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★ How to Tat | Tatting Craft Tutorials and Projects ★

Updated on March 3, 2015
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Learn Needle & Shuttle Tatting - From Beginners to Advanced

Tatting is traditionally used to add decorative edging to tablecloths, to add collars to clothes, and to make doilies, but did you know that it can also be used for clothes, accessories, scarves, jewellery, and even underwear!? Unfortunately, tatting is a dying art - but I'm here to show you that it still has a place in modern crafts.

Tatting is a durable type of lace and is made by forming a series of knots and loops/picots arranged into rings and chains. Tatting dates to the early 19th century and was developed to imitate point lace.

I am by no means an expert (I've only learned tatting myself recently), so on this page I have listed the best tutorials and projects from around the web - on both methods of tatting.

I hope it inspires you to give tatting a go!

The Two Methods Of Tatting

- Needle Tatting; where the knots are formed on a long, blunt needle. This is the method I use.

- Shuttle Tatting; which is the traditional method of tatting and uses an oval object called a shuttle to form the knots. I think this method looks more impressive, but I found it harder to master than the needle tatting. However, you should try both methods to see which one works for you.

Beautiful Black Tatted Mask

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Tatting Glossary

Tatting is the creation of knots using either a shuttle or a needle, and these knots are formed and tightened over a core thread. The designs you can make for doilies and other tatted items are constructed from different combinations of chains and rings.

Double Stitch (DS): This basic stitch is the 'knot' that is the main component of tatting. It is made up of 2 simple half-hitches (single stitches) and when created it can slide up and down the core thread. The fact that the stitches can slide along the core thread is what allows you do make rings, picots and use other fancy techniques.*

* I had great difficulty as a beginner shuttle-tatter getting the double stitches to slide along the core thread, and I later learned that this was because I didn't 'flip' my stitches. Each and every single stitch (of which 2 make up every DS) must 'flip' in order to allow them to slide, and this is achieved by keeping the shuttle thread - the thread coming directly from the shuttle - in tension whilst tightening each stitch. As a clearer explanation: Each single stitch you make will be formed with a loose shuttle thread. Before each stitch (knot) is tightened to finish it, you must make sure that the shuttle thread 'flips' from being loose to being taut. The thread that isn't the shuttle thread will become the loose one, and thus will end up wrapping around the shuttle thread (which is the core thread), rather than the other way around. It's quite hard to explain, but I hope that makes a bit of sense!

Chain (CH): A chain is a string of double stitches and usually can be found linking tatted rings together.

Picot (P): Leaving a gap between 2 double stitches produces a short loose length of thread, and it is this loose section of thread which forms a picot (tiny loop) when the double stitches are pushed together to eliminate the gap. The larger the gap; the larger the picot loop. Picots are used for decoration or can be used to join different tatted components like rings together.

Ring (R): A ring is a circle made of double stitches, and is a common part of tatting designs.

Tatting Thread: The thread used for tatting can be a variety of sizes, and the higher the thread number, the finer/thinner the thread. For beginners I would recommend size 10 or 20 so that the thread is relatively thick and so easier to work with. The usual sizes that are chosen are at least size 20, and are often 30, 50 or 80. I use crochet cotton.

Josephine Knot (JK): These knots are a traditional element used in tatting and are small and delicate rings used for ornamental purposes. The rings are made using only single stitches (SS), which are half of double stitches (DS).

Cluny Leaf: Cluny leaves are leaf-shaped components which are formed by a weaving technique, using a shuttle or needle to weave over 3 sections of thread whilst using your hand as a kind of 'loom'. The leaves are solid flat shapes.

Top-Rated Tatting Books

For a comprehensive guide to this intricate craft, books are the best resource for patterns, advice and tips all in one place.

Learn to Tat (Book & DVD)
Learn to Tat (Book & DVD)

Excellent starter book for beginner shuttle tatters with clear step-by-step instructions and an included DVD.

 
Easy Tatting (Dover Knitting, Crochet, Tatting, Lace)
Easy Tatting (Dover Knitting, Crochet, Tatting, Lace)

Tutorials for how to tat many different shapes, from the simplest flowers to detailed snowflakes and ornaments.

 
Tatting Jewellery
Tatting Jewellery

Learn to make intricate and elegant necklaces, bracelets and earrings with plenty of patterns provided - including jewelry which incorporates beads within the tatting.

 
The Complete Book of Tatting: Everything You Wanted to Know But Couldn't Find Out About Shuttle Lace
The Complete Book of Tatting: Everything You Wanted to Know But Couldn't Find Out About Shuttle Lace

Shuttle tatting guide for beginners which also includes lots of simple pattern diagrams including butterflies and flowers.

 
Tatted Snowflakes
Tatted Snowflakes

This book provides 40 unique and individual snowflake designs suitable for beginner to advanced tatters, and is perfect for Christmas ornament projects.

 

Tatting Shuttles

Shuttles can be found in a variety of materials and shapes, although most modern ones are a classic oval shape and are made of plastic. Shuttles are usually very inexpensive, so tatting is an easy and affordable craft to start. Click here for more photos and examples of shuttles on the market.

Photo by Nightbird.

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Craftsy Online Class

If you are interested in taking a more in-depth class in tatting, and you are a visual learner, there is a tatting class available online on the website Craftsy.

If you'd like to learn more, please click on the link beneath the picture to the right >

P.S. For transparency; the link to the right is an affiliate link, however I would not recommend something I did not believe to be good value (just check out all of the 5* reviews!) Thanks in advance if you do end up using the link to join the class :)

Shuttle Tatting Videos

Elegant Tatted Necklace Back

Necklace consists of black cotton thread for the tatting, plus silver plated chain and Swarovski crystals.
Necklace consists of black cotton thread for the tatting, plus silver plated chain and Swarovski crystals. | Source

Tatting Tutorials - Mostly for Shuttle Tatting

These lessons are great for all beginners to tatting - even if you want to try needle tatting rather than shuttle tatting - as a lot of the theory and techniques are shared between the two different methods.

Elegant Tatted Necklace

Photo and jewelry by Pie Knits - Click here for more details.

Snowflakes

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Tatted Skull Cameo Brooch

Made with size 20 crochet cotton thread using the needle tatting technique.
Made with size 20 crochet cotton thread using the needle tatting technique. | Source

Needle Tatting Videos

Tatted Hairpin Lace

tatted-hairpin-lace-doily
tatted-hairpin-lace-doily

Photo and tatting by Ninetta Caruso - Click here for more details and a link to the pattern.

A Portable Hobby

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Tatted Ring

This motif involves tatting around a solid ring shape to give more of a 3D shape.
This motif involves tatting around a solid ring shape to give more of a 3D shape. | Source

Frog Button Closures

The pattern for these fancy closures, plus other tatting patterns, is available for purchase here on Etsy.

Photo by Yarn Player.

Dainty Motif

Source

Best Tatting Supplies on Amazon

Do You Tat?

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Please Comment on my Lens!

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    • profile image

      Olga Mattisson 13 months ago

      I am 52 years old and I am going to start tatting, I think it is beautiful. In Colombia this art is called "Frivolite".

    • Kim Swinfen profile image

      Kim Swinfen 2 years ago

      really nicely done and clear, i tat both ways use needle for thicker tread and big projects and the shuttle for finer thread , i find it relaxing and rewarding hobby and many of my friends admire my work . Thanks for sharing . parislexi yes you can use dmc thread and you can go from i stand up to all 6 i have done it as i cross stitch too .

    • MG Seltzer profile image

      MG Seltzer 2 years ago from South Portland, Maine

      Sharing this with my daughter, who does crocheting and knitting. I think she might try the needle method for small projects, like the decoration for the back of the necklace. Thanks!

    • profile image

      parislexi 3 years ago

      Does anyone know if I can use the cotton DMC thread I used for cross stitching previously for tatting? It's 100% cotton, six stranded, but I only used 1 or 2 strands for cross stitching.

    • profile image

      parislexi 3 years ago

      Excellent for tatting resources - has everything I need to get started! Thank you!!!

    • JuDe83 LM profile image

      JuDe83 LM 3 years ago

      This is on my to do listi for a long time, but I will learn it one day. Very inspirational lens.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 3 years ago

      Awesome examples of tatting - that mask is definitely not your grandmother's tatting! Pinned to my crafting board and otherwise bookmarked.

    • profile image

      fiona-trapani 3 years ago

      @anonymous: I'm not sure that you need to 'flip' with needle tatting, as you make the stitches on the needle and slide them over the 'core thread' as you complete each ring/chain. Perhaps intatters could help you, there are a number of needle tatters there :) Have fun

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Donna Kelly The flip-slip stitch in tatting means change the tension-bottom loop pop to the top. Both thumbs take thread and pull straight. tattinglady@cfl.rr.com

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Nice lens. I am just starting to learn how to shuttle tat and I'm having lots of trouble with the "flip". When I watch the various videos you posted and that I have found myself, I just don't get it when it comes to the "flip". I have kind of gotten it for the first half of the double stitch but the second half is really messing me up. So far I have just wasted lots of thread because the knots just end up stuck on the thread so I cannot pull to make the rings. I think I am going to have to find someone in person who can help me face2face.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Love the tutorial crystal clear and believe me I think I've watched them all on YouTube.I'm 60 and I crochet cross stitch and can knit but not a fan and now I want to learn this beautiful art.

      Tatting is beautiful not hard but ds is not easy to flip.thank you for this instruction.

    • aprildawncreati profile image

      aprildawncreati 4 years ago

      Thank you for compiling this great resource of information on tatting. Maybe you could post some pics of work you have done. How long have you been doing tatting?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I had a good chance to learn this as a child but was too busy playing with mud pies. Now in my 70s and want to learn.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I enjoy all sorts of craft. I love tatting, I can't get the hany of shuttle tatting, and have so many questions about needle tatting. Thank you for this site. It is well put together, and will be helpful.

    • rubyandmahoney profile image

      rubyandmahoney 5 years ago

      I tried to learn to tat about 10 years ago and couldn't figure it out. I am going to have to dig out my shuttle and try again because I LOVE those carnival earrings!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'm among the 1.7 but I did enjoy the whole site experience, so new and well presented,thank you, I came by way of Donna DM site and I'll be back

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love to tat and so I really enjoyed your Lens. You are right. It is a dying art, and I aim to keep it alive. Great Lens.

    • profile image

      enjoyecigs 5 years ago

      amazing lens....wow!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice links and useful post. You make some truly lovely things. I learned to needle tat with your flower pendant and have made the fleurette necklace as well (and worn it out too!).

      Can you give me some advice please? I'm still trying to get my head around true rings for needle tatting as I've heard it to be neater than the SCMR. Am I just not neat enough when I make knots after reversing the work? You can definitely see a little 'bump' between my rings and chains.

      Btw, I like your hair. :)

    • profile image

      tresorparis 5 years ago

      So beautiful! You've made a great lens!

    • BlissGlutenFree profile image

      BlissGlutenFree 5 years ago

      Very nice lens, thank you!

    • Thrinsdream profile image

      Thrinsdream 5 years ago

      I had never heard of this before, really interesting craft. With thanks and appreciation. Cathi x

    • nelchee profile image

      nelchee 5 years ago

      Nice lens :)

      I bought the needles and collected some tutorials, but I have yet to start.. no time to try out everything I'd like :) I would like to create handmade lace to go with my sculpted jewelry.

    • NeverTooLate2012 profile image

      NeverTooLate2012 5 years ago

      Thank you for this wonderful lens! My grandmother tatted & so do I. You dont' hear much about it anymore.

    • ottoblotto profile image

      ottoblotto 5 years ago

      Nicely done!

    • MerryChicky profile image

      MerryChicky 5 years ago

      Tatting isn't something I've tried before, only because I didn't see how I could use it. After seeing the modern patterns - rings, etc - I'm ready to give it a try. Thanks!

    • Stacy Birch profile image

      Stacy Birch 5 years ago

      I've never heard of this before, the the things you can make are really awesome. Great lens.

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image

      Sheila 5 years ago from Omaha, NE

      Lovely lens, full of helpful info and beautiful eye candy! The jewelry is especially beautiful! Blessed today by a Squid Angel.

    • earthybirthymum profile image

      earthybirthymum 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I want to learn! Always have, but thought it was too delicate and complicated. You've inspired me!

    • BakerBayBeadCo profile image

      BakerBayBeadCo 5 years ago

      This is Really Cool! Love the beading details!

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 6 years ago from USA

      Fantastically lovely...thanks!

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 6 years ago

      very helpful lens. thanks for this. Great job! blessed by the Squid Angel Back to school tour bus.

    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 6 years ago from Minnesota

      my neighbor was good at tatting. She'd buy table cloths at auctions, re-tat them and resell them. It was interesting to watch. Interesting lens!

    • profile image

      purpleslug 6 years ago

      I've always wanted to try tatting. Great lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      i sooo love this lens! i would like to try this as soon as possible, looks so much fun!

      _____________________________________

      get the perfect DIY conservatory to improve the look and feel of your home!

    • profile image

      HelanaRirosknee 6 years ago

      This is very interesting. At some point, I would love to learn how to do this. The mask shown above is extraordinary.

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 6 years ago

      I LOVE LOVE the mask.. so cool.

    • CherrrieB profile image

      CherrrieB 6 years ago

      I am really thrilled about tatting and working with fibers so much. Thanks for making this great lens.

    • profile image

      SandyPeaks 6 years ago

      Nice designs - very Goth!

    • profile image

      badmsm 6 years ago

      OOOOOOO, this is fantastic! What creative projects, much better than what I've found in books. I have enough doilies, I want fun, sexy stuff to make. Great lens! :)

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 6 years ago

      Tatting is one of the things on my bucket list that I'd like to learn. This is an extremely comprehensive resource for the would-be tatter - I'm excited to share it with my friends! Dropping a quick angel blessing on it, too.

    • Diana888 profile image

      Diana J. Limjoco 6 years ago from Puerto Princesa, Palawan

      Wow I was taught this in school in the 1960s! Beautiful black tatted mask and ankle thingie!!! Thanks for sharing! I have an antique tatting shuttle in mother of pearl and hand carved designs on it. It used to belong to my grandmother..I might try my hand at tatting again.

    • profile image

      SofiaMann 6 years ago

      Fantastic designs. I love the mask. Congratulations.

    • wellingtonboot profile image
      Author

      wellingtonboot 6 years ago from U.K.

      Thanks for the comments! It's pretty easy to learn the very basics of tatting, and I'd say a small butterfly takes me less than 10 minutes :-)

    • svetico profile image

      svetico 6 years ago

      I learned this craft many years ago. Hope I still remember how to do it, because I didn't do it for a long time. It is one of the best hobbies for people who have little free time and little free space because you may do it everywhere. In Russia and some other places it is known as "frivolite" so you may wish to add this tag to your lenses

    • profile image

      sexijewelz 6 years ago

      Dood, i love it. There are so many beautiful tatting designs, which actually look great and elegant.

      Was it difficult for you to learn it? and how long does it take to make a snowflake, for example?

    • MomwithAHook LM profile image

      Sara Duggan 6 years ago from California

      Lovely lens. I've always wanted to learn this craft.

    • profile image

      resabi 6 years ago

      Back to sprinkle a little SquidAngel dust among the threads.

    • profile image

      resabi 7 years ago

      Well, I have zero manual dexterity, so I do not tat but I really admire the art (and that tatted mask is killer!) A former neighbor -- she was in her 90s -- used to tat and sometimes made cards with tatted flowers. I have a few of her little motifs that she did for a miniature book on tatting that I haven't gotten around to doing. Yet... Thanks for this lens. Thumbs up and favoriting.

    • myraggededge profile image

      myraggededge 7 years ago

      Oh this is lovely! I have a cotton bed cover with a gorgeous tatting edging that was made by my grandmother for her wedding - it must be 80 years old. Have never thought of learning it but that anklet is verrry sexy!

      Blessed by a Squidoo angel :-)