Cover Image Property of PUBLISHER
This image was scanned from my private collection


  • Explanation of Terms
  • Couvrette No. 1 - Spanish Point Pattern
  • Beautiful Diamond Quartre-foil Couvrette No. 2
  • Beautiful Star Pattern Couvrette No. 3
  • Beautiful Doiley
  • Edging No. 1
  • Very Pretty Edging No. 2
  • Edging No. 3
  • Scallop Edging No. 4
  • Edging No. 5
  • Very Pretty Insertion
  • Simple and Pretty Braid

Title: Tatting, or Frivolité
Author/Designer: Mrs. Cornelia Mee(1815 - 1875), Miss Mary Austin(born 1825)
Format/Publication Date: TPB:1862
Publisher: Frederick Arnold, London, UK
Language: English
Page Count: 28
Book Dimensions(ht. x w.): 4 1/4" x 6"
ISBN: None

SUMMARY- The reprint I had was missing nearly half its pages, including the page with a date on it. My apologies for having pinned it at 1850 instead of the more tentative 1862(there's an advertisement that includes the 1862 prize medal from the London Exhibition to Walter Evans & Co.'s "Strong and most superior thread"). Thank you to Martha Ess for providing a great looking pdf of the entire book to the Antique Pattern Library! I'm so glad she did. The dated page wasn't the only interesting thing missing from the original photocopy I had. In her introduction, Mrs. Mee rather tartly pointed out "...I mention this, as I have heard that a claim has been made by some one lately, to have invented the work, which certainly has been known as Knotting or Tatting, for more than a century." I've got to wonder if this was Mlle. Riego she was referring to...

She goes on in her introduction to assert, "My plan of forming the work from the reel or skein, and only making the foundation from the shuttle, is original, as are all my patterns; and I offer it with confidence, believing that many who have never before attempted it, will be induced to learn. In most of the patterns, the old plan of drawing up the loop from the work formed round the fingers, is altogether done away with; and this has been the great difficulty with many. The patterns are entirely different to anything before published, and I trust will meet with general approval;..." And so what I thought were descriptions of the modern join are actually instructions for making mock rings! Judith Connor has done a great write-up about the authors on in the Craftpedia section under authors history. Judith's even tatted a sample of the first pattern to show with her article. I recommend reading this, and if you haven't joined Craftree, I recommend them too. I've been able to add the Table of Contents(see below the cover scan). All the illustrations are in the back half of the book instead of with the instructions, so some flipping back and forth has to be done which I find annoying. Mrs. Mee is credited with advocating the use of the ball as a continuous thread instead of having to refill a second shuttle for the auxilliary thread, and may predate Mlle. Riego on introducing the chain. That hasn't been settled yet. What has been definitively settled is her advocacy of the continuous thread method. Mrs. Mee also describes creating picots with only a half stitch between them by working them over a "tatting pin", which came in different sizes. Martha Ess wrote a fantastic article on Mrs. Mee's picots: .

According to a consultant for the IOLI Lace Museum, Mrs. Mee was married to a German wool warehouseman, one Charles Mee, who published the sisters' books, and in return was given glowing recommendations for his quality threads. Mary Austin, the younger sister, worked as a sales girl in the warehouse and collaborated with Mrs. Mee on a line of books(see the list below).

The sisters published other works which were advertised right before the illustrations were given:
The Manual of Needlework
Crochet Explained and Illustrated
the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Series of Crochet & Tricoter
The Manual of Knitting, 1st and 2nd Series
The Knitter's Companion, 1st and 2nd Series
Novelties in Crochet
The Queen's Winter Knitting Book, being a 3rd Series of the Knitter's Companion

This is an intriguing book and clearly worthy of study for historical context. If you have one of the incomplete reprints that are floating around, I strongly urge you to get the complete version from , It's a lot less confusing!