Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Teaching and Learning Tatting

I will be starting tatting classes at Spotlight, the arts and crafts supply store, soon.  I, and a number of other crafters were approached by Spotlight when they were preparing for the opening of their store in Kuala Lumpur recently.

I have been receiving enquiries about the tatting classes eversince I put up the notice in my Facebook page about it. My class in Spotlight will be about the basic techniques of tatting.  One of the questions that I was asked is what pattern will I use in my class.  This has got me thinking -

Learning how to tat is not about turning up for class, make something and go back with a finished product.  It is not like attending a bag-making class and you have a finished bag to take home after class. It is not about learning diffeent kinds of stitches as in embroidery, for example.  To be fair, each craft has its own skill level that challenges the learner.  I still can't do embroidery work.  Though I can sew a bit,, I have never tried sewing a bag. 

There is only 'ONE' basic stitch to learn in tatting, but that one stitch can make or break you. When first learning how to tat, it is a continuous battle between you and the thread, and in the beginning 90% of the time the thread wins.  It also depends on the individual.  You may get the "oh wow" moment when you get the flip after only 15 minutes of class, or continue the fight hours or days after that.

So, whenever someone asks "what am I going to teach in my class?", this is my answer,

I am not going to show you how to make something with tatting.  I will be teaching you the different techniques used.  Even though, there is only one stich, there are numerous techniques to learn to make the doublestitch work for you.  There will be simple patterns that I will give you that are more as exercises for you to practice the techniques and improve on it. I will also teach you the different ways of reading patterns so that when you are on your own, you can look at different kinds of tatting patterns and use your new tatting skill to tat a pattern of your choice.  I will give you some tips and pointers that are seldom found in books, to make it easier for you to tat and come out with a better finish.

These are what I will teach you in my class.  Once you have acquired the skill, there is no stopping at what you can tat. It is just a matter of  "do you want to or not".

I always feel very much appreciated and accomplished when I see the "Wow" moment in my students eyes. That is why I teach.

Now, on my curent project, a Jan Stawasz doily from his book Tatted Treasures,
Thread is Milford size 60 in ecru.
I have started the last round of the middle portion of the doily. The next part will be made up of eight repeats of the centre motif one for each side.


  1. Very interesting post, Jon. Love the motif too; it is very pretty. Classic Stawasz : )

  2. Yes, it's an interesting thought. I was taught the double stitch and went from there, so I assume anyone else can do the same. Do you expect your pupils to come for repeat lessons, or just one? At Spotlight, I mean. I'm going to be doing a one day tatting workshop next month. I've said I'll show the group the basics and then it's up to them to take it from there.

  3. Nice answer and so true. Once you get the flip, the world opens up. There are so many tips and tricks to learn and sometimes one builds on another. Patience is also key to learn,

  4. I agree about "what am I making"...when I was learning to tat, my friend concentrated on my learning the stitch, then moved on to "something"...good post!

  5. Love your answer to "what are you going to teach"!!! Very well said!! :)
    Your doily is coming along so beautifully!!! I can't wait to see the finished project!!! :)

  6. Good luck with your lessons, I hope you get some really interesting ladies (or gents) that are easy to teach.
    I too have been asked to do some tatting classes at a local shop, at the moment they are moving to a larger shop but hopefully when that is done, the lessons can start.
    Lovely piece of tatting, the mat is looking lovely

  7. It's a wonderful explanation of the difference in learning a skill and making a project.

  8. Those are good thoughts about teaching tatting. Good for students to know them coming in.

    That doily is really turning out gorgeous!

  9. Wishing you grand satisfaction & sense of achievement & success with your new batch :-)) Teaching becomes so rewarding when the student "gets it" and even more so when s/he can apply the teaching. And a teacher Always learns in the process too, by consolidating her knowledge, concepts, skills and gaining inspiration from enthusiastic learners.

    Lovely doily !!!

  10. Hi Jon,

    I just wanted to say how much I really enjoyed reading your post. Sounds like you'll be getting them on the right foot for designing... only limited by their imagination...

    Your students will be lucky to have you as their Teacher.


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