What is a tatting needle… because I want to make that!

by Laurie Walton

A year ago I had no clue what Needle Tatting was. But I had signed up for the Postmark’d Art Basket Swap and I needed inspiration. I had a vague memory of printing out a pattern of a basket full of flowers years ago. I finally tracked it down amongst a pile of saved things — printed out for later. But by the time I taught myself to Needle Tat, I also realized this marvelous picture of a basket with tatted flowers had a secret: the basket was not actually tatted! It was a drawing, intended as a background for a note card, with tatted flowers layered on top.

After much searching of the internet looking for a basket that was Needle Tatted, I couldn’t find a pattern for the “perfect basket”. Half way through a learning exercise intended to be a medallion, I wondered if by changing it and adding a handle, it might become a basket more in keeping with what I had in mind.

So I wrote my first (and probably ONLY) needle tatting pattern 😉

You really can do this with just a little practice! There are very few actual stitches to learn.

I found a size 5 tatting needle at our local craft store. (ACMoore) Basket is made using Pearl Cotton. Flowers & leaves are mostly embroidered Daisy loops & French knots, using 2 or 3 strands of floss. Three simple tatted flowers are added for a little dimension, with seed beads for some sparkle. (Hand stitch basket to a prepared fabric postcard background and fill as desired 🙂

Elegant Tatted Basket

on fabric postcard – made using #5 needle.

R 2-2-2-2-2-2 Close, Reverse Work
* Ch 3-3-3-3 Reverse Work (Joins will not count as half a stitch)
R 2-2+ (join to next to last picot of previous ring) 2-2-2-2 Close,
Reverse Work*

Repeat * chains & rings * between stars until you have 5 rings & 4 chains. Do NOT reverse work.

Ch 2+2+ (draw needle through)
R 2+2+2+2+2+2+ Close (1 picot remaining)
Ball thread will cross the center ring so it closes snugly for last chain:
Ch 2+2 (draw needle through)

Create handle of basket by doing 18 Sets of Node Stitches
(or length desired)
[4 first half DS, 4 second half DS] x 18

Join handle to opposite side of basket where 1st ring & chain meet, matching placement. Secure ends by burying threads into several stitches in back. Clip threads.

The Tatting Calendar Project featured my basket pattern & postcard on July 16 (2007): http://tat-calendar.blogspot.com

Learn how to Needle Tat.
Handy Hands Tatting has a very nice book for beginners — but almost everything in it was free on their website. I love books though! I found my copy on Ebay and it included 4 needles and a small piece of the former owner’s tatting.

Book — http://www.hhtatting.com/detail.cfm?ID=1

Kit (book & needles) — http://www.hhtatting.com/detail.cfm?ID=147

Note Card basket pattern with tatted flowers — http://www.handyhandstatting.com/notecard.htm

Tutorial that inspired my basket — http://groups.msn.com/NeedleTattingTwo/workingofftheballthread.msnw   Note: this is a Windows Live site, you must have a Windows Live ID and password to access the site.

Laurie in Maine

Blog – Socks have NO THUMBS! (Because mostly I knit socks these days 😉

Tatted trees postcards from August 2007 blog entry – by the end of summer my Needle Tatting hobby was about to fall by the wayside for some other shiny thing over there! Perhaps I’ll refresh my memory now that Franki has coaxed this tutorial out of me.


Laurie Walton lives in Maine and is a member of the online group Postmark’d Art. As a stay-at-home mom, she now proudly boasts (to anyone who’ll listen) her two daughters have graduated from the University of Maine — both summa cum laude in their chosen fields!

She is volunteer editor of Maine’s Pine Tree Quilting Guild newsletter, Patchwork Press. Learning to knit socks became an obsession for a while but the urge to make another quilt is growing stronger. A number of unfinished quilt projects have languished that should probably be worked on first. But she’s always up for another postcard swap.