ONLY A few weeks until Christmas, so up thou laggard and hook and shuttle. Shuttle? Sure, the kind to make lace with.

Nothing to it (well, almost), claims the author of "Tatting: A Royal Art Revisited" (By Lael Morgan; Doubleday $5.50). She notes, among some otherwise encouraging instructions, that history's tatters included such as Mme. de Pompadour (who did other things, too) and who lost her gold enameled shuttle with ribbons at the Comedie-Francaise in Paris in 1765. It looks almost easy enough to try, though I think I'llstick with cochet. Even if crochet hooks don't come gold enameled (with or without ribbons). No, we don't know what La Pompadour was doing tatting at the theater. One of history's little mysteries.

The season's plethora of quick (and some not so quick) gift crafts includes the usual assortment of needlepoint designs - some nice American Indian motifs in another Doubleday paperback: "Tribal those needlepoint charts can quickly adapt to crochet or afghan crochet - use bobbins, remember to change colors by drawing new color through last two loops of previous stitch and it's easy. (If using an afghan hook follow charts left to right and then follow the same row right to left as stitches are worked off.With single crochet simply work reverse single crochet on the wrong side - or, if it's easier for you, just end off yarns after each row and start at the beginning. Carry yarns along work in all cases. It's dynamite!)

And of course the ususal scarves, gloves, bags, shawls, stuffed toys and baby and toddler things for the knit and crochet set. Not to mention tree decorations (cotton thread and seed-bead or sequined crochet snowflakes, bells, boots in the Nov. 15 Family Circle.)

Both Family Circle and Woman's Day (Oct. 18) offer the usual gifts to needle, but somehow they seem a tad disappointing this year.

The current McCall's and Ladies Home Journal also offer gifts to make, but again, pretty routine4.

But there is a new, nice batch of afghans (courtesy Spinnerin yarns and Crown publishing) to knit and crochet and, in some cases, crochet and cross-stitch. The book is particularly attractive - bright color plates with stitch details clearly visible.

Also new and useful: "Mosaics in Needlepoint" by Xenia Ley Parker (Charles Scribner's Sons) - tips on translating mosaic designs into needlepoint patterns and some basics. Don't count on finishing this sort of thing by Christmas, but nifty for creative inspiration.