I don't know if it is inspiration or sheer craziness, but I have decided to try and show a couple of tatting tutorials on my Ustream channel. I'd like to invite you to follow along, or even try your hand at tatting! Here are some of the tools you will need.
First of all there are two type of tatting: shuttle tatting and needle tatting. If you have arthritis or if you already know how to knit or crochet, needle tatting is the way to go. If however, you prefer to learn the more difficult, old-fashioned way, AND you have a LOT of patience, shuttle-tatting might be in your future. The difference? You can do much finer work with the shuttle than you can with the needle, because the needle does not pass through your knots; you can use much thinner thread. With the needle, you can use a lot of different fibers, not just thread. Below is an example of a few motifs I have tatted using #10 white crochet cotton and a shuttle.
Thread: Lizbeth thread has been highly recommended to me, but really you should be able to make do with any cotton crochet thread. If you can find some that states specifically for tatting, all the better. Size 10 for beginners, and graduate to the higher (finer) sizes as you get better!
Shuttle: I would recommend a bobbin shuttle for the beginner, otherwise you'll forever be winding and unwinding thread, plus fighting the tension if you're not properly unwinding. This is a picture of the shuttle I use and can be found at lacis.com:
There are lots of cons to trying to learn to tat using the shuttle, but I keep returning to the shuttle because of the fine work that you can do. (Or because I like to torture myself).
Tatting needles: If you want to use size 10 or 20 cotton thread, I would recommend you get a size #5-0 needle. Sometimes you can find the single size needle by itself but I've only ever found it in a set (mine has #3-0, #5-0, #7 fine and #8 Ex. fine). Try Amazon, Overstock.com, and lacis.com, unless you have a specialty yarn/fibers store in your town!
Interested in finer work using super-thin threads? I would hold off until you get the main techniques down, then use your size #7 fine needle for size 20, 30, 40 or 50 cotton, and your size 8 needle for size 50 and higher threads. (Remember, the higher the number, the finer the thread).
If you already know how to knit or crochet, it will take you no time at all to pick up needle-tatting. It's just another form of needle-work! There are really only a few different techniques, whether you are using the needle or the shuttle.
Anyway, I'll put in my order for some needles, give everyone some time to order their supplies, and I'll stream a couple tutorials as soon as they arrive.
The best part about this hobby? Even if you get the supplies to try both needle and shuttle tatting, you'll only have to shell out about 20 dollars, max! I hope you'll join me on my stream, even if just to see tatting in action. :)