From maintaining the nets of fishermen to adorning the garments of royalty, tatting has survived the test of time. This delicate art form has proven to be extremely versatile. Here is given a brief history of tatting.
About 2,000 years ago, fishermen used a large shuttle to weave and knot a heavy cord into a suitable net for fishing. Over the centuries, they perfected their technique, acquiring the skill to make many different types of knots.
One of these was the Bolin knot. This knot was used for the anchor and was a form of a slip-stitch knot. Other knots were used, not only to make the nets, but to also repair them.
It is believed that the series of knots that they used for the nets were passed down to weavers. The weavers, using a much finer thread than the heavy cord used by the fishermen and a smaller shuttle capable of handling the delicate thread, were able to make incredible laces.
As they honed their skills, these weavers developed the art form that we know today as 'tatting'. It has also been referred to as 'knotting', or as the French called it 'Frivolet'.
The fine laces made in this art form have embellished the garments of royalty. As a result, the popularity and demand for this lace rose. Around 1847, it was introduced to Ireland as a means of helping families make it through the potato famine.
It has also been reported that immigrants who came to the 'New World' would wear their handmade tatting, and as the need for money would arise they would sell these beautiful laces to cover their expenses. Thus, another cottage industry was born.
Today, very few are familiar with this art form. Fewer still have mastered the techniques involved. Technology is the main reason for this, since the industrial revolution created machines that could make laces faster and at a fraction of the cost.
So, this art form was almost lost to the people. However, more and more people are starting to learn this unique method of making laces.
There are more and more books available on the market, with loads of patterns for both the beginner and the more experienced tatter. So, whether you would like to adorn your linens or perhaps some of your favorite pieces of clothing, you have many options to look into for the perfect pattern.
Various styles of shuttles are also available, made from different materials. Most of the newer ones are made of metal and are equipped with a removable spool. Classes are also available at some craft supplies stores, and there is a lot of information available on the Internet.