Learning to Tat

Tatting Mess
Learning this craft creates a lot of trash threads.

For my birthday this year I got a bunch stuff on Tatting, a fiber art I’ve ignored until now. I love the lacy patterns tatting creates so when I started learning I was excited to create the loops and picots that would turn into bookmarks, edging and covers.


I was so wrong.

Even the best instructions were lacking. I found myself watching videos over and over trying to connect the words of the pattern to what was going on between the tatter’s fingers. It just didn’t make any type of sense.

At first I couldn’t get the knot at all. Then I could only get the knot upside down. The most frustrating part of learning tatting is learning this essential first step that seems to be a magical process even to its teachers. At one point I began to wonder if shuttle tatting was a wrong first step as needle tatting, putting the knots on the needle and drawing the needle through, seemed simpler.

Then I got the flip.

When you shuttle tat, you are putting knots on a length of thread that you can draw the thread through. To do this, you have the trick the thread to lay the wrong way. This is accomplished by relaxing tension at the right time then pulling it tip causing the thread to flip over the other thread and pulling it tight. The process produces an audible snap as the thread you hold in one hand flips over the other causing it to knot over the shuttle thread rather than the shuttle thread knotting over the held thread. Until this (almost accidentally) happens you can’t proceed.

A loop.
A tatted loop.

When it does happen you can draw the thread through and create a little loop. From these loops you can pull little picots and attach other loops. This step cannot be bypass and bet it makes more newbies drop this hobby like hot led. I finally made it but almost didn’t.


Now if could just make something nice out of it.

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