Here are a few suggestions on opening a closed ring.
2. OK, if you absolutely have to open the ring, go back to the last picot made (if there are no picots on the ring, go back one third of the way and between two double stitches) and slide the double stitches slightly apart so that you can grasp the shuttle core thread, also known as the core thread, foundation thread or the carrying cord, with your shuttle's point, crochet hook or even a hemostat (clamp).
Pull gently on the shuttle core thread until 1/2" - 1" protrudes. Then move back on the ring to the previous picot and pull this slack back; then a third time at the starting point of the ring. Once this small of amount of shuttle thread is pulled through backwards, you can grasp it and pull it in the normal fashion to enlarge the ring.
3. Don't be tempted to try to wiggle the last stitch tatted loose and "untat" from there. This usually results in the last one or two half stitches slipping out of position and locking up completely. It also results in the thread breaking when you pull too strongly on it.
4. If you are very brave and experienced with the use of the hemostat (clamp) you can actually go back to the start of the ring and pull the shuttle thread backwards through the ring. You must, however, hold your tongue just so and not breathe during this process.
Remember that every time you reopen a closed ring you are destroying the tensile strength of the thread. It is so easy to add on new threads and to tat over the tails or otherwise hide them that you really should not waste much time trying to reopen rings.
The Dread Tatting Disease "Gapsosis"
Gapsosis refers to a small piece of ball thread (or Shuttle 2 thread)which is inadvertently allowed to show or gap at the base of a ring; this distorts the pattern. To prevent gapsosis, fold the ring back across the chain just prior to beginning the next chain. Tat 1 or 2 DS pulling the first HS up very tightly. Unfold ring and return it to the normal position. Continue to chain.
It may also help to pivot (roll the wrist holding the ring away from you) the work slightly until the DS are seated up close. This does take practice. If nothing else helps, start the chain with an extra HS which will use up the space. Then continue to chain as normal.
Ed's note: This is an excerpt from Book 6 of the Ribbonwinners Series, "Tatting Talk - A Self-Improvment Course for Tatters". Used with premission of the author, Georgia Seitz.