped over the needle in a way that creates both a forward and backward stitch. Picots are created by leaving a space between stitches.

Tatting needles are long with a blunt end. A doll needle can be used as a substitute. Needle tatting can be a good alternative for individuals with hand mobility issues.

Shuttle Tatting Demo

Needle Tatting Demo


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    • profile image

      Minaxi narotam 

      2 years ago

      This a first that the information on both the methods of tatting are good

    • poetryman6969 profile image


      5 years ago

      Looks like you could make some snowflakes in July with some of that lacy tatting.

    • profile image

      jeanine potter 

      6 years ago

      I have a friend who has a tablecloth that needs repair, do you know of anyone who can do this?

    • Wonder wool profile image

      Priyanka Estambale 

      8 years ago from United States

      tatting is very beautiful creation of delicate projects but i can't get a hand of it. Voted up!

    • JulieStrier profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Apopka, FL

      Thanks for the tip. I'm definitely going to have to research "oya".

    • buckleupdorothy profile image


      8 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

      I love this! Absolutely going to try it.

      I strongly recommend looking up "oya" - a Turkish tatted lace which is made usually to line scarves and things.


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The needle tatting looks a whole lot easier than the shuttle tatting. Thanks for this overview of the two methods. Voted up, useful, and interesting.


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