July 2009

History of Tatting

Tatting is a very delicate and beautiful form of lace. It is mostly used to create small projects such as collars and cuffs or for home décor such as doilies and table runners. Nobody knows the origins of tatting. However, most experts believe that we can find the origins of tatting in knotted lace and sailors knots.

Samples of knotted lace have been found in Pharaohs' tombs in Egypt, but the oldest tatted pieces belong to the 19th century. During that era, making tatted collars and cuffs, or small pieces for baby items was popular. Early 20th century home economy magazines and fashion magazines provide instructions for tatting. This shows that tatting was fashionable at the time.

There are three types of tatting, shuttle tatting, needle tatting, and cro-tatting. Although different, they create similar shapes and forms. Shuttle tatting is the traditional way of creating tatted fabric. The shuttle is an oval metal, plastic, or ivory piece with a point or hook. The thread is wound around the shuttle and is guided through loops to create knots.

Needle tatting is very similar to shuttle tatting, but the knots are not as small as the knots that the shuttle makes. The needle is long and blunt and is the same thickness all along. The thread passes through the eye of the needle and is guided through loops with the needle. Patterns written for shuttle tatting can be used for needle tatting.

Cro-tatting is a form of tatting which uses a crochet hook that does not have a shaft. This technique creates a very delicate fabric and allows combining crocheting with tatting. Cro-tatting hooks are now commercially available. Some people find cro-tatting harder than crocheting or needle tatting, but practice makes perfect!

For more information about tatting check out: http://www.navarroriverknits.com/tatting.html

Nazanin S. Fard

Needlecraft University

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