Tatting is a "relatively" new craft which began in the early 1800's.  The lace-like work is much easier to accomplish than the devilishly complicated bobbin lace making. Not many tools are needed either. Tatting can be done with either the traditional shuttle or long needles.  Needle tatting can be very fast but you will be limited to a few needle sizes which may not suit the thread you want to use. So shuttle tatting is more versatile as any thread can be used.

Tatting is used as edging and for embellishing other handmade crafts. Even better is when you make jewelry out of them!  One expert tatter with 30 years of experience is Marilee Rockley . She makes beautiful tatted jewelry such as this gorgeous butterfly necklace :

I reviewed her book, Tatting with Beads Jewelry, not too long ago. It is also available on Annie's Catalog (publisher also offers pdf format). There was a lot of unexpected interest and no wonder! Beads and pretty colored threads in feminine lacy jewelry designs are a potent combination.

Marilee also teaches on Craftsy. Her Shuttle Tatting class offers in depth instruction in this technique. Seeing how the stitches are formed and the design being built up makes it easier in some ways to learn.

As with all Craftsy classes, you can watch the class any time and replay any section as many times you need too.

Lesson 1
This is the introduction. Marilee goes over why the quality of thread matters and what kind is worth sourcing for.  Crochet thread are not all made equally!

Lesson 2
She shows what kinds of shuttles in the market today and offers tips on how to load the shuttle including which direction you should wind the thread.

This beginner lesson covers how to tat the basic double stitch which essentially the lark's head knot, a commonly used knot in macrame work. This is the first time I've heard this knot described as the "waistband and two pant legs"!  How appropriate.

She demonstrates the classic and graceful movement where the shuttle remains at the same plane as it moves to and fro at this lesson.  But students will see that she tats differently in latter lessons where her shuttle is flipped.

Lesson 3
She moves on to the basic chain and how to make rings and picots.

Lesson 4
I thought this was a very useful lesson in how to read patterns. As with other yarn crafts like crochet and knitting, tatting has its own terminology. But Marilee points out that the modern shorthand is actually very easy to understand.  She also showed older tatting patterns where the paragraph format takes some careful deciphering. She does mention some of the older terminology used like pearl loops or purls instead of picots.

Lesson 5
Clever first project idea! Making and gluing on little tatted decorations for cards is a great way to use your tatting samples.

In the lesson, she shows how to use simple gauges to make consistently sized picots - especially the large ones. She also demonstrates how to join to a picot - another essential technique.

Lesson 6
This was my favorite project - the Floret earrings with seed beads!! It is a lovely design which introduces how beads are used in tatting. Here the seed beads are in the picots.

Marilee shows how there are a number of ways you can add pre-string beads.  I loved
 her way of using a fine crochet hook instead of a needle to get the beads.

She also showed how to sew in the ends. I found it hard to see where she was sewing but this part is clearer in Lesson 8.

As with all her lessons, she shared many tips. Blocking is done with just steam - she explains the proper way to do it if all you have is a common household steam iron. Provided you use the kind of quality thread she mentioned at the beginning, that's all she uses to block. No pins!

She does not use fabric stiffener for smaller projects so I can see why she prefers to block after the jewelry findings are added so she does not distort the work during the attachment process.  I think it is better to use a fabric stiffener anyway as the shape of the work will be maintained no matter.

Lesson 7
The Classic Edge bracelet teaches how to do the lock or shuttle join (the second most common join after the picot join), how to open a ring you just closed (so you can undo a mistake) and how to join in new thread.

Lesson 8
The Rhapsody necklace lesson is another winner.  See that big bead in the middle?  She shows how you can add beads in this manner without pre-stringing it with her clever paper clip trick.

Lesson 9
This lesson is all about helpful hints like how to incorporate a metal split ring in the work instead of adding jump rings afterwards for connection to findings.

I was not quite sure about her "magic" method which cleverly avoids having to sew thread ends in. Seems a little tricky compared to the tried and true sewing in method.

She also covered a couple of ways to avoid twisted picots.

Lesson 10
Her Parfait Snowflake design is all about learning how to use 2 shuttles for two different colors.  The rings at the points of the snowflake are floating rings.

Lesson 11
The deceptively simple Scoop bracelet introduces new stitches.  One is the node stitch (twisted tatting, zigzag tatting etc) which results in a delicate ruffle effect. This will be difficult to see if fine thread is used.   Another is the split ring stitch - not to be confused with the metal split rings. This ring has the double stitch mirrored on each half of the ring :

Marilee mentions many the alternative names people use for certain techniques. She made me laugh with one, the "dead spider method"! Who thinks up these names?

Lesson 12
This bonus design tutorial using the different stitches really shows how tatting does not have to be lace like at all. A very modern look indeed!

I thoroughly enjoyed this class.  Marilee comes across as a gentle instructor who demystifies what could be a confusing craft. Students can learn tatting at a relaxed pace, benefit from all her tips and are shown how to correct the mistakes they will inadvertently make.

She introduces sufficient challenges in the latter lessons which also makes you see the potential of this technique for jewelry making.  Definitely one for those who love working with both beads and thread.


If you want a chance to win a free access to Marilee Rockley's Shuttle Tatting Craftsy Class (and ask her any question),  please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog.   This class is also currently on sale.

Email subscribers need to scroll down the post they receive, click on Share Comment and enter your comment. Pick Name/URL. If you don't have a store or blog, leave the URL blank.

This giveaway is international.

Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments. (The exception is Facebook - just like/comment on the giveaway status there!!)

It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday, February 27, 2017. I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!

I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links. This goes towards the support of this blog and to provide resource information to readers. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.

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