Looped Fabric

New article on the history of knotting and tatting

I am pleased to announce the publication of my article, “Knotting and Tatting: The Dual Role of the Shuttle as a Fashion Accessory and Instrument of Decoration,” in the Early Summer 2021 issue of The Journal of Dress History.

It is a totally reworked and expanded successor to a preliminary report on Early Tatting Instructions that was previously available via this blog but was taken offline quite a while ago. Here is the abstract of the new article:

The diversionary craft of knotting is known to have been practiced at least from the mid-seventeenth century, employing a handheld shuttle to embellish thread for separate decorative applications. Knotting provided impetus to the development of a form of lacemaking evidenced toward the end of the eighteenth century that was labeled tatting early in the nineteenth century. The continuity between knotting and tatting has been questioned but is supported by the historical sources examined during this study. The accoutrements of knotting appear in portraiture, designed to harmonize with the sitter’s clothing. Prototypal tatting can also be seen in such representations but illustrations of that craft then yielded to the woodcut engravings focused on technical detail that characterize the Victorian fancywork literature. Such texts also prescribed a long crochet hook as an alternative to the tatting shuttle, but the earliest descriptions of knotting indicated that a hook-tipped implement predated its shuttle.

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Kathleen Kiefer
Kathleen Kiefer
20 May 2021 16:51

This is wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

Ari Smith
Ari Smith
30 July 2021 05:06

Do you have any information on the history of needle tatting or cro-tatting? I’ve seen quite a bit on shuttle tatting, but there’s very little out there about needle tatting’s history.

And a small note, this blog is fantastic, and I’ve really enjoyed reading your articles! So much information!