Beginning any new craft adventure starts with finding the right supplies, and that can feel daunting when you aren't sure exactly what you need or where to find it. So here is my shopping guide for beginning shuttle tatters! These are the supplies I bring to classes when I teach students, to get them started off right. You may even have some of them already on hand!
I recommend starting with a bobbin style shuttle that has a tiny hook on the end, as I find these are easiest for beginners, and the hook is very convenient. My personal choice is the Handy Hands Aerlit shuttle, but only in the pearl colors. (The other colors are tempting, I know, but trust me, stick with the pearl colors only!) If you want to go ahead and save some time and shipping costs, getting a second shuttle in a different style is a good choice, too. There are a lot of different styles of shuttles on the market with subtle differences between them, and the only way to know what style is going to be most comfortable for you is to try them!
I always recommend starting with a #10 tatting thread in a variegated color that is not too dark or too light. If you don't know the difference between tatting thread and other threads, and why it's especially important for beginners, read my post on tatting threads here: https://www.sparrowspite.com/blogs/get-knotty/whats-in-a-thread-really. My personal favorite is Handy Hands Lizbeth threads.
Small embroidery scissors are best because they fit in a small kit easily, and the sharp points make precisely snipping threads after hiding the ends much easier, like these premium gold handled DMC embroidery scissors.
4. Sewing Needles
To finish a piece seamlessly you must sew the ends in with a hand needle. I've found that gold eye embroidery needles are a good choice, as they have a fairly large eye space and a smooth taper. They also generally have a less sharp point (without being completely blunt) versus hand sewing needles meant for sewing cloth, which makes it easier to slide between or around the tatted stitches without piercing the tatting thread, which is crucial to getting those ends through without fighting it so much. These types of needles are usually sold in a multipack of several sizes, too, so there's plenty of options for all the different sizes of thread you may want to use.
While completely optional, it's nice to have a small pouch or container to keep all of your tatting supplies handy in one place. This can be anything from a zippered pouch (such as the kind made for makeup storage), a tackle box, or specialty storage solutions designed for tatting or other small crafts.