Skip to content
Home » Productive Relaxation with Shuttle Tatting

Productive Relaxation with Shuttle Tatting

We are particularly fond of the different techniques of lace making. One of these techniques is shuttle tatting, which we find very interesting. It is relatively easy to learn and the necessary materials are limited to the shuttle, the thread, and possibly a crochet hook. In addition, we think this technique is an excellent relaxation exercise.

Two Tatting Lace Ribbons on wooden background
Two tatted lace ribbons with different patterns

Tatting lace has been made for a very long time in most parts of the world and has many names. Often there is some meaning associated with the term. For example, the German word Schiffchenspitze suggests the tool, the shuttle. In German the lace is also called Occhi, which is derived from the Italian word for eye and refers to the appearance of the lace: it is made up of many rings that resemble eyes. Frivolité is the French word given to the lace, and in our eyes, it is one of the most beautiful names, because it means – as the word suggests – frivolity. The production of this lace is relatively simple compared to other techniques and can be worked while chatting and in pleasant company.

Three tatted lace ribbons on an antique wooden table
Three tatted lace ribbons
In the early days, richer ladies were particularly fond of this occupation. In the beginning, the tatting work was rather coarse and worked with hand-sized shuttles, but over time the lace became finer and finer until in the 19th century, where it was also used for delicate undergarments. By then, the technique had established itself in all social classes and there was a trend to publish instructions in magazines. Thus the technique remained a widespread occupation.

Since undergarments were still made in the home for quite a long time, the technique of shuttle tatting was also preserved for quite a while and some of the instructions mentioned can be found in various archives today. This makes research on the technique much easier and therefore we took a closer look at this technique and developed the first patterns. Surprised by the fact that with a little practice tatting is actually relatively easy and can be implemented as a pastime next to lectures or in front of the TV, three lace bands have already been created.

In the beginning, I used a thicker thread, which was a No. 30 crochet yarn, because it is easier to see mistakes and to correct them. But with a finer thread, for example a No. 100 crochet yarn, the lace gets a very filigree look and will certainly look great as an insert in an Edwardian blouse.

Two tatted lace bands with fine and coarser thread
Two lace ribbons with fine No. 100 and coarser No. 30 thread

Another aspect that makes shuttle tatting so interesting is that it is not made by machine. There was and is no machine that can realise this technique. You can achieve a similar effect with embroidery machines, but there are no machines that can create the knots that are necessary for this technique. The knowledge that this lace can only be made by hand adds to its charm in a certain way.

A dream project for me is to make a lace insert for a chemise based on an instruction from 1916, but for that, I will practice a bit more, relax and ponder over what I want to embellish with the lace ribbons I have already made. The resulting projects will be shown here on our blog, of course alongside other projects related to lace, historical clothing, and needlework.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *