Try Tatting

Try Tatting

It's fast, it's portable, and the results are spectacular
by Amy Gray

I love keeping my hands busy with needlework, especially when travelling in the car or waiting for an appointment at the doctor's office. Unfortunately, not all kinds of handicrafts are suited to being carried around from one place to another.

Counted cross-stitch involves toting a hoop, varying colors of thread, scissors, a chart and the project itself. Hand quilting is fine if you can work on one block at a time, but trying to carry around an entire quilt is quite a feat (not to mention very hot during the summer months). And while knitting requires little materials and tools, the length of knitting needles usually prohibits me from stuffing an ongoing project into my purse.

Tatting is a craft that is not only incredibly portable, but also inexpensive, easy to learn, requires little materials and produces a finished project in a relatively short period of time, depending on what pattern you're tatting. Tatted items make great gifts for special occasions, beautiful homemade embellishments for hand towels and stunning Christmas tree decorations.

It isn't lost if it hasn't gone away

Many people aren't familiar with tatting, and those who are tend to think that it's a lost art. A short definition: tatting is a form of lace-making using thread, a crochet hook and either a shuttle or a needle. The thread is made into knots that make up curved lines (chains) and circles (rings).

Traditionally tatting was used to make lacy edgings for clothing, handkerchiefs or linens. Today tatting patterns are available for doilies, motifs, snowflakes, jewelry, purses, shawls and more.

The best way to learn how to tat is by watching someone who already knows how. Some areas have lace-making guilds or classes at local crafts stores where experienced tatters will be more than happy to teach you the basics. Many people learn from pamphlets or books. There are a number of tatting websites that give not only instructions but also patterns, tips and sources for tatting supplies. A few videos are also available for purchase through mail-order catalogues or for loan from your local library.

This tiny snowflake pattern makes a charming ornament for a small Christmas tree. You can also use them to dress up holiday gifts by tying them to packages with ribbon. Or hang them in windows with tiny suction-cup hooks and you'll have snow all winter long! If you want to add some sparkle to your snowflakes, brush them with glue and sprinkle with glitter.

You'll need:

Size 30 white thread


Small crochet hook

Wind 1 1/2 yards on shuttle, do not cut; use ball thread.

R of 2 ds, p, 3 ds, 3 lg p sep by 1 ds, 3 ds, p, 2 ds, cl r; rw. Ch 1 ds,
tiny p, 1 ds; rw. (R of 2 ds, join to last p of prev r, 3 ds, 3 lg p sep by
1 ds, 3 ds, p, 2 ds, cl r; rw. Ch 1 ds, tiny p, 1 ds; rw) 4 times. R of 2
ds, join to last p or prev r, 3 ds, 3 lg p sep by 1 ds, 3 ds, fold-over join
to first p of first r, 2 ds, clr; rw. Ch 1 ds, tiny p, 1 ds; rw. Join at
base of first r. Cut and tie.

Amy Gray has a bachelors degree in magazine journalism from Ohio University. Amy is a homemaker and mom to three cats: Mulder, Scully and Piper. She enjoys knitting and cross-stitching as well as tatting, and is currently trying to teach herself to crochet.

Lynn's related items:

  • Easy Tatting by Rozella Florence Linden: A favorite among all tatters and a good way to teach yourself. [BOOK]
  • Tatting Patterns by Julie E. Sanders [BOOK]
  • Tattered: Tatting instruction, bulletin board, polls and the latest in tatting news. [REMOTE]
  • This 'n' Tat: Tatting lessons, a pattern library and other resources. [REMOTE]
  • Dreams of Lace: History, instructions, and the Pattern Surfer, an index of patterns on the web.[REMOTE]


TattingChic's picture

That is a cute tatted cat. I enjoyed your article. I like how you approached the subject of tatting.

mellyou's picture

I enjoyed your article and am interested in finding/purchasing the pattern for the tatted cat at the top of the page, as I love doing novelty items as gifts for friends and family. Please and thanks for any assistance.

Sheridan's picture

Having trouble finding a tatted cat pattern. Can anyone help? Thanks.

Guest's picture

Is there a way to get the pattern for the little brown tatted kitty on the home page?
I am very new to tatting and think I can swing this one and its soooo cute.

Anhata's picture

With those search words I quickly found:

Three patterns for cats at Tatting Patterns by Jane Eborall, a cat face pattern at This 'n' Tat, a curly kitty at, and so on.

Didn't find anything like the cat in the pic in the article above, you might have to start looking through pattern books for that. Or contact the author of the article and ask her where she got the pattern.

Happy Hunting. (mraowr)

Your Family's General Store, Naturally

Guest's picture

it is a McCall's pattern, 1958
There is an revised version someone made
with a Christmas hat here...


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