A series of double-stitches done as described in Lesson 1 make a chain. Have you practiced until you’re comfortable with the double-stitch? The more you practice, the easier it is to learn the rest of tatting. You’ve already learned the hardest part! The rest is easy.

The other basic motif in tatting is a ring. The stitches are done the same way. The difference is in how the thread is held on your left hand. To make a ring, hold the shuttle thread between your thumb and middle finger. Run the thread over your left hand, don’t wrap it on the pinkie finger, then bring it back to the beginning and hold it between your thumb and middle finger. Then proceed to make double-stitches until, for practice purposes, you have about 10 double-stitches. Let go of the thread with your left hand, grasp the stitches on the ring firmly, then pull the shuttle thread. If you’ve done it correctly, thread will slide and the ring will close.

OK, now that you have the double-stitches down pat, let’s move on to the decorative details. Picots are the loops that extend out from the chains and rings to make your tatting look more lacey. To make a picot, you simply leave extra thread between one double-stitch and the next. After you’ve finished a double-stitch, do the first half of the next double-stitch. Instead of pulling the stitch up tight against the previous stitch, leave about 1/4″ (.5 cm) between stitches. Then finish the double-stitch. Slide the second double-stitch up against the first, and the thread between them will pull into a loop. Practice a few of these simple rings before you move on to the join: 3 ds, p, 3 ds, p, 3ds, p, 3ds, close.

Use a join to connect rings and chains together. To make a join, bring the picot you are to join to around so that it sits on top of the working thread. With a small crochet hook or the point of your shuttle, reach through the picot and pull the working thread through. Put the shuttle through the working thread, then pull taut. Pull the working thread taut. Be sure it still wraps around the shuttle thread, and that the stitches still slide on the shuttle thread. Next, do the last half of the double-stitch to hold the join in place.

There are two schools of thought on finishing joins. Some people do the join, then start immediately with more double-stitches. They don’t count the join as part of the next double-stitch. Others do as I do–finish the join with the last half of the double-stitch, and count it as part of the next double-stitch. It doesn’t matter which way you choose to finish your join, just be consistent about it.

Now you know everything you need to know to be able to tat most of the old tatting patterns, and many of the new ones. It’s just a matter of practice and honing your new skills. Here is a simple edging for you to practice until you’re ready to tackle larger projects.

R 3ds p 3ds p 3ds p 3ds, close and turn work
Ch 3ds p 3ds p 3ds p 3ds, turn work
R 3ds, j to 4th p of previous R, 3ds p 3ds p 3ds, close and turn work
Repeat chains and rings for as long as you wish to make the edging.

Go to Lesson 1