Tatting Tricks I learned the hard way
Yes! Once upon a time, I was a new tatter and there were many, many mysteries of tatting for me to explore. It was like entering Aladdin's cave and being dazzled by all the colors of thread, the many beautiful shuttles, and jewels. Jewels, beads, baubles, dangly thingies, chains, and charms.
And then I discovered tatting books. Real books. Hardbound books. No longer limited to old patterns on yellowed newsprint, but glossy slick paper to delight both hand and eyes. I learned early about the Workbasket, Old Time Crochet, Needlecraft magazines and later was so surprised to discover the ANNA Burda magazine with the May issue of lace. And that there were more patterns in languages other than my familiar English.
But in all these marvelous publications there was no hint about some basic movements in tatting. I remember so well, learning the hard way that just because those directions say wind shuttle and cut the thread, that isn't actually the best way to do it. Those vintage patterns so often directed us to do that very thing. But doing so created an extra set of tails to hide.
So I learned to wind the number of shuttles needed BUT not cut the last one loose. Simply begin tatting at a point between the shuttle and ball.
And about the thread tails...The best way to hide your thread ends is to avoid them. This means that you should begin to "think" the pattern through before you tat it. Thinking ahead allows you to employ two shuttles to both add to the design by "throwing off" rings, to wind your shuttles in the continuous thread method (CTM)by winding the first shuttle and then rolling off enough thread to wind the second shuttle from the opposite end, and to utilize the split ring, split chain, and mock picot to climb out of rounds.
But another hard lesson to learn is to place your beads on the shuttle thread BEFORE you get them all wound up and ready to go. Like I did this morning. After 40 years of tatting, I forgot such a simple thing. It is lucky that I have learned to place beads on picots DURING the tatting of a ring or chain.
And now I have relearned to read the pattern through before beginning to wind. Ah well, none of us a perfect.
Wishing you hours of knot free tatting!
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