Friday, February 22, 2008

The Friday Fact

All Tied Up

This week I'm going to tell you about tatting. It's a form of lace that is made with knots. It's also one of the oldest known ways of making lace.

The most important part of tatting is the shuttle. They're about 3 inches long with a hook on one end, and a bobbin in the middle. The bobbin usually pops out and this is what you wind your thread on. Then the bobbin goes back in.

Tatting can only be done in circular motifs. These motifs can then be stretched out in a single line, or formed into other shapes. But it's all based on a circle. With knots. Kind of like macrame.

Tatting was at its height of popularity during the Elizabethan period. It was very fashionable for ladies of the court to wear a tatting shuttle on their belts. Some of these were very ornate and made out of things like ivory, mother of pearl, silver and pewter.

Nowadays there's a form called needle tatting. I'm determined to conquer shuttle tatting though. Especially after I found out that one of my great-grandmothers used to do it all the time. I would love to have her shuttle, but one of my great-uncle's ended up with it and there's no telling what happened to it.

In Michael Phillips' "Secrets of Heathersleigh Hall" series, all of the ladies tat.


  1. My grandmother (on my father's side) used to tat and made some BEAUTIFUL snowflake Christmas ornaments with it. I think we might have her tatting shuttle...

  2. I've made mention of tatting in my 18th C. historical WIP. Do you have a link that provides good photos of the shuttle and bobbin, and perhaps even the process?