How do I Choose the Best Tatting Book?

Tara Barnett

In order to choose the best tatting book, one must decide what one wants from the book. For instance, many beginners find that clear directions in patterns are one of the best features of having a book, while others quickly adapt to the code used by tatters. In any case, a tatting book should at least have basic notes on technique, intriguing patterns, and an index. This information should be featured in any general tatting book, but a book intended for a more advanced tatter might only include patterns. It is important that the book is at a level that is understandable for the tatter, and many books include various levels, leaving many projects that can be grown into as the crafter advances.

Tatting books typically have notes on different techniques as well as tatting patterns.
Tatting books typically have notes on different techniques as well as tatting patterns.

A tatting book should first of all include information on how tatting is done. For instance, it should elaborate all the tools required for this craft. While tatting needles are most popular, information on how tatting shuttles work may also be useful. Advice on selecting materials is also very important for beginners.

Tatting patterns are often written in an elaborate code that may be difficult to decipher for beginners. Having a concise index of what these abbreviations mean is a very valuable tool and should be included in any tatting book. When the book is being used as a reference when working on projects, this index can be very convenient.

Projects are the central part of any tatting book. Small projects are a great way to start tatting without committing to the complexity of a large piece of lace. Some small projects are made in the shape of animals, which can be an entertaining way to practice skills.

With practice, one can progress to more complex pieces. A comprehensive tatting book should include pieces appropriate to many different levels, preferably marked by difficulty. When choosing tatting books for patterns alone, it may be best to focus on a specific level or type of project. If one is already skilled in tatting, there is no need to purchase a book that will give a large amount of repeated information.

Some people find that vintage tatting books are both interesting and practical. These books may include a number of patterns that are not found in current crafting books. Old magazines may also include tatting patterns. When choosing vintage tatting books, it is best to consider both the practical use of the book and the aesthetic and historical value of the document. For those who love tatting, even if the projects will never be made the book can still be of interest.

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Discussion Comments


As a long time tatter, I feel this entry should be retitled, "What's a good beginner's tatting book".

Most books nowadays do not come with "written" instructions, but rather with very easy to follow diagrams. Many newbies can tackle advanced techniques once the double stitch is learned, just by following the picture.


There is no such thing as the "best" tatting book. It is very true that you have to first decide what you want from the book. The Jones book is good for some techniques, but Duff's book is good for beginners patterns, yet an accomplished tatter would probably want books with something more challenging.

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