Tips on Tatting Techniques

  • What I have found that works for me, when reading a detailed pattern written in shorthand, is the following: Make a photocopy, then "laminate" it with clear Contact Paper. To keep my place, I use a water-soluble pen (from the fabric store), and mark the completed section with a " )". No more "was that eleven or twelve picots seperated by 2 ds on which ring?" When I've finished, I can wipe the pattern with a lightly damp cloth, and store and re-use this favorite pattern. (Tip courtesy of Liz A.)

  • A "trick" I discovered early in my tatting career is to tie firmly a ten- to twelve-inch length of colored thread around the spindle of my tatting shuttle so that when I need to rewind, all I have to do is tie my thread onto the starter thread and wind away. I like the Boye plastc shuttles best and they have a hole in the spindle to tie onto. (Tip courtesy of Helen C.)

  • This is a fairly simple tip, but I found it very handy when I was away from my thread stash, ran out on my shuttle bobbin, and wanted to refill without cutting the ball thread.

    If you are tatting with size 30 thread or larger, carefully crush the cardboard core of your ball of thread. It starts out "O" shaped -- you want to crush it to a crescent shape. With very stout scissors (embroidery scissors will break), cut the core, taking care not to cut any of the thread. To remove the cardboard from the center, roll it into a coil and draw it out. Now it is fairly easy to find the inside end of the thread and fill your shuttle from that. Tie a bit of bright-colored thread to that end after the shuttle is full so you don't lose it when you want it again. Store thread from which you have removed the core in a plastic bag, because it is more prone to tangling than thread on the core. I don't recommend doing this with finer thread, having found that it is also too easy to tangle when off the core. Size 10, 20, and 30 are fine this way, and a zip-top baggie of thread with no core will fit into a small tatting bag. (Tip courtesy of Lynn C.)

  • When working with tiny thread put a piece of fabric that contrasts with the color of thread you are using on your lap. This helps you to be able to see the stitches better. I have a piece of black and a piece of white fabric for this purpose. (Tip courtesy of Debbie.)

  • There are times when my thread runs out before I'm finished something, but there is enough string left to finish the object, and would be a waste to wrap more on the shuttle or bobbin. I've learned to tat without a shuttle at all. Just pretend you are holding a shuttle in your hand. Silly I know, but there it is. All is needed is a piece of thread and of course a small hook if you want to join it to something. (Tip courtesy of Georgette.)

  • When doing a project which requires a lot of motifs to be done, you can figure out how much thread you need for each motif and help eliminate some wasted thread.

    In order to figure out the length of thread needed, put a *measured* length of thread on your shuttle. I measure by arm stretches. My arms, fingertip to fingertip, are 5 feet, so I measure in these lengths and it gives me the foot length. If using two shuttles do the same for the second shuttle.

    Then do the motif. When finished, cut off the shuttle(s) and measure the remaining thread. Subtract the two amounts, and you have the length of thread used in the motif. So the next time you do the motif, you can wind the exact amount you need (plus a bit for safety) onto your shuttle and not waste any thread! (Tip courtesy of Lori L.)

  • One thing that I have found handy is to make a photocopy and the use a highlighting marker to highlight every other thing that you will be doing. You can even use a second color for special notes or for a second shuttle. I find this very handy as I take my tatting everywhere I go and it is easier to stop and go over and over again. And, by using a photocopy, your books don't end up all torn up.(Tip courtesy of Kim B.)

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