So here's the thing about tatting: it's all the same simple knot, but it matters which string wraps around which.
I'm hoping that you made friendship bracelets at some point in your life--truly, I hope you still are; friendship bracelets are awesome--and that at some point in your friendship bracelet tenure you made the "Chinese Staircase," seen here
(photo by mamichan)
The knot used in this bracelet is similar to one as used in tatting, but in tatting you kind of reverse the handedness of the knot every other time to keep the knots from spiraling around the way they do in the bracelet, and then you add in loops and other fancy things. But what you can imagine is that in the bracelet, there's a clear distinction between which string is forming the knots on the outside, and which strings form the core of the bracelet. This distinction is just as important in tatting, but it's WAY HARDER because there's just one string as the core.
How much harder you say? Check this out:
Each of those loops is a failed attempt at tatting. Looks to me like about seven failures before that last beautiful perfect loop. I showed this to my husband and he said, "I'm so glad there isn't such a clear documentation of failure for all the things I've ever tried." What finally made the difference for me was watching the youtube videos by Tatted Treasures. I watched many videos, but these finally connected with me at the level I needed, so check them out if you're tat-curious!
I had enough success that I made a butterfly:
Now I'm encouraged. I have this kooky idea of making weird tatted motifs to tack onto t-shirts and skirt hems. It's an extremely portable new craft, so it'll be a good thing to work on during the next few nomadic months of my life. My big goals are a dragon (that links to a .pdf) and a praying mantis, so stay tuned! Tatting is also a potential use of handspun silk thread that's either too thin for my knitting tastes or a little sparse yardage-wise. Anyone else acquiring new hobbies?