Tatting Instructions for the Needle

Updated July 20, 2017

Tatting is the ancient craft based of knotting and forming lace like patterns. Tatting can be done with a needle or a long cylinder with holes called a shuttle. There are actually hieroglyphic depictions of people doing a form of tatting as far back as three thousand years ago. It became popular in Europe in the 17th century when it was considered unladylike for a woman to have idle hands. Tatting in modern times is done more with a needle than a shuttle.

Thread a piece of 40-inch long thread through the needle and pull 36 inches out. The 4 inches hanging through should be coming out the front of the needle eye.

Hold the long end of the thread against the back of the needle until it is halfway up the length of it.

Bring the end of the thread around the needle to the right and cross it over so it is behind the needle again on the left. Pass the end of the thread being held against the needle and hold it horizontally to the right of the needle.

Bring the thread up and pass it behind the needle so it is still horizontal but now pointing to the left. This will form a small loop to the right of the needle.

Pass the end of the thread over the needle from the left and insert it into the small loop you formed on the right. Pull the thread to tighten the knots and create the first stitch.

Repeat all of the steps to create another stitch. Keep making stitches until you have as many as you want.

Push all of the stitches down the needle towards the eye and slide the stitches onto the length of thread.

Insert the needle through the stitch furthest from it to form the stitches into a ring. Make as many rings as you want to.


You can add picots in between stitches once you get more comfortable with tatting.


Do not pull the stitches too tightly until you are sure they are correct, as you will find it more difficult to correct them.

Things You'll Need

  • Thread
  • Needle
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About the Author

Based in New Jersey, Erica Porter has been writing fashion related articles since 2001. Her work has appeared on the Breakthrough and eHow websites. Porter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Rochester.