★ How to Tat | Tatting Craft Tutorials and Projects ★
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
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.
Excellent starter book for beginner shuttle tatters with clear step-by-step instructions and an included DVD.
Tutorials for how to tat many different shapes, from the simplest flowers to detailed snowflakes and ornaments.
Learn to make intricate and elegant necklaces, bracelets and earrings with plenty of patterns provided - including jewelry which incorporates beads within the tatting.
Shuttle tatting guide for beginners which also includes lots of simple pattern diagrams including butterflies and flowers.
This book provides 40 unique and individual snowflake designs suitable for beginner to advanced tatters, and is perfect for Christmas ornament projects.
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.
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
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.
- What is Tatting?
Useful introduction to stitches and tools.
- 104 Video Tutorials
Huge teaching resource covering pretty much every technique in the book.
- Beginner's Lessons to Download
Over 20 pages of instructions covering the basics and more.
- Tips & Tutorials
A useful collection of written and video tutes.
Instructions with diagrams.
- Left and Right Handed Methods
Great instructions for both.
- Shuttle Tatting Series
Tutorials for absolute beginners and some lessons for more advanced tatters.
- Kelley's Video Classes
Clear and helpful videos from Knit Picks.
- Cluny Leaves Tatting
Watch a demo of a cluny leaf being made.
- How to Add a New Thread
For when you run out of thread part way through your piece.
- Tatting Lace 101
Big step-by-step pictures to walk you through the process.
- This 'n' Tat Basics
Including an important section on the thread 'flip'.
- Flipping Every Half Stitch
How to solve a common beginner's mistake.
- Magic Thread Method
To hide the ends of your tatting thread.
Elegant Tatted Necklace
Tatting Projects and Shapes
- Beautiful Tatted Mask
Elegant and delicate mask perfect for a masquerade party.
- Butterfly Bookmark
Pattern for a butterfly with a long tail.
- Foot Art
Tatted accessories to wrap over your feet.
- Free Tatting Patterns
From snails to xmas decorations.
- Free Diagrams and Patterns
For lots of different tatted shapes.
- Tatted Jewellery
A collection of tutorials.
- Lace Hand Ornament
Elegant black lace bracelet which covers the hand.
- Lots of Tutorial Links
Including bookmarks and edging.
- Needle Tatted Necklace
Ornate black necklace.
- Another Needle Tatted Necklace
With a different design - and with beads.
- Tatted Underwear
An instructable for beginners.
- 4 Lovely Tutorials
Including a heart and hanky edging.
- Tatted Winter Star
These would be perfect for Christmas decorations.
- Cluny Leaves and Flower
Pretty application of tatting.
- Unique Shape Patterns
Pretty snowflake, bird and earring designs.
- 12 Bookmark Patterns
Free pretty patterns.
- Half Moon Necklace
Lovely tatted necklace in a semi circle shape.
- Snowflake with Beads
Perfect beginner project - this snowflake is made with just rings.
- Original Patterns
A range of pretty patterns, all available for free.
- Stiffened Gilded Crowns
This technique with lace could also be applied to finished tatting.
Tatted Skull Cameo Brooch
Needle Tatting Videos
Tatted Hairpin Lace
Photo and tatting by Ninetta Caruso - Click here for more details and a link to the pattern.