Free Tatting Lessons - Illustrations below

Tatting is an ancient needlecraft dating back for centuries. Practiced in the Far East and Europe. It is made with one or more shuttles or a shuttle and a ball. The shuttle with a sharp blade-like "pick" at one end is the most practical type. This pick is used to draw the thread thorough a picot when joinings are made. If you use a shuttle without a pick, it will be necessary to use a pin or crochet hook each time to pull the thread through in joining, which will slow up your work. The ends of the shuttle should be tight enough that the thread will not unwind if the shuttle is dropped.

Winding the Bobbin

In the center of the shuttle, between the blades, is a bobbin. If the bobbin is removable and has a hole at one side, tie the thread and wind the bobbin until full. If bobbin is not removable tie thread into the bobbin hole and fill the bobbin by wrapping smoothly and evenly with thread until bobbin is filled. Do not fill it so full that the thread projects beyond the blades of the shuttle. For practice work, any coarse mercerized crochet cotton, number 20 or 30, may be used. this size thread would make tatting of a good weight for a linen guest towel. Finer thread is used for daintier work. Thread for tatting should be tightly twisted and without knots or rough places. Tatting consists of a series of "running knots," or stitches, which are usually drawn into rings, therefore the thread must be one which will slip easily through the knots.

Double Stitch: Unwind about 15 inches of thread from the shuttle. Hold flat sides of shuttle between thumb and forefinger of right hand, in a horizontal position, with thread coming from back of bobbin. Grasp thread about 3 or 4 inches from free end between thumb and forefinger of left hand; spread the middle, ring and little fingers and bring thread around to thumb and forefinger again, to make a circle, holding it securely between thumb and forefinger with the end of thread and crossing it. This forms the ring upon which the stitches are worked.

Each tatting stitch is really made up of two stitches, one purled to the right and one to the left. These two stitches form what is called the double stitch (ds).

To make the first half of the double stitch, (Fig. I) hold shuttle in your right hand, bring the shuttle thread across

on palm side and above the little and ring fingers of the right hand (middle finger can be used with other fingers under right hand thread to help guide it), carry the thread to the left of the ring, thrust the shuttle down through center of ring away from you front to back. Let top portion of ring between forefinger and middle finger of left hand slip gently between right forefinger and shuttle. Without releasing hold on shuttle, bring it back over same portion of ring-that is, slip ring thread between thumb and shuttle (Fig. 2).

Relax or ease the fingers of the left hand, allowing the ring to collapse slightly and pull the shuttle out to right until the shuttle thread is taut. Keep the right hand thread taut; with fingers of left hand relaxed, allow ring to collapse slightly, give a quick jerk away from you with right hand, thus the first half of st automatically jumps, looking somewhat like a blanket stitch. Spread the fingers of the left hand, expanding the ring. As you raise the middle finger of left hand, the slip knot slides easily to forefinger and thumb of left hand. Hold slip knot in place with forefinger and thumb of left hand.

The slip knot should slide along the top of the shuttle thread as shown in Fig. 3. Practice this part several times and test to see if it is a slip knot by pulling the shuttle; the shuttle thread should slide easily through the stitches.

This step is very important for if you do it correctly you will have a slip knot or stitch, if not, a hard knot which will not slip on the ring will result.

The second half of the double stitch is made in the opposite way. Hold the first half of the double in place between thumb and forefinger. With shuttle in horizontal position (do not wind thread around right hand as for first half of double), keep thread to the front, allowing it to fall slack (Fig. 4).

Let top portion of ring between forefinger and middle finger of left band slip gently between thumb and shuttle as it moves over the thread, away from you. Bring shuttle immediately forward, under the same portion of ring thread-that is, slip ring thread between forefinger and shuttle, without releasing shuttle. Throw a slip knot in the same way as before; relax the fingers of the left hand, allowing the ring to collapse slightly, draw the shuttle to the right until the thread is taut, give a quick jerk away from you with right hand, then spread the finders of the left hand (Fig 5.),

this way expanding the ring and throwing the slip knot or second half of double in place beside the first half.

This completes a double stitch. By pulling the shuttle thread, the stitch slips back and forth. If it does not, the stitch has been locked by a wrong motion and must be taken out and made over.

Practice making the doubles, until they can be done without looking at instructions; draw each stitch against the previous one. When you can make doubles easily, experiment by making 10 or 12 doubles, then pull the shuttle thread tight to form a ring, while holding the stitches gently together.

Click here to continue to lesson 2 "Rings and Picots"