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First Steps in Needle Tatting

Welcome to the enjoyable world of needle-tatting!
Here and on the next few pages are instructions to get you started in this
simple beautiful, beautifully simple form of lace making.

Images are clickable to larger images for your convenience.

Making the Double Stitch

This two-part stitch is the only stitch in tatting.

Step 1 To begin, CUT a length of thread off a ball that is 40 inches long. Thread the needle so one thread end is 4 inches long, the other 36 inches. Holding the needle in your right hand pick up the longer (36-inch) thread in your left hand and put it behind the needle. Hold it against the needle using your right index finger, and close the three bottom fingers of your left hand over the longer thread.
Step 2 Wrap the thread on top or over your finger (clockwise round).
Step 1

From the bottom of the index finger going upward, slide the needle toward the end of the finger. Put the thread on the needle, then remove your index finger.

Step 2

Hold the stitch on the needle using the right index finger.


Step 1 of the double stitch is complete.

Step 3

Next, wrap the thread under or behind your finger (counter clockwise around).

Step 4

Bend your index finger. Slide the needle toward the end of the fingernail.

Pull the thread down the needle toward the other stitch and snug them together.


Step 2 of the double stitch is complete. This is the only stitch in tatting. When making a double stitch, slide each step over to the other stitches.
Step 5

One double stitch made.

Making a Picot

Step 1

Put 4 more double stitches (ds) on the needle for a total of 5ds.

Repeat step 1 of the double stitch and put it on the needle. Stop the thread about 1/2" from the last double stitch, using the right index finger to hold it. Repeat step 2 of the double stitch and slide it over to step 1. The threads should look like the photograph.

Note: you are leaving a space between the double stitches. The space makes a picot.

Step 2

Slide the double stitch over to all the other stitches.

There are now 5ds, picot (p), 1ds on the needle.

Making a Ring

Step 1

To make a ring (R):

With your right fingers, hold the needle. Put the thumb and index finger of your left hand on the stitches. Slide the stitches toward the eye of the needle.


Gently slide the stitches off the eye of the needle. Do not let go of the double stitches

Keep sliding the double stitches down the thread.

Step 2

Keeping pulling, letting the ring form between your fingers.

Step 3

The ring is now closed (CL). The tighter the thread is pulled the smaller the ring will be, but pull only the needle thread, not the short tall.

The pattern for the ring shown will read R 5-5-5-5-5 Cl. (Or, R 5ds, p, 5ds, p, 5ds, p, 5dsCl.)

If a ring does not form and the stitches look like a half moon, you did not start correctly. Start over with another 40" length of thread. Refer to the very first photograph and be sure to start on the longer end of the thread.

Needle and Threads - Finding the Right Size

Match needle size to thread size for best results.
  • Needle #7-Fine (smallest) is suitable for Sizes 70 and 80 tatting thread, Sizes 20-60 crochet cotton, Sizes 8 and 12 pearl cotton, and DMC metallic thread.
  • Needle #5-0 (medium) is suitable for Sizes 10 and 20 crochet thread, Sizes 5 and 8 pearl cotton, and bedspread weight threads.
  • Needle #3-0 (largest) is suitable for Size 5 DMC Cebelia, Size 3 pearl cotton and smaller sport weight yarns.
  • You can get the needles at www.hhtatting.com

To make the Notecard click here

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