Tatting

From Academic Kids

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Tatting shuttle
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Tatting pin
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Pine_Pattern_Collar_in_Tatting_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_15147.jpg
Pine Pattern Collar in Tatting

Tatting is a technique for handcrafting lace that can be documented approximately to the early 19th century.

Contents

Technique and materials

Shuttle tatting

The instrument that is used is called a shuttle. A tatting shuttle is normally a metal or plastic pointed oval shape less than 3 inches long, but shuttles come in a variety of shapes and materials. Shuttles often have a point or hook on one end to aid in the construction of the lace. Tatting can be used to make lace edging as well as doilies, collars, and other decorative pieces.

To make the lace, the tatter wraps the thread around one hand and manipulates the shuttle with the other hand. No tools other than the thread, the hands, and the shuttle are used, though a crochet hook may be necessary if the shuttle does not have a point or hook. The lace is formed by a pattern of rings and chains formed from a series of lark's head knots, called double stitches (ds), over a core thread. Gaps can be left between the stitches to form picots, which are used for practical construction as well as decorative effect.

Needle tatting

Tatters may also use tatting needles instead of shuttles to make lace. A tatting needle is a long needle that does not change thickness at the eye of the needle. The needle used must match the thickness of the thread chosen for the project. Shuttle and needle-tatted lace look almost identical, but they differ in structure.

Materials

Older designs, typically from around 1900, tend to use fine white or ivory thread (50 to 100 widths to the inch) and intricate designs. Newer designs from the 1950s and onward often use thicker thread in one or more colors. The best thread for tatting is a "hard" thread that does not untwist readily. DMC Cordonnet thread is a common tatting thread; Perl cotton is an example of a beautiful cord that is nonetheless a bit loose for tatting purposes. Some tatting designs incorporate ribbons and beads.

Patterns

Older patterns use a long hand notation to describe the stiches needed while newer patterns tend to make extensive use of abbreviations and an almost mathematical looking notation. The following examples describe the same small piece of tatting (the first Ring in the Hen and Chicks pattern)

Ring five ds, three picots separated by five ds, five ds, close, turn, space 
R 5ds, 3 p sep by 5ds, 5ds, cl, turn, sp 
R 5-5-5-5 cl rw sp

Some tatters prefer a visual pattern where the design is drawn schematically with annotations indicating the number of ds and order of construction. This can either be used on its own or alongside a written pattern.

Tatting instructions and patterns can be found all over the web, including some streamlined video instructions.

History

Some believe that tatting may have developed from netting and decorative ropework as sailors and fishers would put together motifs for girlfriends and wives at home. Decorative ropework employed on ships includes techniques (esp. Cockscombing) that show striking similarity with tatting. A good description of this can be found in Knots, Splices and Fancywork.

Contrary to popular belief, many people around the world actively participate in the art of tatting, and the craft is experiencing a resurgence in interest around the world.

References

External links

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