Cro-Tat (Crochet Tatting)


The topic of this page is cro-tatting or crochet tatting, whereby lace is formed using threads and a unique crochet hook having a long slender shank and a small, compact head.

The Art of Tatting

Before discussing this type of tatting, it is important to tell you about tatting in general.

Tatting is a technique used to create a very strong lace using knots and loops. The lace is formed by using a series of cow hitch or half-hitch knots called double stitches to form a pattern of chains and rings.

The tatter can leave gaps between the stitches to form openings called picots. The picots make the lace very decorative and help to stabilize the finished piece.

This lace can be used as edging as well as to create doilies, collars, earrings, necklaces.

A demonstration of needle tatting, a technique to produce a type of knotted lace. A #5 sized tatting needle is pictured being used with white DMC 80 mercerized cotton tatting thread.A demonstration of needle tatting, a technique to produce a type of knotted lace.
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Resized to 600px wide.

When I was married, I was given a set of pillowcases from my grandmother that she had edged with tatting. They are so beautiful and very special to me. I’m still afraid to use them!

There are three methods of tatting. The earliest method was shuttle tatting, whereby threads wrapped on shuttles were tied in knots around another piece of thread.

Another method of tatting is needle tatting. With needle tatting, the knots or stitches are worked onto the needle, and then more thread is pulled through those knots.

The Basics of Cro-tatting

The third type of tatting is cro-tat. This tatting is made using a special crochet hook.  This hook is smaller than a traditional crochet hook, which makes it easier for the hook to move through the stitches that have been crocheted onto the crochet hook shank.

This is a very versatile and simple method of tatting for some.  Cro-tat is different from other forms discussed, combining both the flexibility of crochet and the ease of using a crochet hook to create beautiful lace.

You may think this is a new technique, but directions for “Tatting with a Crochet Hook” can be found in a 1869 Godey’s Lady Book.

Use small hooks and thread for lacy edgings, earrings, necklaces, collars and doilies. You can use larger hooks and yarn to make things to wear.

The technique is surprisingly simple if you have knowledge of crochet. However, some people may find that cro-tatting is more difficult for them than crochet work or needle tatting.

I have heard tatting instructors who have suggested using a tatting needle and a crochet hook when working on a cro-tatting pattern.

The stitches of cro-tatting unravel more easily than shuttle or needle tatting

The thread that I have found best for tatting is a strong thread that does not unravel easily. Cordonnet is the type of thread that I prefer.

Perl cotton is beautiful, but I find it to be too loose for tatting.You will find that some modern tatting patterns may also make use of ribbons, beads, or other additions.

If you enjoy crochet, give cro-tat a try. You’ll find that you can construct something totally unique and very different from your traditional crochet work.

We have some FREE cro-tat patterns here!

Cro-Tat (Crochet Tatting)

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Cro-tat history and information. Rainbow Valley

Cro-Tatting Hook

If you have trouble finding a cro-tat hook, you can use a bullion crochet hook or a long, very straight crochet hook.

How to Crotat (Part 1)

A video tutorial that shows how to put the stitches on the hook - a double stitch and a picot. Video by Rainbow Valley Crochet. YouTube

How to Crotat (Part 2)

This video by Rainbow Valley Crochet will show and explain how to take the stitches off the hook. YouTube

Picots - Joining Picot

A joining picot is used to join two rings together when you want them held in a certain place. Learn how here. Rainbow Valley

Projects - Free Cro-Tat Projects

Free cro-tat project links at

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