The new tatter may want to begin building a reference library of tatting books. Books of tatting patterns are very common and many of them include the basic instructions and even illustrations on how to tat. But there have been a number of tatters who have gone beyond basics and given us a firm foundation in the history and evolution, construction concepts of tatting, design essentials in tatting. Here is a starter list of such reference books.
The Complete Book of Tatting, Rebecca Jones
For nearly three decades this book has been the standard reference text for tatters. Containing explanations for six different methods of tatting, all the basic stitches plus advanced techniques such as cluny tatting, pearl or maltese tatting and the roll stitch. It has a wealth of information and patterns to keep the new tatter busy and to inspire experienced tatters, too.
The works of Mary Konior
All five of the Konior books will teach and inspire tatters. "Tatting with Visual Patterns" is an especially well formatted book. The lace is shown in full color, the diagrams are clear, multicolored, and bear the ds count. Special or little used techniques are highlighted in special "Know-How" boxes next to the patterns in which they are used. Her patterns range from traditional lace to experimental landscapes in mixed mediums. Although most of her works are out of print they can still be found on the secondary market.
The works of Judi Banashek
"Impeccable Tatting" is one of those "must have" books for all tatters. Judi Banashek's illustrations were ground breaking at the time. She showed how each portion of the threads would lay in all the many situations for each technique such as split ring and split chain. Her book of advanced techniques highlighted the front/back side concept to enhance the look of the tatting while her study on the vintage technique of mignonette brought renewed popularity to this charming construction.
The works of Elgiva Nicholls
The three books produced during Elgiva's life-long journey and exploration of the construction of tatting is an achievement greater than conquering Mt. Everest. Perhaps the most influential tatter of the 20th century, her creative use of form and color brought us a new understanding of design. Long out of print, her books are worth searching for.
The works of Mlle. Eleonore Riego de la Branchardiere.
Mlle. Riego published her first book, "Knitting, Crochet and Netting" at the age of 12 in 1846. She went on to publish 72 books on the needle arts of which 13 were tatting books (11 books and 2 reprints.) Mlle Riego began with borders and insertions in tatting and went on to create gold-medal award winning tatting featured at the world expositions 1851, 1855, 1862 and 1872. All of her books are in public domain and may be downloaded free.
The Simple Book of Tatting, 1850
The Tatting Book, 1850
Golden Stars in Tatting and Crochet [Etoile Dorée in Tatting], 1861
Tatting Edges and Insertions, 1861
The Exhibition Tatting Book, 1862
The Royal Tatting Book, 1864, 1867
The Complete Tatting Book, 1866, 1867
The Pearl Tatting Book, 1866
The Lace Tatting Book 1867
The Raised Tatting Book, 1868
Lace Tatting. Tatting chapter only from the Irish Lace Instructor, 1886
Ed.'s Note: I acquired all these books for my own personal reference library over the last 3 decades. -G. Seitz