There are those who believe that tatting came from a skill known as netting (which employed a shuttle very much like the shuttle used for tatting today except on a larger scale) which was used by fishermen to weave a net to harvest their crop of fish from the sea; or even to make small treasures for their significant others. Some of the more fancy rope knotting done, while at sea, had a sharp resemblance to the tatting that we are familiar with today.
Although it’s difficult to fathom that tatting was not part of an ancient art, there’s no references of tatting pre-1800. In fact tatting, for a period of time, has all but died out and has only in recent years become revived but, not to the extent that it once was.
There are many online tatting groups that have joined resources to introduce persons to the art of tatting. It may be for this reason that tatting is not something that you can find very much information on at your local craft store; because it is just starting to re-emerge. I suggest that, after searching online, you might try your local library. You can look for information on tatting, lace making, needle tatting, shuttle tatting and then there’s also the different types of lace that are made with a lap pillow, but they have nothing to do with tatting. I only mention this because you’re bound to happen upon them, while doing your research, if you use the search phrase of ‘lace making’. Keep in mind: lace making is not a form of tatting but, tatting is a form of lace making.
Nationwide there are tatting guilds that are popping up in ‘hit and miss’ locations; usually in the larger cities of the state. There’s a chance that you can find one near your area by doing a search for ‘Tatting Guilds’ in a city near you. There’s also a chance that you can find someone who teaches tatting classes who can give you a more personal tutorial than what you can get online. But, if you’re wanting free lessons, that’s part of what you’ll get here at this site. We’ll start with the very basics and go from there. So, get your needle or shuttle ready and your thread. You’ll soon be making lace and then there’s no limit to what you can make.