Not just a load of old Tatt – the art of tatting

What on earth is tatting? When I was first approached to sell tatted items on the Feel Good Crafts website I was unsure what the items were going to be like and how these items are made. After seeing the beautiful jewellery and bookmarks made by Mary the Tatter and speaking to my husband about the new items, (who had no idea what it was) I wanted to find out more and so I started to do some research.

I wanted to understand what tatting is and how it is done but I didn’t really have much of an idea where to start. After scouring the Internet looking for blog posts, videos and images of tatted items, I have compiled a beginners guide to tatting.

This blog post will provide you with a comprehensive starting point about tatting, the equipment needed, the basics of how to do it, interesting blogs and books about the subject and places you can visit to find out more.

What is Tatting and some history?

Tatting is a type of handcrafted durable lace made with knots and loops.

Items are created using either:


Tatting can produce a large variety of items including, dollies, necklaces, earrings and more.

Some history – The origin of tatting is unclear and was originally developed by sailors and fishermen weaving heavy cord to make fishing nets. This skill was taught to children and maids so pretty edges could be made to add to woven items that increased their price. In the 19th century tatting became a major past time for women with many magazines of the time containing tatting patterns which would make decorative motifs.

Examples of tatted items

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So what equipment do you need to have a go at tatting?

  • A shuttle (which is the more difficult way to tatt)
    • You may need to experiment with different shuttles to find one that suits you. Some shuttles have an embedded hook or pick for joining.
  • Or a tatting needle (Mary’s Tatt recommendation)
  • Small crochet hook if you shuttle does not have a hook
  • 2 balls of contrasting colour thread
  • Scissors

Tatting equipment can be purchased from online speciality retailers (please note these are just suggestions and I have not purchased any items from these sellers):

Tatting seems popular in USA (where most tatting supplies come from – haven’t found a supplier of tatting needles in UK).

Purchasing Tatt

Tatting is a very versatile craft and many different things and you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to get started. If you have fallen in love with tatting but feel you will not be able to master it visit Mary’s tatt to purchase some beautiful handmade tatted items.

This post has just touched the surface about the art of tatting and there is plenty more information out there (a few of which I have added to the bottom of this article). Take some time to use the internet and online books to get your new interest in tatting of the ground.

Resources for those wanting to learn how to tatt:

Recommended by Mary’s Tatt:


Blogs about tatting:


Before you go:

Do you want to talk to Mary about Tatting? Email

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