Origin unknown. The noun appears earlier than the verb. Attested since the mid-19th century.
- A form of looped and knotted lace needlework made from a single thread.
- 1888, Mrs. C. E. Barron, “Report of Committees. Class No. 196—Tatting Work”, in Annual Report of the Board of Directors of the Iowa State Agricultural Society, page 234:
- Best and largest collection of tatting work, not less than seven different articles, five dollars; best tatting collar, two dollars; […] best three tatting doylies, two dollars, Mrs. J. M. Junkin, Fairfield.
- The art of making such lace.
- 1915, “Tatting and crocheting”, in Dry Goods Reporter, page 49:
- While crocheting is the most popular feature in art needle work, tatting has now entered the field with such vigor that crocheting does not monopolize the situation.