An Introduction to Tatting

     The girls and I had an opportunity to attend a tatting class at the library taught by another lady in our community. She showed us beautiful samples of her own completed projects, instruction books with yellowed pages which she had kept since childhood, and taught us step by step how to get started. 

vintage tatting guides
One of the patterns had a 10 cent pricetag.

     As friends shared links and I found others online, I shared them with my daughter and started a tatting Pinterest board with them, too. Several websites didn't have pinnable images but were still very informative, so I'm linking them here. This website is full of links to free tatting patterns. Tat-a-Renda is an entire blog devoted to tatting; she has another list of tatting websites and blogs in her sidebar. On Pinterest, I found this page filled with colorful images of tatting designs. Bella Online even has their own tatting editor! Some of these free patterns include the addition of beads. AllCrafts offers patterns, videos, and lessons. Several links that I discovered showed tatting with the small crochet hook instead of shuttle. 

     During our hour long class, the precious lady demonstrating to us began by explaining the abbreviations used in the instructions for the various stitches. The common ones are as follows:

R ~ Ring
CH ~ Chain
P ~ picot
J ~ to join
RW ~ reverse work
DS ~ double stitch
CLR ~ close the ring

Success! Heather tatted a ring. 

     The thread (the same as my daughter uses for tiny crochet projects) is wound on a bobbin which is inserted into a shuttle. Though she shared that the shuttles for tatting are harder to find now as the craft is less popular than it used to be, she had enough with us for all of us to try as she demonstrated. I had difficulty from the beginning. Combine a tremor with tiny thread wrapped around my fingers, you can imagine the knots. The instructor actually shared with me her surprise that I was "giving up already." My daughters did keep trying, and I captured a few pictures of the process. 

     When we got home, Heather improvised and made her own shuttle/bobbin combo with a bobby pin. She successfully completed a tatted daisy.



  1. Wow, that looks tricky! I had a roommate in college who could tat and crochet fancy things. It's so good to know that the old skills are still alive (although not in me!).

    1. Nor me, Dianna. I'm so thankful for people who volunteer to teach my children things like this that I can't teach them myself.

  2. This looks like a fun project to keep a teen girl busy! I will have to check our local library to see if they offer anything like this, I've never looked.

    Amy B

  3. Whew. I'm so relieved this wasn't a tutorial on tattooing your children. :) :) Such beautiful, delicate handwork - and what a blessing to have an older woman teach you girls! Thanks for sharing! I'm not gifted in areas like this but I my oldest daughter is and she'll find this fascinating! (visiting from TOS forum)


comments from friends: