Friday, April 13, 2012

How I learnt to tat

I'm often asked about how I learnt to tat. My mum had a metal Boye shuttle and a teach-yourself-tatting pamphlet  in her workbasket.  In my last year at school I spent a lot of time fiddling with the shuttle and trying to follow the pamphlet. I couldn't make any headway. So my aunt took me  to tea with a friend of hers who knew how to tat. Mrs. Shirley showed me the flip and then I was away. I used the pamphlet to learn joins and all the rest of it.

My tatting was a bit loose and floppity and didn't look  quite like the pictures in the pattern books, but I carried on regardless, making doilies and edgings and what not. Then I met another tatter, Yvonne, who lent me a pattern book. In the front of the book was a note that said NB, the term picot refers only to the loop of thread and not to the stitch that holds it. Aha, one of those lightbulb moments! For every picot in a pattern, I was doing an extra stitch. In the picture above, the pattern for the chain at the bottom says 10 p separated by 1ds. Mine are separated by 2 ds. No wonder my tatting looked floppity!

I didn't tat for many years, when I was running a spinning and knitting business. When I came back to tatting,   I discovered the world of tatting on the internet. Thanks to kind people who share instructions and  patterns and tutorials, I've learnt a lot of new techniques since then - split rings and split chains, SSSR, SCMR and many more. Not to mention incorporating beads. I'm glad that tatting is vibrant and developing, and not at all a 'dying art'!


  1. Thanks for sharing your tatting story! I love learning about the experiences of others!

  2. I love learning how others started to tat! What a lovely story. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Love hearing how people learned to tat, thanks for sharing your story. I never really met another tatter for years after I learned. I still don't know very many tatters in a face-to-face way but through the Internet have met many. Isn't it great?