Learn Needle & Shuttle Tatting - From Beginners to Advanced
Tatting is traditionally used to add decorative edging to tablecloths, to add collars to clothes, and to make doilies, but did you know that it can also be used for clothes, accessories, scarves, jewellery, and even underwear!? Unfortunately, tatting is a dying art - but I'm here to show you that it still has a place in modern crafts.
Tatting is a durable type of lace and is made by forming a series of knots and loops/picots arranged into rings and chains. Tatting dates to the early 19th century and was developed to imitate point lace.
I am by no means an expert (I've only learned tatting myself recently), so on this page I have listed the best tutorials and projects from around the web - on both methods of tatting.
I hope it inspires you to give tatting a go!
The Two Methods Of Tatting
- Needle Tatting; where the knots are formed on a long, blunt needle. This is the method I use.
- Shuttle Tatting; which is the traditional method of tatting and uses an oval object called a shuttle to form the knots. I think this method looks more impressive, but I found it harder to master than the needle tatting. However, you should try both methods to see which one works for you.
Beautiful Black Tatted Mask
Tatting is the creation of knots using either a shuttle or a needle, and these knots are formed and tightened over a core thread. The designs you can make for doilies and other tatted items are constructed from different combinations of chains and rings.
Double Stitch (DS): This basic stitch is the 'knot' that is the main component of tatting. It is made up of 2 simple half-hitches (single stitches) and when created it can slide up and down the core thread. The fact that the stitches can slide along the core thread is what allows you do make rings, picots and use other fancy techniques.*
* I had great difficulty as a beginner shuttle-tatter getting the double stitches to slide along the core thread, and I later learned that this was because I didn't 'flip' my stitches. Each and every single stitch (of which 2 make up every DS) must 'flip' in order to allow them to slide, and this is achieved by keeping the shuttle thread - the thread coming directly from the shuttle - in tension whilst tightening each stitch. As a clearer explanation: Each single stitch you make will be formed with a loose shuttle thread. Before each stitch (knot) is tightened to finish it, you must make sure that the shuttle thread 'flips' from being loose to being taut. The thread that isn't the shuttle thread will become the loose one, and thus will end up wrapping around the shuttle thread (which is the core thread), rather than the other way around. It's quite hard to explain, but I hope that makes a bit of sense!
Chain (CH): A chain is a string of double stitches and usually can be found linking tatted rings together.
Picot (P): Leaving a gap between 2 double stitches produces a short loose length of thread, and it is this loose section of thread which forms a picot (tiny loop) when the double stitches are pushed together to eliminate the gap. The larger the gap; the larger the picot loop. Picots are used for decoration or can be used to join different tatted components like rings together.
Ring (R): A ring is a circle made of double stitches, and is a common part of tatting designs.
Tatting Thread: The thread used for tatting can be a variety of sizes, and the higher the thread number, the finer/thinner the thread. For beginners I would recommend size 10 or 20 so that the thread is relatively thick and so easier to work with. The usual sizes that are chosen are at least size 20, and are often 30, 50 or 80. I use crochet cotton.
Josephine Knot (JK): These knots are a traditional element used in tatting and are small and delicate rings used for ornamental purposes. The rings are made using only single stitches (SS), which are half of double stitches (DS).
Cluny Leaf: Cluny leaves are leaf-shaped components which are formed by a weaving technique, using a shuttle or needle to weave over 3 sections of thread whilst using your hand as a kind of 'loom'. The leaves are solid flat shapes.
Top-Rated Tatting Books
For a comprehensive guide to this intricate craft, books are the best resource for patterns, advice and tips all in one place.
Shuttles can be found in a variety of materials and shapes, although most modern ones are a classic oval shape and are made of plastic. Shuttles are usually very inexpensive, so tatting is an easy and affordable craft to start. Click here for more photos and examples of shuttles on the market.
Photo by Nightbird.
Craftsy Online Class
If you are interested in taking a more in-depth class in tatting, and you are a visual learner, there is a tatting class available online on the website Craftsy.
If you'd like to learn more, please click on the link beneath the picture to the right >
P.S. For transparency; the link to the right is an affiliate link, however I would not recommend something I did not believe to be good value (just check out all of the 5* reviews!) Thanks in advance if you do end up using the link to join the class :)
Shuttle Tatting Videos
Elegant Tatted Necklace Back
Tatting Tutorials - Mostly for Shuttle Tatting
These lessons are great for all beginners to tatting - even if you want to try needle tatting rather than shuttle tatting - as a lot of the theory and techniques are shared between the two different methods.
- What is Tatting?
Useful introduction to stitches and tools.
- 104 Video Tutorials
Huge teaching resource covering pretty much every technique in the book.
- Beginner's Lessons to Download
Over 20 pages of instructions covering the basics and more.
- Tips & Tutorials
A useful collection of written and video tutes.
Instructions with diagrams.
- Left and Right Handed Methods
Great instructions for both.
- Shuttle Tatting Series
Tutorials for absolute beginners and some lessons for more advanced tatters.
- Kelley's Video Classes
Clear and helpful videos from Knit Picks.
- Cluny Leaves Tatting
Watch a demo of a cluny leaf being made.
- How to Add a New Thread
For when you run out of thread part way through your piece.
- Tatting Lace 101
Big step-by-step pictures to walk you through the process.
- This 'n' Tat Basics
Including an important section on the thread 'flip'.
- Flipping Every Half Stitch
How to solve a common beginner's mistake.
- Magic Thread Method
To hide the ends of your tatting thread.
Elegant Tatted Necklace
Tatting Projects and Shapes
- Beautiful Tatted Mask
Elegant and delicate mask perfect for a masquerade party.
- Butterfly Bookmark
Pattern for a butterfly with a long tail.
- Foot Art
Tatted accessories to wrap over your feet.
- Free Tatting Patterns
From snails to xmas decorations.
- Free Diagrams and Patterns
For lots of different tatted shapes.
- Tatted Jewellery
A collection of tutorials.
- Lace Hand Ornament
Elegant black lace bracelet which covers the hand.
- Lots of Tutorial Links
Including bookmarks and edging.
- Needle Tatted Necklace
Ornate black necklace.
- Another Needle Tatted Necklace
With a different design - and with beads.
- Tatted Underwear
An instructable for beginners.
- 4 Lovely Tutorials
Including a heart and hanky edging.
- Tatted Winter Star
These would be perfect for Christmas decorations.
- Cluny Leaves and Flower
Pretty application of tatting.
- Unique Shape Patterns
Pretty snowflake, bird and earring designs.
- 12 Bookmark Patterns
Free pretty patterns.
- Half Moon Necklace
Lovely tatted necklace in a semi circle shape.
- Snowflake with Beads
Perfect beginner project - this snowflake is made with just rings.
- Original Patterns
A range of pretty patterns, all available for free.
- Stiffened Gilded Crowns
This technique with lace could also be applied to finished tatting.
Tatted Skull Cameo Brooch
Needle Tatting Videos
Tatted Hairpin Lace
Photo and tatting by Ninetta Caruso - Click here for more details and a link to the pattern.
Instructions Specifically for Needle Tatting
- Basic Double Stitch, Split Ring and More
4 Very handy lessons for beginners.
- Learn Needle Tatting
By making a flower pendant.
A Portable Hobby
Useful Information & Top Tatting Blogs
- How to Read Tatting Patterns
Learn the abbreviations
- Reading Pictorial Patterns
With diagrams to help.
- Tatting Forum
Free patterns plus help from fellow tatters.
Sharing adventures with tatted lace.
Lots of photos for inspiration.
Frog Button Closures
The pattern for these fancy closures, plus other tatting patterns, is available for purchase here on Etsy.
Photo by Yarn Player.
Best Tatting Supplies on Amazon
Please Comment on my Lens!
Juanita on May 03, 2018:
Have learnt how to tatt a couple of months ago. I like it as it is so portable a craft. Took me a while to understand about flipping, but once I understood, I was tatting and knew when I was getting it wrong.
Olga Mattisson on July 21, 2016:
I am 52 years old and I am going to start tatting, I think it is beautiful. In Colombia this art is called "Frivolite".
Kim Swinfen on August 17, 2015:
really nicely done and clear, i tat both ways use needle for thicker tread and big projects and the shuttle for finer thread , i find it relaxing and rewarding hobby and many of my friends admire my work . Thanks for sharing . parislexi yes you can use dmc thread and you can go from i stand up to all 6 i have done it as i cross stitch too .
MG Seltzer from South Portland, Maine on July 13, 2015:
Sharing this with my daughter, who does crocheting and knitting. I think she might try the needle method for small projects, like the decoration for the back of the necklace. Thanks!
parislexi on April 02, 2014:
Does anyone know if I can use the cotton DMC thread I used for cross stitching previously for tatting? It's 100% cotton, six stranded, but I only used 1 or 2 strands for cross stitching.
parislexi on April 02, 2014:
Excellent for tatting resources - has everything I need to get started! Thank you!!!
JuDe83 LM on March 06, 2014:
This is on my to do listi for a long time, but I will learn it one day. Very inspirational lens.
Rose Jones on February 14, 2014:
Awesome examples of tatting - that mask is definitely not your grandmother's tatting! Pinned to my crafting board and otherwise bookmarked.
fiona-trapani on September 20, 2013:
@anonymous: I'm not sure that you need to 'flip' with needle tatting, as you make the stitches on the needle and slide them over the 'core thread' as you complete each ring/chain. Perhaps intatters could help you, there are a number of needle tatters there :) Have fun
anonymous on September 05, 2013:
Donna Kelly The flip-slip stitch in tatting means change the tension-bottom loop pop to the top. Both thumbs take thread and pull straight. firstname.lastname@example.org
anonymous on August 09, 2013:
Nice lens. I am just starting to learn how to shuttle tat and I'm having lots of trouble with the "flip". When I watch the various videos you posted and that I have found myself, I just don't get it when it comes to the "flip". I have kind of gotten it for the first half of the double stitch but the second half is really messing me up. So far I have just wasted lots of thread because the knots just end up stuck on the thread so I cannot pull to make the rings. I think I am going to have to find someone in person who can help me face2face.
anonymous on February 10, 2013:
Love the tutorial crystal clear and believe me I think I've watched them all on YouTube.I'm 60 and I crochet cross stitch and can knit but not a fan and now I want to learn this beautiful art.
Tatting is beautiful not hard but ds is not easy to flip.thank you for this instruction.
aprildawncreati on January 18, 2013:
Thank you for compiling this great resource of information on tatting. Maybe you could post some pics of work you have done. How long have you been doing tatting?
anonymous on July 31, 2012:
I had a good chance to learn this as a child but was too busy playing with mud pies. Now in my 70s and want to learn.
anonymous on July 30, 2012:
I enjoy all sorts of craft. I love tatting, I can't get the hany of shuttle tatting, and have so many questions about needle tatting. Thank you for this site. It is well put together, and will be helpful.
rubyandmahoney on June 20, 2012:
I tried to learn to tat about 10 years ago and couldn't figure it out. I am going to have to dig out my shuttle and try again because I LOVE those carnival earrings!!
anonymous on June 13, 2012:
I'm among the 1.7 but I did enjoy the whole site experience, so new and well presented,thank you, I came by way of Donna DM site and I'll be back
anonymous on June 09, 2012:
I love to tat and so I really enjoyed your Lens. You are right. It is a dying art, and I aim to keep it alive. Great Lens.
enjoyecigs on May 03, 2012:
anonymous on April 29, 2012:
Nice links and useful post. You make some truly lovely things. I learned to needle tat with your flower pendant and have made the fleurette necklace as well (and worn it out too!).
Can you give me some advice please? I'm still trying to get my head around true rings for needle tatting as I've heard it to be neater than the SCMR. Am I just not neat enough when I make knots after reversing the work? You can definitely see a little 'bump' between my rings and chains.
Btw, I like your hair. :)
tresorparis on April 10, 2012:
So beautiful! You've made a great lens!
BlissGlutenFree on March 17, 2012:
Very nice lens, thank you!
Thrinsdream on March 06, 2012:
I had never heard of this before, really interesting craft. With thanks and appreciation. Cathi x
nelchee on March 05, 2012:
Nice lens :)
I bought the needles and collected some tutorials, but I have yet to start.. no time to try out everything I'd like :) I would like to create handmade lace to go with my sculpted jewelry.
NeverTooLate2012 on January 20, 2012:
Thank you for this wonderful lens! My grandmother tatted & so do I. You dont' hear much about it anymore.
ottoblotto on December 31, 2011:
MerryChicky on November 30, 2011:
Tatting isn't something I've tried before, only because I didn't see how I could use it. After seeing the modern patterns - rings, etc - I'm ready to give it a try. Thanks!
Stacy Birch on November 14, 2011:
I've never heard of this before, the the things you can make are really awesome. Great lens.
Sheila from Omaha, NE on November 03, 2011:
Lovely lens, full of helpful info and beautiful eye candy! The jewelry is especially beautiful! Blessed today by a Squid Angel.
earthybirthymum from Ontario, Canada on October 24, 2011:
I want to learn! Always have, but thought it was too delicate and complicated. You've inspired me!
BakerBayBeadCo on October 04, 2011:
This is Really Cool! Love the beading details!
kimbesa from USA on August 13, 2011:
Char Milbrett from Minnesota on July 04, 2011:
my neighbor was good at tatting. She'd buy table cloths at auctions, re-tat them and resell them. It was interesting to watch. Interesting lens!
purpleslug on June 01, 2011:
I've always wanted to try tatting. Great lens!
anonymous on May 22, 2011:
i sooo love this lens! i would like to try this as soon as possible, looks so much fun!
get the perfect DIY conservatory to improve the look and feel of your home!
HelanaRirosknee on May 16, 2011:
This is very interesting. At some point, I would love to learn how to do this. The mask shown above is extraordinary.
kathysart on April 12, 2011:
I LOVE LOVE the mask.. so cool.
CherrrieB on April 07, 2011:
I am really thrilled about tatting and working with fibers so much. Thanks for making this great lens.
SandyPeaks on February 01, 2011:
Nice designs - very Goth!
badmsm on January 16, 2011:
OOOOOOO, this is fantastic! What creative projects, much better than what I've found in books. I have enough doilies, I want fun, sexy stuff to make. Great lens! :)
CCGAL on January 15, 2011:
Tatting is one of the things on my bucket list that I'd like to learn. This is an extremely comprehensive resource for the would-be tatter - I'm excited to share it with my friends! Dropping a quick angel blessing on it, too.
Diana J Limjoco from Puerto Princesa, Palawan on January 14, 2011:
Wow I was taught this in school in the 1960s! Beautiful black tatted mask and ankle thingie!!! Thanks for sharing! I have an antique tatting shuttle in mother of pearl and hand carved designs on it. It used to belong to my grandmother..I might try my hand at tatting again.
SofiaMann on January 01, 2011:
Fantastic designs. I love the mask. Congratulations.
wellingtonboot (author) from U.K. on December 10, 2010:
Thanks for the comments! It's pretty easy to learn the very basics of tatting, and I'd say a small butterfly takes me less than 10 minutes :-)
svetico on December 09, 2010:
I learned this craft many years ago. Hope I still remember how to do it, because I didn't do it for a long time. It is one of the best hobbies for people who have little free time and little free space because you may do it everywhere. In Russia and some other places it is known as "frivolite" so you may wish to add this tag to your lenses
sexijewelz on October 23, 2010:
Dood, i love it. There are so many beautiful tatting designs, which actually look great and elegant.
Was it difficult for you to learn it? and how long does it take to make a snowflake, for example?
Sara Duggan from California on September 13, 2010:
Lovely lens. I've always wanted to learn this craft.
resabi on September 07, 2010:
Back to sprinkle a little SquidAngel dust among the threads.
resabi on July 16, 2010:
Well, I have zero manual dexterity, so I do not tat but I really admire the art (and that tatted mask is killer!) A former neighbor -- she was in her 90s -- used to tat and sometimes made cards with tatted flowers. I have a few of her little motifs that she did for a miniature book on tatting that I haven't gotten around to doing. Yet... Thanks for this lens. Thumbs up and favoriting.
myraggededge on July 16, 2010:
Oh this is lovely! I have a cotton bed cover with a gorgeous tatting edging that was made by my grandmother for her wedding - it must be 80 years old. Have never thought of learning it but that anklet is verrry sexy!
Blessed by a Squidoo angel :-)