©2000 Dan Rusch-Fischer
(Click on Images for a Closer View)
Netting Shuttle/Needle This item appears at the top of the Needle Tatting information as it is a probable source for the belief that Needle Tatting originated with Mademoiselle Eléonore Riego de la Branchardière. In The Tatting Book (1850) she states:
"To obviate the difficulties above mentioned I have substituted a netting needle [emphasis mine] for the shuttle which has enabled me to attach and shape the pattern while working: and where the loops are too small to admit of the netting needle passing through, I have given directions for using a sewing needle [emphasis mine] instead.
This had nothing to do with the simulated and true tatting produced by various modern Needle Tatting techniques. Instead, it produced tatting using a netting and/or sewing needle (Riego) to shuttle the thread through picots. True tatting requires the use of the 'turned' half hitch. This can be accomplished by tatting with the hands, a shuttle, or, as described above, a sewing or netting needle. The Needle Tatting techniques that produce true tatted rings 'turn' the half hitches onto a 'core' needle before pulling the core thread through; this same technique can be done with a shuttle (clumsily) by 'turning' half hitches in the core thread and passing the shuttle through them.

An early simulated tatting technique was the chain made of the 'unturned' half hitch. This technique of ring hitches made on a carrier borrowed from macramé headers and simulates the tatting knot. The chain can, and often is, made using the tatting knot. The point about chains is moot since, if they are done with two shuttles, whether a knot is turned or not depends on which shuttle was used - the defining characteristic of tatting is held in the ring made with the tatting knot. Crochet Tatting, Morin Needle Tatting, and Takashima HookTatting all produce a simulated tatting product that does not use the tatting knot; i.e., the 'turned half hitch'. Each can thus be distinguished on close examination from true tatting. Shuttle Tatting (whether with shuttle, netting needle, sewing needle or by hand) and Rozelle Needle Tatting produce true tatting; though Rozelle Needle Tatting is distinguishable by the looseness of the work which also makes the picots susceptible to stretching.

Crochet Tatting Illustration The first simulated tatting was made by crochet tatting (not to be confused with crochet(ed) tatting; a form of crocheted faux-tatting briefly popular in the first half of the 20th century). Using a straight-shanked tatting hook, ring hitches were cast on, the base thread pulled through the hitches and the simulated tatted ring secured with a single-crochet. One feature of this type of simulated tatting was the crocheted chains between rings. The illustration shows a crochet tatted ring about to be closed (Caulfeild and Saward). Note: this is the forerunner of the Takashima Tatting Hooks, below.
Buff Tatting Needle Eleanor A. Buff of Hawkinsville, Georgia patented this device and decided to call it a tatting needle, probably from its resemblance to a netting needle. It was made from a single, formed piece of wire and it is unlikely that many survived, if they were ever manufactured, as it's utility as a shuttle isn't easily recognizable.
©2000 Dan Rusch-Fischer, Rozelle Needle Tatting A short article by Mrs. Marion Eugene Rozelle (nee Elizabeth Blackman Green); 1872-1937, in the April 1917 issue of Modern Priscilla magazine described both a simulated and true Needle Tatting technique for making rings (Rozelle). As this article is the first published description of true Needle Tatting, it is appropriate that the technique should bear the authoress' name; i.e., Rozelle Needle Tatting. This technique is revived in current Needle Tatting books (Foster).
Mason-Calpini Tatting Needles Mary T. Mason, a citizen of Great Britain and resident of Brooklyn, NY and Adolph M. Calpini of Pompton Lakes, NJ patented the first tatting needle system (Mason and Calpini). It consisted of a long straight-shanked needle with an eye on one end and a hook on the other and another needle, hollow with a shaped point on one end. Along with the pair of needles was claimed the first Needle Tatting method. This is the earliest documented reference to a Needle Tatting patent.
Morin Tatting Needles Edward A. Morin patented this needle to be "used in the formation of decorative handmade lace known as tatting which heretofore [my emphasis] has been accomplished with a small hand-held shuttle (Morin, patent)." The Morin "Jiffy Needle" (Morin, A to Z, Quick & Easy) is essentially a long darning needle and produces the most popular forms of simulated (Morin) and true (Rozelle) Needle Tatting today.
Takashima Tatting Hooks Toshiko Takashima has two books in print with instructions and schematic patterns for using the "Takashima Tatting Hooks" (this is most often mistranslated from Japanese as "Takashima Tatting Needles"). They are hooked on both ends, which enables one to make crochet tatted chains. Click here for general ring-making instructions. The Takashima Tatting Hooks are a modern version of the Crochet Tatting technique for simulating tatting discussed above. Of note is that the method for crochet tatted chains is omitted in Text 1 and not described until Text 2. Patterns in both books include crochet which is diagrammed in the standard crochet schematic symbols. The hooks and books may be ordered from Doi Shugei in Japan.
Works Cited
Buff, Eleanor A. Tatting-Needle. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent Office. Patent No. 1,116,792. Nov. 10, 1914.

Caulfeild, Sophia Frances Anne, and Saward, Blanche C. The Dictionary of Needlework: An Encyclopedia of Artistic, Plain, and Fancy Needlework. 2nd ed. 6 vols. 1887. London: A. W. Cowan. Rpt. 2 vols. [as Encyclopedia of Victorian Needlework: Dictionary of Needlework.] New York: Dover Publications; Ontario: General Publishing Co.; U.K: Constable and Co. Ltd. 1972: 116

Foster, Barbara Needle Tatting. 2 vols. Paxton, Il: Handy Hands, Inc. 1990, rev. 1991, rev. 1992, rpt. 1993, July 1994, Dec. 1994, 1995.

Mason, Mary T. and Calpini, Adolph M. Method of Tatting. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent Office. Patent No. 1,490,176. Apr. 15, 1924.

Morin, Edward A. Needle for Tatting. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent Office. Patent No. 4,168,792. Sep. 25, 1979.

Morin, Selma and Edward. Jiffy Needle Tatting: A to Z. Kansas City, MO: KC Publishing, Inc. 1992.

--- Jiffy Needle Tatting: Quick & Easy. Kansas City, MO: KC Publishing, Inc. 1992.

Riego de la Branchardière, Eléonore. The Tatting Book. London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co. 1850.

Rozelle, M. E. "Needle Tatting." Modern Priscilla April 1917: 15.

Takashima, Toshiko. Takashima Tatting: Text 1. Ashiya, Japan: Privately printed. May 20, 1990

Takashima, Toshiko. Takashima Tatting: Text 2. Ashiya, Japan: Privately printed. Sep. 20, 1992, rpt. July 31, 1998