This section is from the "The Ladies' Work-Table Book: Domestic Needlework in Nineteenth-Century America" book, by Margaret Vincent. Also available from Amazon: The Ladies' Work Table: Domestic Needlework in Nineteenth-Century America.
Take you tatting needle, and, having threaded it with the appropriate material make a knot at the end. In order to make the loops, put the knot just made on the fore finger of the left hand, and form also a loop round the second, third and fourth fingers, extending them for that purpose. These loops are made by carrying the thread round the back of them, bringing it to the fore finger again, so as to pass over the knot. In this position they must be held tightly down by the pressure of the thumb. You will observe that the thumb and fore finger are never to be moved while you form the scollop, but you are to bring the needle and thread toward you in a straight direction from the fore finger and thumb, between the second and third fingers: the needle is then to be inserted from behind the finger loop, up through the middle, between the thread which is on the needle, and the thread round the fingers. You must be careful to have the thread (on the needle) between you and the needle, after you have drawn it through. From the right hand to the left the needle must be extended as tight as possible, leaving loose the loop which is round the finger as you make the stitch with the loop, and not with that portion of the thread which is next the needle. You are to withdraw the second finger, and allow the loop round the fingers to form round the thread. The fingers are then to be again inserted, and form the stitch with the second finger by drawing it up to its proper place, close to the thumb. This will finish the stitch. For the next, cast the thread over the back part of the hand, instead of bringing it to you as in the former stitch, and let the needle be inserted down through the finger loop, between the first and second fingers; then draw it up through between the two threads over the back part of the fingers, and form the stitch with the second one, as in the previous stitch. You work the third stitch the same as the first, only longer, that it may form a long loop. Repeat the second stitch, then the long loop ; and thus proceed until you have seven loops : after this, the thread is to be drawn up, so as to form the scollop.
The material for this kind of work is bobbin, such as is generally used for children's caps. You have only to work six scollops and draw them up close, so as to form a star. When made with precision and regularity, they present a neat appearance. Star tatting is well adapted for trimmings to a great many articles of apparel and ornament.
Make the loops, and work the first stitch as in the first pattern ; then work twenty stitches the same way to form the scollop. When it is finished, you must draw up the thread tight, and then commence another.
If it has been properly done, the scollop will draw freely.