In the Brooder
9 Years
Aug 29, 2010
Johnston City,IL
I can crochet, knit, sew but for some reason I have tried and tried to learn to tat and can't catch on. I can make a chain or a loop but that is as far as I can go. I have tried watching videos and still don't get any farther. Does anyone have any sites that have helped them?
If there are I'd like to try one. Tatting is something I haven't been able to learn either and I can do everything else.
Were you trying to learn to tat with a shuttle? There is also needle tatting, where you form the stitches on a needle and then slide them onto the thread. Some people find that easier to do and less confusing.
I was able to make a small bookmark by needle tatting but I can't for the life of me figure out the shuttle. I'd love to find an instruction site!
Not to get off subject, but thought "tatting" was something totally different.
The knots for tatting are like macrame knots. They're very simple. I think it's harder to understand when you're looking at someone using a shuttle for several reasons. The thread is tiny, their hand often blocks some of what they're doing and the shuttle moves in a way that is most efficient, rather than easiest to understand.

What I mean by that last part is that the shuttle doesn't move like a needle and thread, where you just need to follow where the tip of the needle is going. The lead tip of the shuttle can be either end of the shuttle, as it moves back and forth. You could use just one end of the shuttle as the lead tip, turning it as you go, but that would be inefficient. It would be much easier to learn and understand, but it would be inefficient and take much longer to do.

When I teach people to knit, crochet, macrame, embroider or do beadwork, I usually show them using larger materials. I think it helps people see and learn the movements. After they get the basics, then we move to smaller materials. I know how to tat, I've just never taught anyone, for some reason. If I did, I would use some large cord and not even use a shuttle to start with, just a length of cord. Or maybe a small piece of cardboard with notched ends as a shuttle.

Maybe try looking at some diagrams of some of the knots and try duplicating it with larger cord. After you get the hang of making a couple of the knots, then go back to watching the videos. They might make more sense to you, then. I learned from looking at diagrams in a little booklet. When I first started practicing making crocheted lace, I did not start with fine thread!
Yes, the basic stitch in Tatting is the knot called a Larkshead...a necessary knot in macrame.

The left hand hold the thread around which the knot is made by using the shuttle. One side of the knot is made with the forward end of the shuttle and the other side of the knot is made by the backwards motion of the shuttle...so each stitch is actually made up of two motions. This is what keeps the stitches laying flat.

My great grandmother left yards of tatting in her cedar chest that she made for doilies, napkins, sheets, pillowcases dresses, etc. I have her tatting shuttles..some are ivory, silver and steel. She also had early booklets with patterns on tatting. I study what she has made and now that I've learned, I appreciate the number of hours she spent making them.

Probably the best new book I have found for someone wanting to learn tatting and then have beautiful patterns is a book by Catherine Austin "A new Twist on Tatting" published by Sterling Publishing Co in 1993.
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