Bring your right hand and the wire towards you and around your upright thumb clockwise. Place the point of the wire on the side of the thumb closest to you and go from the base upwards sliding under the thread. Gently pull the needle to the right and the thread slips off the thumb. Note here that a loop, i.e., the first half stitch of thread is around the wire just the same as if the wire were a tatting needle.
Holding the thread in the left hand firmly pull down slightly until the slack is gone from the loop and the thread completely encloses the wire. Slide this loop to the mid point of the wire and hold it in place with the outstretched forefinger.
With the left thumb upright take the wire and move it away from you wrapping the thread around the thumb in a counterclockwise movement. Take the point of the wire and place it at the base of the thumb on the side farthest from you and slide the wire upwards again picking up the loop of thread. Let the thread slip off the thumb. Note here that the thread is again in a loop around the wire, this time in the opposite direction, i.e., the second half stitch.
Holding the thread in the left hand firmly pull down slightly until the slack is gone from the loop and the thread completely encloses the wire. Slide this loop to the mid point of the wire and hold it in place with the outstretched forefinger. You will now see the familiar double stitch of tatting has been wrapped around the wire.
Continue in this manner for two more double stitches. As you tighten the first half stitch of the 4th DS leave a space of thread about 1/2" long. Reach forward with the forefinger to hold this loop in place while the second half stitch is wrapped. When the 4th DS is complete, physically push the DS down next to the first three DS. Note that the space of thread is forced outwards and thus forms a picot. Use picots only if desired. Wrap a length sufficient for the size petal/blossom you want.
You can place DS and picots on the wire as desired, moving down for the length required. When finished, just twist the wire ends together and cover with floral tape. Bend the thread wrapped portions into a leaf or blossom shape.
This is a revised excerpt from Book 6 of the Ribbonwinners Series, "Tatting Talk: A Self-Improvement Guide for Tatters" ©1998. Used by permission of the author, Georgia Seitz.