Tatting Lace

I’ve recently read a few blogs about Tatting Lace. I discovered tatting about a year ago and immediately fell in love with the lovely loops that create the very distinct and unique style of this lace.

I watched the tutorial videos, ordered my tatting needles from Amazon, bought some crochet thread. I was ready to cover my entire house with tatted curtains and doilies and anything else that I assumed would be coming off my needle imminently!

It’s one of those crafts that is equal parts easy and very tricky!

The first thing I did was just practice getting my hands and fingers in the right position. Then I just practiced stitching and picoting until my needle was full. Then I took all of the stitches off and did it again, and again, and again until I had built up some muscle memory of the motions and movement involved.

That was the easy part.

I was so impressed with how quickly I learned this glorious technique! I patted myself on the back and visions of miles of lace and hundreds of delicate earrings made my ego soar like a bunch of helium balloons!


Yeah – my tatting needle popped every last one of those balloons and my ego was like the scraps of rubber bits that litter the ground after a party.

My first attempt to do a basic circle joining ended up being a knotted disaster. As did my second, and also my third.

I put the tatting away. What a terrible craft! No wonder it isn’t more popular! What stupid needles so plain and pointy looking! Tatted lace was the dumbest thing I ever saw in my life!! I grabbed my crochet hook and continued to grumble and rant about what a terrible awful UGLY thing tatting is.

I want to try it again.

Tatted lace is beautiful! The creative possibilities are endless! Those loops…..those lovely lovely loops! How could I have ever been so angry at them!

I will try it again.

The repetitive hand motions are so fluid and relaxing. The patterns so intricate, but simple and pure! Those LOVELY LOVELY LOOPS!

I must try it again!

I am going to be a Tattered Phoenix! From the ashes of my previous tatting failure I will rise again and make some earrings or a bracelet. πŸ˜€

More examples of my first Tatting endeavors.

I would love to hear from all of you Tatters! I am attacking this craft with a needle. Do you shuttle tat or needle tat? Do you find one method easier than the other?

If anyone is now interested in Tatting Lace here are some videos that I found helpful:

Needle Tatting Videos

A great big thank you Notewords for this link below! Also please check out Notewords Tatting blog – Tatted ThreadsΒ – gorgeous examples of lace here!

Shuttle Tatting Videos

Thanks for reading!!

~ Tami

55 responses to “Tatting Lace

  1. Tami – congrats for tackling this skill and for sticking with it and not giving up! I have never really heard about this and will definitely check out the videos you linked.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not good at it at all – yet!! It’s been fun and frustrating to try to learn this, but I’m so determined to figure it out because there are so so many beautiful patterns!!! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had my great? grandma’s shuttle for years, but never could figure it out….however, that was before YouTube, so maybe I should reconsider. Your recent efforts certainly look like tatting, so you must be getting the hang of it Tami! Good for you…this is a lost art.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m curious to see if people that actually know how to tat prefer shuttles to needles. I can’t wait to be past that awkward first learning phase to where I keep making my stitches too tight, or not measuring out enough thread – basically all of those newbie mistakes. I can’t wait until it is more fun than frustrating! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome job! I can’t wait to see how you progress with this cause I know it’s going to be gorgeous πŸ™‚
    I don’t think I’ll pick up this skill but eventually I would like to be able to do something with a small hook and lace like yarn. I’ve seen some pictures of earrings online.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I hope I can really get comfortable enough with this to actually make something pretty. I was always intimidated by small hooks and crochet thread too, but I found some tutorials for doilies that were really just basic stitches that I know – it was weird using the thread at first, but it was also weird using Bulky yarn at first too! After a few rows or rounds you get used to it. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ooh I get that! I am using a 6.5mm hook right now and good lord I struggled to wrap my hands around it at first! And it isn’t even that much different from a pencil haha.
        I may look into doilies at first too but goodness I don’t need any around the house but I’m sure I could find people here in Canada to sell them too πŸ˜›

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I react like you when i can’t do something or it annoys me LOL! Never actually even heard of tatting before so this to me looks pretty cool :O Well done for not giving up, bloody tatting. Looking forward to seeing what things you make! TATTING i mean the word is so weird?!?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know right! I actually loved the word the first time I saw it – it’s so weirdly unique! I just want to learn it so I can tell everyone I’m a tatter and they won’t know what the hell I’m talking about but they will be so impressed that I tat! Hell I’ll be so impressed if I can tat!!! I may just be ending up throwing the needles down and stomping my feet again. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I expect there will be more foot stomping before you feel proficient, but you sound like you have a good stubborn streak, so I’m sure you will soon be able to say “I’m a tatter!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure you are predicting that one correctly Claire! There will probably also be some profanity – yeah there will be swearing for sure! I should shut the windows before I practice so the neighbors won’t be alarmed!! πŸ˜€


    • Oh Puff – you make me giggle! I need to see if there is a translate widget so that it will display in Cardstockystampyish for you! I honestly feel the same way with your lovely cards – I don’t know what half of your crafting gadgets and gizmos are – but you sure do know how to use them!!! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ha, good point! Jargon is quite baffling sometimes. I saw a post about a niddy-noddy (I think that was the term) by a crochet crafter. It sounded like something from the Middle Ages, perhaps used in folk dancing or for calming grouchy babies!

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Tami ~
    I use(d) a shuttle. My great grandmother tatted, but it didn’t come down the line to me, however we have yards and yards of her tatting, rescued from worn out pillowcases! MeMe taught me to tat. That’s my ex-husband’s grandmother. Took forever! If you do it backwards, you get a knot, when you do it right the knots will slide along the thread.
    Haven’t done it in years, and when I picked it up a few months ago, I made knot – grrrr. l haven’t had time to play with it long enough to get my muscle memory back.
    Someone gave me one of those tatting needles and I have no idea how that thing works.
    Hang in there.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think that’s what I did wrong Jan – I pulled it through, I thought, and it just knotted. I’m sure I’m using way to much thread too which causes crazy tangles. I’m going to go at it again right from the very beginning and this time – I’m going to watch the entire video before I even touch the needle. I have a terrible habit of thinking I know what I’m doing when I really don’t. LOL – I’m going to also watch the videos using a shuttle so I can decide whether the needle is the way to go, or if they are about the same. That is so wonderful that you were able to save the lace from the old pillow cases!! πŸ˜€


    • I’m going to give it another shot – my tatting needle and ball of thread keep laughing at me and mocking me! Plus I just found Notewords tatting blog and I remembered how much I love the way it looks!!! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You are very brave! I’ve never tried because it looks so… difficult. You’ve proven that it’s difficult. In the days of yore this was a profession only nobles could afford to hire. It’s also nice to see an ancient craft be learned again. One of the cool things about where I live is that we have stores run by professional hand embroiderers and shuttle lace makers that take on particular requests. I haven’t seen any professional tatters who work with a needle, but plenty who work with a shuttle. They do double duty as tailors and seamstresses, repairing clothing. I love this so much and hope you try again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was reading up on it too and in the larger households this was a task that some nobles would have handmaidens and children do. I’m taking a more organized approach to learning how to tat this time – I’m actually going to pay attention to all of the videos and not try to jump ahead of the lessons! I’m really going to try to be patient and not have a temper tantrum when I get knots where knots should not be! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh dear, guilty of buying shuttle tatting supplies because I was so taken with the lace, then put them away in my craft draw and there they have sat ever since! Thanks for the video links, I must try this, I guess it’s a great travelling craft or work lunch break craft as won’t take up much room in your bag, hmm you’ve got me thinking!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hooray! I’m very interested in hearing about your experience with the shuttle. I was practicing with the needle yesterday and actually made a tiny bit of progress with learning this. I identified 2 things I was doing wrong the first time I tried tatting. But only managed to make one closed circle that actually came off the needle like it was supposed to! On the positive side – I didn’t have a temper tantrum, I just put it aside and decided to try again tomorrow – which is now today so we’ll see if I make more progress. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, definitely positive no temper tantrum! I looked at some of the links on you tube, then remembered that ages ago I bought a craftsy lesson on shuttle tatting! What am I like! I buy them when their on offer normally and forgot to go back and look at it.. I watched the first video today, she made it look so easy! Slightly different method to the one shown on the you tube video and she held the thread like I normally hold my crochet yarn! 😊 So still haven’t tried it but the weekend is coming, surely I can find the time then eh!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Heehee that’s funny! I can get the stitches onto the needle with no problem – it’s taking them off that gets messy! I can’t wait to hear about your shuttling this weekend. Feel free to email me direct if you like – tanglewoodknots@gmail.com πŸ˜€


    • Hmmmm it’s been my experience that 3 nopes is pretty much the same as a yes I’m going to try this! 1 nope is a definite no, 2 nopes is a maybe. πŸ˜€


    • My grandmother and one of my aunts used to tat but at the time I had no interest in learning how. I knew how to crochet since I was a little girl but tatting seemed like it was way too complicated. I’m excited about learning how to do it now! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I also learned from my grandmother with a shuttle but have forgotten how to use it. I have the needles as well and find I make more knots than I should and it becomes tangled on me which frustrates the heck out of me. We are alike on that level I hate not knowing how to do something. I will definitely check out the videos because I love how the edges look on collars and sleeves. I love personalizing my clothes and tattered lace adds such much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It has definitely become more than just a pretty craft I would like to learn – it is bordering on an obsessive need to conquer it! I made a lovely closed circle last night and was so excited but then followed up with a simple chain that became a knotted mess! Maybe I’ll pick up a shuttle and give that a try. I will learn this Lyn! It isn’t just tatting anymore – it’s an epic battle of wills between me and the thread! I’m not going to delude myself into thinking that I can make a set of lacy curtains, I just want to make a pair of little loopy earrings!! And that becomes even more irrational because I haven’t worn earrings in at least 10 years!!! πŸ˜€


  10. “I put the tatting away. What a terrible craft! No wonder it isn’t more popular! What stupid needles so plain and pointy looking!” – I laughed when I read this. It’s so fun to read what’s going on in your head, Tami! I love that you decided to make the muscle memory first before trying a project, even though it turned out more trouble than you expected.

    And it reminds me of learning jazz piano, where it took me 4 tries, each time with a different instructor, with success finally … yet, even when I learned the chords and started playing, I still struggled with playing melody in right hand, chords in left hand, without pausing between changes, until finally! about 1-1/2 years in, everything clicked into place and I suddenly turned a corner, being able to play chords and melody without stumbling. It’s hard to know when to quit and when to keep going! I’m sure you will triumph. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Theresa – it is that “click” that I’m waiting for! I just ordered some tatting shuttles this morning so I can compare the two methods to determine which is more beginner friendly. When I watch the videos it seems so easy! But isn’t that the way that the best things are – I’m hoping that in the end I will be much happier with this new skill because of the difficulty it took me to learn it. Either that or I will have another tantrum and put it in the drawer again! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  11. My grandmother and mother-in-law tatted. In fact my grandmother, along with crochet hooks, passed down some shuttles to me (I didn’t know what they were until I watched the beginners video you posted, lol). I may have to load them up and see how many knots I can create before I give the shuttles away, lol. I admire your fortitude and hope you go on to create many beautiful things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Trudy! I ended up buying a shuttle recently thinking it would be easier than using the needle. Both have their pros and cons. I still haven’t been able to make anything but chains. I just need to stick to it and practice. You should give it a try! Maybe you’ll have better luck and patience than I do LOL! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Tuesday Tatting Tales | Tanglewood Knots·

    • Thank you! I am still in the very much beginner stages of tatting. It is easy and hard at the same time!! I think I saw a picture of tatted lace on pinterest or somewhere and got it in my head that I MUST learn how to do this. Then several youtube videos and lots of balls of knotted up thread later and I still can’t do it with any confidence! LOL It’s one of those things that takes a lot of practice and patience. Someday I WILL make something fancy. πŸ˜€


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