What Is Tatting?

by Cristian I

Tatting – The Vintage Lacework

Although it might seem like tatting would relate to the tattoo industry, it is actually a form of vintage lacework.

Anyone who enjoys doing some embroidery, sewing, knitting, or crocheting would likely appreciate tatting’s creative requirements.

It is quite similar to threat crochet, especially with the doilies and edgings required to finish the pieces.

The intricate knotwork creates stunning designs, while some weaving skills work to give the fabric its trademark texture.

The historical use for tatting was to give clothing more designs and details to increase the value of individual pieces.

Today, you will find it used to make everything from placemats to framed artwork.

Photo Credits

What Is the History of Tatting?

Although tatting’s actual origin is unknown, it likely came from fishers and sailors who created different knots to form fishing nets.

The practice of fishing while using nets is more than 2,000 years old.

You could walk into homes throughout the centuries to see ropework, lace pieces, and similar items that all followed a specific knotting pattern.

It was more affordable than a tapestry, could be done at home in your spare time, and it would still be a conversation piece.

It wasn’t until the 19th century when tatting became a popular pastime.

It becomes so popular that even the Queen of Romania was photographed in this practice.

Queen of Romania tatting
Queen of Romania tatting – Photo Credits

The Irish picked it up first, filling their time with this activity during the potato famine to try to generate some money.

The laces created by hook, needle, or shuttle were often sold to England’s wealthier families to make ends meet.

It wouldn’t be until the 1930s when tatting started its journey in the United States.

For the next twenty years, all needlework types became popular as women adopted lace collars as part of their style.

You can still find modern tatting instructions in the pages of the published magazines from that era because everyone was doing it.

Vintage Tatting
Vintage Tatting – Instagram
History of tatting
History of tatting – Photo Credits

What Are the Different Tatting Types?

Although several different tatting types are available to try, you’ll find that most people select one of these three options to get started with the craft.

  1. Shuttle tatting is closest to the original version of this work. The style passes down from sailors in centuries past that did knotwork on ropes to help them manage their everyday duties on the boat. It uses a similar tool to a shuttle, although it is much smaller to accommodate the intricacy of this work.
  2. Needle tatting discards the shuttle for a needle, which is why the method has this name. It’s the most comfortable form to learn, especially if you’re familiar with knitting or crocheting. If you’re familiar with the cast-on, it won’t take long for you to become familiar with this widespread practice.
  3. Cro-tatting is an updated form that includes crocheting principles while producing tatting pieces. The primary tool you’ll use with this method is a small crochet hook, but it uses the knots derived from tatting instead to create a positive outcome.

Since tatting is such a creative process, the best way to start is with whatever method makes you feel the most comfortable.

You can also pursue the older practices that are closer to looming if you like it better.

Tatting Stitches That You’ll Want to Learn

learning tatting
Learning tatting – Photo Credits

When you start learning the tatting stitches, the process will feel like you’re learning an entirely new language.

It was that way when you began crocheting or knitting, so try to roll with the process. It won’t take long to get the hang of it.

Tatting has core stitches that you’ll learn at the beginning to start the creative process.

In simple turns, you’re making knots to combine them strategically to create something magical!

It uses several loops, rings, chains, and stitches to let your personal flair shine while producing an intricate design.

The double stitch is the most common one found in tatting.

It’s a half-hitch knot.

When you form the loop during this process, it’ll create a picot.

As you join the motifs, this typically happens through that point.

That’s why it is the perfect solution for contemporary lace, anything luxurious, or a handmade gift that can hang on the wall.

Tatting lets you create everything from Christmas ornaments to baby booties to wedding veils.

Tatting is remarkably fun.

Anything that needs a little lace added to it benefits from this creative approach.

If you’re looking for ways to expand your needlework or stitching, consider trying this option today!

Tatted Hearts
Tatted Hearts – Photo Credits



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