Building good tension
This is an exercise to aid the beginning tatter in developing good tension disguised as two craft projects.
Encourage the new tatter to produce 15-20 tatted rings, either in a string or separately trimmed off. If rings were made in a string, wrap them around dowel or pencil and push off end gathering the bare shuttle thread together. Or, just gather the rings into small groups and wrap with floral wire and cover with floral tape. Add artificial leaves, netting, and ribbons for instant corsage.
Encourage the new tatter to use up scrap ends of thread by tatting the thread off the shuttle instead of winding it off. Begin by tatting 10 rings of 20 DS then 10 of 18 DS and then gradually decrease the size. You may make the rings plain or add picots to them for a fluffy look. Start stitching the rings down in a spiral fashion with the largest rings on the outside. The next layer of rings should overlap the previous rings. Place the new ring in between two rings from the previous row. In this floral design, the center of the flower has 2-3 colors done in tiny rings. These are gathered together and stitched into the center of the cloth. Add green "leaves" to either end or tucked in at random. This is a good time to teach the new tatter to tat a cloverleaf motif and baste it down as well.
A more elaborate flower may be tatted, still using just one shuttle, by grouping the individual flower rings into small groups like this triangle. Make several and stitch as above. Decrease the size of the group as you continue to fill in the flower area. Greenery can be added, again with only one shuttle, by attaching the green thread to the base of a flower bundle. Pull out a small length of the thread and make a tiny ring. Wrap ds onto the bare thread and work back toward the flower bundle. Additional tiny rings or Josephine rings for leaves may be randomly added.