Introduction to Needle Tatting

In the past, I thought tatting would be fun. I had heard it was difficult. So I had no desire to try it. (What a bad excuse and a poor attitude!) Then some folks started talking about it on an email list to which I subscribe. The focus of the list is people powered sewing machines (treadles and handcranks). Some were wanting small doilies to put on the spool pins of their machines. Usually there is a felt disc at the bottom of the spool pin--doilies are prettier. The purpose of such is to create friction so the spool doesn't spin free and let the thread get loopy between the spool and the tension assembly. If you watch sometime when you are sewing, the thread doesn't not feed evenly off of the spool, but rather in short jerks. So, back to tatting: some of these folks crochet little doilies, and some are tatting them. Someone pointed out that needle tatting was much easier than shutting tatting. Others began posting links to tutorials and videos. I excitedly followed along and at some point decided to try it myself.

The verdict? It's addicting(though you wouldn't think so judging from the number of pictures in the post). There are only two items needed--the tatting needle and thread. (OK, four, if you count scissors and a pattern.) There is only one "stitch" to learn--the double stitch, aka 'ds.' Double stitches are formed by tying half-hitches onto the needle. I'm not a knitter, but it seems very similar to casting on stitches except that perhaps every other one is reversed. Chains of double stitches are formed by pushing a line of them off the threaded end of the needle. Rings are formed by joining the ends of a chain. The loops (picots) come from leaving spaces between your double stitches. Elements are joined together by putting the needle through a picot between stitches. Anyway, that's what I have learned in a nutshell. I have not bought a book yet. There was enough on the internet to get me started. I do intend to but a book a some point though. Now that I know what I think it's supposed to look and feel like, I would like to try shuttle tatting. So, when I get a book, I'm thinking it should be encyclopedic in nature.

Here is a picture of my second project. It is made with size 10 cotton cordonnet thread, which is technically too thick to be called tatting thread. (It is referred to as crochet thread.) But it is recommended for learning.

The yellow squares measure one inch square, so the butterfly measures just under two inches square.

This little butterfly could be sewn to a little girls' dress. It could be glued to a greeting card. It could be hung from the ceiling or on the wall. It could be framed. It could be attached to a barrette or bobby pin as a hair accessory.

I was very impressed with the service I received from Handy Hands Tatting. Part of my order was incorrect. They generously corrected the mistake--after their published business hours! Packing and shipping was very fast.

Next is to procure the proper size tatting needle for my size 40 thread so I can try some "real" tatting. I think I would like to tat edgings on some hankies for the impending allergy season.


  1. The thought has crossed my mind over the years, that it might be fun to try tatting. I never have, because it looks too hard. Your butterfly is so pretty and you did a great job! Maybe someday I will try it.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Leftover Oatmeal Quickbread

Better Blanket Stitch for Pfaff 7550 and 7570

Spicin' it Up!