Tatting Tutorial

The English name of tatting is said to be derived from «tatters» and to denote the frail disconnected character of the fabric. By the Italians it was formerly called «occhi», whilst in the East it still bears the name of «makouk», from the shuttle used in making it.

In the eighteenth century, when tatting was in great vogue, much larger shuttles than our present ones were used, because of the voluminous materials they had to carry, silk cord being one.

Patterns Instructions

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Tatted Butterflies Pattern

Tatting Instruction

Shuttles.—The tatting shuttle consists of two oval blades of either bone, ivory, mother of pearl or tortoise-shell, pointed at both ends, and joined together in the middle. A good shuttle contributes materially to the rapid and perfect execution of the work and attention should be paid in its selection to the following particulars: that it be not more than 7 c/m. long and 2 or 3 c/m. wide: that the two ends be close enough to prevent the thread from protruding; this is more especially important in tatting with two shuttles and lastly, that the centre piece that joins the two oval blades together should have a hole bored in it, large enough for the thread to pass through.

In filling the shuttle, be careful not to wind on too much thread at once, or the blades will gape open at the ends and the thread get soiled by constant contact with the worker's hands.

Materials.—A strongly twisted thread is best for tatting.

First Position of the Hands

First position of the hands —The construction of the knots or stitches, appears at first sight to present great difficulties but will be easily mastered by attention to the instructions here given. One thing, to be bear in mind is, that when the right hand has passed the shuttle through the loop, it must stop with a sudden jerk and hold the thread tightly extended until the left hand has drawn up the knot. After filling the shuttle, take the end of the thread between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand, and the shuttle in the right, pass the thread over the third and fourth fingers of the left hand, bring it back towards the thumb and cross the two threads under the fingers, Pass the thread that comes from the shuttle round the little finger of the right hand, and give the shuttle the direction shown in the picture.

Second and third position of the hands

Make the shuttle pass between the first and third fingers, in the direction indicated by the arrow in the picture above, and bring it out behind the loop.

Here the first difficulties for beginners arise and until they have sufficiently mastered the movements of both hands not to confuse them, we advise them to pay careful attention to the following instructions. As soon as you have put the shuttle through the loop, place the right hand on the table with the thread tightly extended, leaving the left hand perfectly passive.

Third position of the hands.

Then, raising the third and fourth fingers of the left hand with the loop upon them, pull up the loop, stretching the thread tightly in so doing by extending the fingers. By this movement a knot is formed, the first part of the «double knot», which is the most common one in tatting.

Remember that the right hand must be kept perfectly still as long as the left is in motion and that the knot must be formed of the loop thread that is in the left hand.

The right hand, or shuttle thread, must always be free to run through the knots; if it were itself formed into knots it would not have the free play, needed for loosening and tightening the loop on the left hand, as required.

Fourth position of the hands

The second part of a knot is formed by the following movements: pass the shuttle, , from left to right, between the first and third fingers through the extended loop; the right hand seizes the shuttle in front of the empty loop and extends the thread; the left hand pulls up this second part of the knot as it did the first.

Single or half knots. Josephine picots the Josephine picot or purl, as it is also called in tatting, consists of a series of single or half knots formed of the first knot only. These picots may be made of 4 or 5 knots, as in first picture, or of 10 or 12 knots, as in second picture.

Fifth position of the hands

When the second knot forming the double knot has been made, the two hands resume the position

Position of the hands for making a picot .Picots are introduced into tatting patterns as they are into knitting and crochet. They also serve to connect the different parts of a pattern together and render a great many pretty combinations feasible.

Position of the hands for making a picot.

Open and Closed Picots

These are formed of single knots, leaving a loop on the extended thread, as shown in the picture above and a short length of thread between the knots; finish the second half knot and when you have pulled it up, join it to the preceding knot. In this manner the picot represented in the second picture and is formed quite naturally.

In every kind of tatting the knot that comes after the picot is independent of the loop.

Thus if the directions say: 2 knots, 1 picot, 3 knots, 1 picot, 2 knots, etc., you must count the knot that served to form the loop and not make: 2 knots, 1 picot, 4 knots, etc. To join the different rings, ovals, etc., together by means of picots, take up the thread that runs over the left hand with a crochet needle, inserting it into the picot downwards from above, draw the thread through and pull it up like any other knot.

Tatting with two shuttles '

Two shuttles are used in tatting when the little rings are not to be connected together at the bottom by a thread, when you want to hide the passage of the thread to another group of knots and when threads of several colours are used.

When you work with two shuttles, tie the two threads together. Pass one thread over the third finger of the left hand, wind it twice round the fourth finger and leave the shuttle hanging down.

Pass the second shuttle into the right hand and make the same movements with it as you do in working with one shuttle only.

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