- Appearance - like snowflakes or star shapes
- Design - knotted rings, often with picots - smaller rings connected to form large circles, ovals or other shapes
- Stitches - one knot, the lark's head or cow hitch
- Not to be confused with knotting and netting.:
The French call it ‘ frivolite’, the Italians call it ‘occhi’ which means eyes and in Eastern countries people call it ‘makouk’ which means shuttle. The exact origin is unknown: possibly developed from stringwork, macramé and/or knotting. In Egypt, the knotted rings on one mummy’s skirt looks like tatting. Chinese used knotting couched onto their embroideries. Tatting or ‘purling’ is mentioned in Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’ and tatting was known in the Near East for centuries. In Cambodia it is known as ‘wrap weaving’.
Tatting revived in 1850 when Mlle Riego published several volumes of instructions and designs and won four awards at the International Exhibition. Many innovations of design and technique came from Queen Marie of Rumania. An expert tatter, she worked large ecclesiastical pieces and spangled them with topaz, turquoise, pearl and crystal jewels. Later she donated them to the monastery of Sinaia in the Carpathians in order, it is said, that her precious stones should not fall into the clutches of her husband’s mistress.
In the late 1880s it was used on a vast scale to decorate feminine clothing, usually worked with silk, for doilies and to decorate the edges of table linen and cushion covers.
Jones, R. The Complete Book of Tatting, Kangaroo Press, 1985
Nicholls, E. Tatting,Technique and History, Dover,New York, 1962
The Anchor Manual of Needlework, Batsford,London, 1974
The Basic Book of Macrame and Tatting. Octopus Books, Angus & Robertson, London, 1973
Weiss, R. (Ed) Traditional Tatting Patterns, Dover, NY, 1986
© Valerie Cavill, June 2009