Tatting – my first attempt!

Now this may not look very much, but actually I’m very proud of it. For many years I have really admired tatting, and had a couple of attempts at learning to do it, but always failed miserably. However, I decided I would give it another go, and this time I managed to find a fantastic series of video tutorials called ‘The Absolute Beginner‘, which led me to the ‘Tatted Treasures‘ blog, run by Heather. Although I’m still finding it a challenge, and have made lots of false starts, but I am making slow progress.

Tatting can be done on a needle or using a shuttle – I have decided to use a shuttle, but I might have a go at needle tatting later.


If you haven’t seen a tatting shuttle before, this is what mine looks like. You can get some much more beautiful ones that are hand-painted, natural wood, or even antique ones, but I thought I would see how I got on with tatting before spending out a lot on a posh shuttle. Not all shuttles have bobbins in the middle – some shuttles just have the thread wound round.

You have to make a loop with the thread around the fingers of the left hand, then weave the shuttle thread over and under it using you right hand – it reminds me a bit of the cat’s cradle game I played as a child. One thread is then pulled tight to make a ring. Sadly it would completely impossible to hold it all and take a photo at the same time!

I worked my way through the tutorials, and in the first one, I made the tiny circle in the photo at the top. Next I moved on to making a circle with picots – little loops:


Then I tried a daisy:


And now I am working on a little edging, but I haven’t got very far yet.

It’s certainly challenging, and I have to concentrate hard, but I’m hoping eventually I will get the hang of it and relax a bit.

Of course, it’s hard to see what tatting can look like when it’s done properly, so I’ve started a Pinterest board if you want to see why I am so hooked on it.

I haven’t been doing very much crafting as the weather here in the UK has been so lovely, but it’s a rare day when I don’t manage a little. Maybe some time soon I will have some proper tatting to show you.

26 comments on “Tatting – my first attempt!

  1. My mother was a wonderful tatter. I was sure that I inherited her skill. I took a tatting class and failed miserably 🙂

  2. Yay, you’ve tackled the tatting, it’s made me want to pick up tatting bag have do some needle tatting. The shuttle is all fingers and thumbs for me. …. one day! Looking for to see how you progress.

    • Thank you! Sorry to take a while to reply but for some reason your comment went to my spam queue!? I’m still working through things slowly, but I’m really enjoying tatting. Not sure I’m ready for needle tatting yet, but maybe in the future.

  3. Thank you! It’s good to know I’m not the only one who has problems. Well that does make me feel a bit better – I do lots of crafts as you can probably see, but tatting has always defeated me. Still, maybe this time….;)

  4. Its great to see what others are up to – it is wonderful to set a goal like this – to keep on learning and refine our skills – wonderful effort and I look forward to seeing your tatting grow

    • Thank you! I found the videos very helpful – the last time I tried tatting was before the days of YouTube and the internet, so it’s great to get more help this time.

  5. Good luck and keep going! I taught myself out of a book and it took me three days to get that first stitch to slide…

    That was eighteen months ago and I’m so glad I kept on with it, 😉

    • Thank you for that encouragement! I am trying not to get too frustrated, and I am making slow progress, so it’s great to know that others have found it tricky too. At least I have worked out how to take the stitches back now when I make a mistake! 😉

  6. Welcome to the wonderful world of tatting! I’m glad you picked up the shuttle and look forward to seeing what you complete as you learn. I started last August when my Mom’s neighbor (now a good friend of mine) taught me how to tat.

    Practice helps us all get better. I host a tatting challenge each week on the Shuttlebirds Guild blog with a link to a free tatting pattern to try (sbspokane.wordpress.com).

    I’ve added you on pinterest. You can find all my tatting boards here: http://pinterest.com/shuttlebirds/

    As for taking out stitches, I’ve gotten lots of practice with that. I don’t think I have made a single piece where I didn’t have to undo something at some point. So keep at it and you’ll only get better!

    Happy tatting!


    • Hi Natalie

      Thank you for your comment. It’s lovely to know that there are so many tatters out there, and everyone has been so friendly and helpful. I will definitely take a look at your weekly challenge. So far I’ve only done a few very small things, such as a butterfly, small length of edging, and a little circle ( I will be posting photos soon), but I’d like to move on. Glad to now I’m not the only one taking out stitches, although I’m quite used to doing in my other crafts, so it hasn’t really come as any great surprise! 😉

      • Some of the challenges will be easier than others. So don’t feel like you need to do them in order. Jump around and do the ones that interest you. If you have questions about a technique used, please let me know and I will track down a tutorial for you.

  7. Well done, great progress. It took me many years with a book and Shuttle to figure out the ‘flip’ and slide for the rings. I am now an avid tatter…do stick with it, it is wonderfully creative and easy, once you know how.

  8. That is so impressive for a first attempt, when I tried I had to do it with two different colours so I could see when the knot ‘flipped’ over and then couldn’t get the hang of it with one colour! Not one of my success stories!

    • LOL! I know how you feel!I tried many years ago, but just couldn’t manage it at all. But now I’ve been able to look at some video tutorials it’s much easier (none of that new-fangled internet stuff when I was younger!), so I’m managing better this time.

    • I know how you feel. I often have a problem trying to squeeze in time to tat, and if I do it when I’m tired I tend to make mistakes. It would be lovely to see some of your tatting!

  9. Pingback: Tatting Tale | Photomiser

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