Interview with wist-aria

9 min read

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ArtisanCraft's avatar
If you check Dorothy-T-Rose's gallery, you'll find a lot of wonderful drawings and paintings. But there's one more, very different, art. It's this craft called tatting (fr.: frivolité; ger.: Schiffchenarbeit; it.: occhi).

Let's see what Wikipedia has to say about it: "Tatting is a technique [of making] lace by a series of knots and loops. The lace is formed by a pattern of rings and chains [...] Gaps can be left between the stitches to form picots, which are used for practical construction as well as decorative effect."

As for the history of tatting, the origins aren't known exactly. It is believed that tatting as we know it originated in the early 19th century.

Dorothy-T-Rose is one of the modern lace-makers and the admin of the group Tatting. She knows the tricks and secrets of the knots, forming lovely edgings, delicate doilies and enchanting collars.


:bulletpink: Hello =wist-aria, could you tell us a bit about yourself, please? When and why did you start to tat?
Hey. :) I'm a 20-something girl from the USA. I consider myself a visual artist. That is, I draw and paint, both traditionally and digitally. However, one of my favourite hobbies is to tat.
I started tatting sometime during high school. A friend of mine and her mother both tatted. When I expressed an interest in the art, my friend's mother taught me. I had a lot of free time during high school and tatting was something interesting that took up a lot of that time.


:bulletpink: What tools and materials do you need for tatting?
A basic tatting kit should consist of thread, either a shuttle or needle, a small crochet hook (which is sometimes included on the end of a shuttle), and a pair of scissors. An extended tatting kit could also include beads, a beading needle, fray check, a shuttle winder, additional shuttles and their corresponding bobbins, trinkets and charms, fasteners for jewellery, earring hooks, and a picot gauge. Expert tatters sometimes get even more creative with their tools. I have encountered one tatter that used a dental floss threader!

:bulletpink: Are there different methods?
There are two main methods and a third that I wouldn't recommend. The most common method, perhaps, is shuttle tatting. It requires a special shuttle, of which there are several different designs and sizes, and creates a tighter knot.
Needle tatting is also popular. The knots are looser because the entire needle must be able to pass through them. Although you can buy special needles for this purpose, the tatting could, feasibly, be created with any sewing needle.
It is also possible to tat using only the thread and your fingers, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you're bored and looking for a challenge. :giggle:

:bulletpink: You prefer to tat with a shuttle. Could you give us a short explanation of the process of making a tatting-piece?
Tatting is not an easy thing to explain with words only, but I'll try. Essentially, you make a two-part knot, usually referred to as a double stitch. In the world of knots, it is called a Cow Hitch:… This knot is applied over and over creating rings and chains. A space left between the knots will create a little loop called a picot. For an excellent demonstration of how to do this with a shuttle, see this video:…

Tatted Choker 02 by Dorothy-T-Rose

:bulletpink: Where do you get the inspiration for your works?
Oh, that's a hard one. Until recently, I usually used patterns from books or other tatted items that I owned. I tried making a few things on my own, but I usually resorted to mixing patterns or making slight alterations. When I did try to make something without a pattern at all, it usually turned out very simple. During that time, I would say my inspiration came from boredom and a need for a challenge. Now, though, I've found that sketching out an original design makes it so I can create my own patterns before I begin tatting. This has made a huge difference in how I approach my work. Now, I guess my inspiration comes from my own creativity and curiosity concerning just how far I can push the art of tatting. Also, I really like making jewellery and doilies. They make awesome gifts!

:bulletpink: Do you have any tips or tricks for people who want to learn tatting?
Yes! When you're first starting out, use a larger size thread. Size 10 crochet thread is a good starter size and works well for doilies. Also, get two different colours that are easy to tell apart, such as white and red. Start by learning how to make a chain. With the different colour threads, you will immediately know if your knot has "snapped" or not. The biggest hurdle for many students is getting the ball thread to "snap" over the shuttle thread. It's a little harder to hold the thread for a chain than it is for a ring, but if the knot doesn't "snap", your ring won't close and will be ruined, so it's best to master that before going forward. Also, start with small patterns like a bookmark. The patterns will be simpler (in general) and you'll get the reward of a completed project sooner. Later, when you're faster and more patient with mistakes, you can try something larger and more complicated.

:bulletpink: And to finish this interview, please show us your favourite pieces of your gallery.
Tatted Pendant 01 by Dorothy-T-Rose Collage of Memories 2 by Dorothy-T-Rose Earrings--01 by Dorothy-T-Rose

Thank you, Dorothy-T-Rose, for this interview.


Be sure to check :icondorothy-t-rose:'s gallery for more and also pay a visit to :icontatting:.

This interview was held by digikijo

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Madame-mari-mortem's avatar
Nice interview =)
I am trying to pick up tatting myself; I only have one finished piece to my name, and it's displayed in my gallery. I hear needle tatting is much easier to catch than with a shuttle; I haven't tried a needle yet, but so far shuttle tatting is a little complicated. This is a great way to pass the time, as is any needle craft-- you need lots of patience to create a truly great piece.