I learned to shuttle tat years ago, but decided it was just not worth the trouble. But a couple of years ago I read an article by Pamela Quevedo regarding needle tatting, and decided to try it. I find it much simpler than shuttle tatting, and quite enjoyable. Though my skills are far inferior to hers, I have at least reached the point where I can decipher vintage patterns, change the stitch counts for the larger threads I prefer, and even write my own patterns just a little.
Today, the piece I made started as a pattern from a vintage tatting book. I tweaked it for the size thread I wanted to use, and I was pleased that it turned out to be exactly the dimensions I needed for my project! Experienced tatters would find glaring errors, of course, but I think it will suit my purposes just fine. (And yes, I know I need to weave in my ends. I'll get to that.)
If you are interesting in trying needle tatting, I would highly recommend the book Learn Needle Tatting Step by Step by Barbara Foster. If you order the kit, it comes with needles so you can get started right away.