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Designed by Georgia Seitz

The Online Tatting Classes

Founded in 1999 by Georgia Seitz

Beginners Class

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Lesson 1 Page
Lesson 2
Lesson 3
And onwards!

Links Summary

Contact the Teacher:

Cyn Stevenson: tattingaway@gmail

Search Only The Beginners Lessons from the Online Tatting Class (www.georgiaseitz.com/newtat)

Search Only The Online Tatting Class (www.georgiaseitz.com)


Welcome to the Beginner's Class
Lesson 1!

Goals for this lesson:


Reading Patterns

There are many forms of pattern writing out there and it can be very confusing for beginners to understand what everything means. So in here his links to help you understand different type of pattern writing.

Pictorial Pattern Charts (This'N'Tat)

Pattern notations (Jen'sTatra-Sutra, this page saved from the Wayback machine.)

Read, Write and Diagram Patterns


How to make a Ring for Shuttle Tatter and a true ring for needle tatter

This weeks class we will be working with the ring = R. For this lesson we will only need the ball thread to load our shuttle or needle and then we'll be cutting our thread and only working with what is on our shuttle or needle.

To help you get comfortable with the ring / true ring we will work on the following small exercise patterns/border in class:

Exercise Pattern :

(this pattern is part of Katia's  teaching class for beginners in her hometown)

*Ring: 15 DS cl. leave 1/2" of bare thread before starting the next ring * repeat 5 times


Shuttle tatters: ring

Take the SHUTTLE thread over the backs of your fingers in exactly the same way as you did for the chain but do not wind it round the little finger. Instead, continue round your hand, then take the thread up between the thumb and index finger to lie next to the end of the chain. At this point the core thread is pinched between your thumb and first finger in 2 spots with a wind around your hand between. Video demo of a ring for shuttle tatters


Needle tatters: true ring

Holding your needle in your right hand you will use the core thread (the one threaded through your needle) to wrap your DS. Please check: handy hands tutorial.

Please read: http://www.georgiaseitz.com/dana/needletat.html

The true ring is made when tatting with a cut piece of thread. It closes automatically when removed from the needle. When working with rings and chains, we make the scmr type ring which requires the tie.

The true ring is the top diagram (note no ball thread) in this wonderful illustration by Tammy Rodgers.

My description of this in contained in the 3 discussions on needle tatting page. Here is the excerpt: http://www.georgiaseitz.com/dana/needletat.html

"There are two styles of tatting to be created. First, all rings such as are the equivalent of "one-shuttle" work. And, second, rings and chains such as are made with a shuttle and ball thread or two shuttles.

In needle tatting all rings or "one-shuttle" work, is accomplished by threading the needle with a cut length of thread (length determined by project in hand.) Rings with chains will be worked from a ball of thread of which the end and a certain length is threaded thru the eye of the needle. The length of thread pulled thru will be determined first by the size of the project and second by the awkwardness of pulling too long a tail thru the stitches each time. The more thread you have to pull thru each time the greater the fraying of the thread and the less attractive the lace produced.

To practice the needle tatting technique just use a cut length of thread approx. 1 1/2 yds long. Thread one end thru the eye of the needle and pull about 1/2 yd thru the eye. With the needle held in the right hand with the thumb on the bottom and the four fingers on the opposite side turn the needle so that the eye of the needle is on the right hand side, take the tail of long end of the thread and bring it up to the middle of the needle.

Place the tail end under the thumb so that a loop is formed by the tail going down and back up to the right. The thumb is the pinching point and will be in the middle of the loop.

Position the left hand with the thumb sticking up and the four fingers slightly curved inward and around the left hand side of the thread loop formed above. Take the thread as it comes up and over the forefinger of the left hand and stretch it taut between there and the pinching point.

Bring your right hand and the needle towards you and around your upright thumb clockwise. Place the point of the needle on the side of the thumb closest to you and go from the base upwards sliding under the thread. Gently pull the needle to the right and the thread slips off the thumb. Note here that a loop, i.e., the first half stitch of thread is around the needle.

Holding the thread in the left hand firmly pull down slightly until the slack is gone from the loop and the thread completely encloses the needle. Slide this loop to the mid point of the needle and hold it in place with the outstretched forefinger.

With the left thumb upright take the needle and move it away from you wrapping the thread around the thumb in a counterclockwise movement. Take the point of the needle and place it at the base of the thumb on the side farthest from you and slide the needle upwards again picking up the loop of thread. Let the thread slip off the thumb. Note here that the thread is again in a loop around the needle, this time in the opposite direction, i.e., the second half stitch.

Holding the thread in the left hand firmly pull down slightly until the slack is gone from the loop and the thread completely encloses the needle. Slide this loop to the mid point of the needle and hold it in place with the outstretched forefinger.

You will now see the familiar double stitch of tatting has been wrapped around the needle. Continue in this manner for two more double stitches. As you tighten the first half stitch of the 4th DS leave a space of thread about 1/2" long. Reach forward with the forefinger to hold this loop in place while the second half stitch is wrapped. When the 4th DS is complete physically push the DS down next to the first three DS. Note that the space of thread is forced outwards and thus forms a picot.

Do this ring for practice: R 3 - 3 - 3 - 3

When the ring is complete slide the stitches downwards over the eye of the needle and pull the short tail all the way through. Note that the circle of stitches automatically forms into a ring. This style of ring closing only occurs when working with a cut piece of thread."


Start to make your double stitches just as before. Shuttle tatters keep your fingers as widely apart as possible when you start the ring because that will give you more thread to work with - tatting stitches use up a small amount of thread with each stitch and the ring round your fingers will get smaller. It will feel awkward at first and you may find that the ring of thread falls off your fingers from time to time. If you find your ring of thread gets too small to work with, pull on the thread that lies under your hand - this will enlarge it (the shuttle thread will get shorter and you may find you have to unwind some more thread from the shuttle) and give you more room to work.

Once you have made the desired number of stitches, take the stitches and thread off your hand. Pinch the stitches of the ring between your index and thumb fingers. This will give you some control if the ring starts to twist as you close the ring. Pull carefully on the thread coming from your shuttle/needle and you will see the ring begin to close(if it doesn't you probably have not flipped a stitch correctly). Pull until the ring closes completely, and the stitches lie flat in a neat oval.



To do even the simplest patterns one usually is required to have picots = P. What is a picot = P? A picot = P is a loop of thread that is formed when a space is left between two DS while making the element. Once the second DS is made it can slide up next to the DS before it and the space the thread took up will now form a loop which helps give tatting its lacey look. Picots = P are a decorative element; they are a construction element as well, which we will look at further in the weeks to come.

If you look at the DS as it faces you it looks something like this you may have noticed how it looks like the DS has a waistband and pant legs. If you look at the other side of the DS you will still have both pant legs and two halves of waistbands this is the way it is suppose to be. As you make the next DS the other side of the tatting would show half the first half of a DS, a full DS and the second half of the DS. When we make a picot = P it is the waistband of the full DS on the other side of the tatting that will be come the picot = P, it sounds complicated doesn't it but its not.

In the sample we see the core thread or needle as gray and the ball thread as red. Lets "do/leave" a picot = P make a DS as normal it does not matter if you are a needle tatter or a shuttle tatter then make another double stitch but this time do not bring it up close to the previous double stitch you will leave a space it will look similar to this. Something to note here is that the long thread in red at the very top is actual the waistband of the full DS on the other side of the tatting.

Now you just slide the second DS up against the previous DS and the 'waistband' loops up as a picot = P because there isn't room for it to stay down flat like before. We haven't made anything we only left a space of thread and when we slide the DS together the space is gone and the loop is there. Really now can we get much easier than that? Did you notice with the picot = P loop going up like that the DS are not taking up anymore space side to side then if we did not allow the picots = P to be there? So if we made a R of 15DS and no picots = P it is still the same size as R of 15DS that has 3 picots = P that are evenly spaced. The picots = P will make it look larger but the actual ring is the same size. Neat, right?

Try this Exercise Pattern :

(this pattern is part of Katia's  teaching class for beginners in her hometown)

*Ring: 5 DS , P,  5DS , P, 5DS  cl. leave 1/2" of bare thread before starting the next ring * repeat 5 times

Picots = P can be made various sizes by the size of the space left for them. Picot = P gauges are often used and there are a couple of ways to use them but for now we will not use them we want to get some basics down first. In a pattern a picot can be represented a number of ways it can be the word written out, or surprise the 'P' or hyphens '-' for a regular size '--' for a larger size and '---' for and even larger size. In a diagram a picot isn't mentioned it is shown with numbers between the picots.


Picot Gauges

Thread spacing can be kept consistent with the use of a picot gauge; here we see the use of the gauge in both the horizontal and vertical method for picots.

image horizontal picot gauge image verticle picot gauge

When making picots I normally use the horizontal method for both shuttle and needle tatting however when doing the spacing between rings when doing single shuttle/needle work I use the vertical method.

A gauge can be made out of almost anything, Georgia sells wooden ones unfortunately I have never been in the position to acquire any so I make mine. I have used coated paperclips, bobby pins, cardboard cut to size, embroidery floss cards cut to size, I have even put permanent mark dots on my finger, (some people even have their finger tattooed), an end of crochet hooks work too.

As many of you have heard needle tatters can do the same pattern as shuttle tatters this is true, with the true ring . So in this first pattern JoAnn Stearns' Dove AKA The Silver Shuttle  You will only need 24" to 36" (61cm to 91cm) on your shuttle or needle.


Things to do when making a pattern the first time:

1. Read through the pattern at least twice to see if I think I will be able to under stand it. I don't need to understand every twist and turn this second but are there any terms I do NOT know that I want to get help with first before going further?

2. What will I do with my thread ends? (I will need to know how my project will be used.) Can I knot my ends and cut the threads close on the back because it will be mounted in a frame and not seen? Can I use the ends of the threads as part of the hanger on a Christmas ornament or bookmark? Do I need to hide them inside my DS? For the dove you will be knotting the threads on the back and trimming them close as it is just a little something you can give out to whomever you want to, glue to a note card, perhaps it isn't a dove maybe you see the birdie as a partridge in a pear tree on a hand made Christmas card so the knot side is glued down. (Please note that we will teach you to hide ends in a few weeks, keep your practice pieces and you can practice hiding ends on them!!!)


I know we haven't talked patterns yet. We are confident you can understand the dove pattern, if not we are here to help. Remember the number tells you how many DS to make, the - tells you how large your P is.


Have fun, We will see you in class.

Patterns for Practice


Cynthia's "Butterflies are Forever Free" pattern

Links Summary

Pictorial Pattern Charts (This'N'Tat)

Pattern notations (Tatra-Sutra)

Read, Write and Diagram Patterns

Instructional links:

Rings (Shuttle)

Video demo of a ring

True Rings (Needle)

handy hands tutorial on rings

Links Summary

Reverse, Turn and Rotate

Joining one ring to another

Folded join

Folded join video

Hiding Ends in Single-Thread Tatting

Hiding Ends Lily's Way


Contact the webmaster: sktattingdesigner@gmail.com