Last week we took a trip to Gawthorpe Hall near Padiham, which is a big old country house with rather impressive interiors (although the grounds are a bit disappointing, I have to add) and a fine collection of embroidery and crafts on display. Some of the needlework is amazing and really brings the rooms to life. Near to the knitting and crochet (such tiny hooks and intricate work!) was a collection of tatting. This really caught my interest and I wanted to know more about how it is done. So, a few deliveries from Amazon and a trip to Hobbycraft later... I am now a fledgling tatter. There are quite a few videos on Youtube, etc, on tatting, but to be honest none of the ones I saw seemed to be particularly clear to me, so I bought the book 'Learn to Tat' by Janette Baker. This has a lot of pictures and comes with a DVD of clear and easy to follow instructions and seemed to be the most recommended of the books on offer. I say "easy to follow" but it still took a good hour or so before I was able to say that I'd got the hang of it.
I bought two types of shuttle, one made by Prym which is a simple symmetrical bobbin and one slightly more fancy design by Pony. The Pony one has a little hook at one end which is really helpful for loosening wrong stitches - and there will be wrong stitches - and the winding bobbin is a nifty trick so you don't have to turn the whole thing around in your hand to unwind more thread. I think the Prym one cost about £1.30 and the Pony £2.40 and in my experience is well worth the extra pennies.
To start with there were some knots, wiggly knots and some swearing. In the guide book it rather comfortingly says that your practice thread may measure a foot or two before it is consistently correct. I didn't quite take a foot, but not far off.
I am now into lesson 2 and things are getting a bit more fancy. Hopefully soon I will be confident enough to take on one of the projects and have something a bit bigger to show for my efforts.