Tatting is an art form that takes a bit more ambition in order to make tatted lace. I believe that is the only drawback to tatting is it takes so much practice and skill to make the simplest of designs. The benefits are many but the novice has to be willing to put in the time.
First: One must learn how to transfer the hitches that comprise the main double knot. If the hitches do not transfer then you are not tatting. Tatting relies on NO implement in order to achieve making the lace. Shuttles are just tools to store excess thread and beads. No more or less. Too much emphases has always been placed on shuttles and usually by those who sell or make them. All you need to tat is a good cord or thread and your fingers. One can wrap their excess thread on anything even a piece of folded paper.
Second: One must learn how to tat a ring. Practice, practice, and then practice again until you can tat a ring of double knots and then close that ring with no troubles.
Third: Learning how to insert picots. Size does matter!
Fourth: Learning how to join picots. How to join the last picot to the first without making a twisted mess, or not being able to close the ring.
Fifth: Learning to tat/knot a chain.
Sixth: Learning to tat rings and chains with consistency.
Next step, and for me the hardest, is following a pattern. Ugh, some of those older antique patterns are written so poorly, condensed, and in just one paragraph. I'd get lost and eventually would have to re-write the pattern in a line-by-line format so I could read it.
That condensed style of paragraph pattern script is attributed to publication space allotted, so many patterns were written in some strange formula that rarely made sense to me.
When first starting to duplicate patterns, pick a pattern that is at your skill level. If you think that you will achieve perfection the first time you tat a pattern, think again. I rarely have had a piece of lace tat perfectly the first go round. In many instances, I have tatted many examples. I just do not show my failures, but I do have them!
Small pieces are better than large. Designs that have motifs added to comprise a large piece are also good for the novice tatter. Of course, when you have many, many threads to rework into the lace, you may not think those patterns are so great.
One of my difficulties was finishing the tatted lace. Ugh, all those ends to pull back into finished knots. If you do not pull the thread end far enough back into the lace, then the end will work itself loose and the finishing square knot will come un-knotted and your lace falls apart. What? Yes, that has happened to me.
Start small. Keep working at it and learn new techniques along the way. Tatting is not about how fast one can manipulate knots. It is not a parlor trick. It is an art form and should be respected as such.
Good luck on your journey into tatted lace. I have enjoyed my 25 years of tatting. tatbit
TATBiT is a nickname I have had since I began tatting. My BIL would call me TAD-bit after my first three initials. My niece, when young, called me and Ollie: Aunt and Uncle TATBiT. ;)