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Basics of Beaded Tatting



Beads are added to tatting using two basic methods.

1. Beads are threaded onto the shuttle and/or ball threads and brought into postition as the double stitches are formed. (See the three gold beads on one picot in the scan.)

2. Beads are added to previous segments of tatting during joining. (See the red bead over the picot in the scan.)

If you want to have beads on the rings, the beads must be threaded onto the shuttle thread as the thread is wound onto the shuttle. If working with a particular color sequence or pattern of beads, the beads must be threaded on in the reverse order of working, i.e., the first bead needed is the last bead to be threaded.

If you want to have beads on the chains, the beads must be threaded on the ball thread or shuttle 2 before starting.

If you want beads on both the rings and the chains, thread the beads needed for the chains first, mark with pin or paperclip, then the beads needed for the rings. Next wind the thread onto the shuttle moving the beads into position as you wind.

To determine how many beads per yard of thread are needed, do a test ring with a measured length of thread, i.e. half a yard. Measure the leftover thread, i.e., 8 inches. So every 10 inches of thread wound should have the proper number of beads for a ring.

When winding the shuttle with threaded beads, it is best to "walk" the thread onto the shuttle.



Since the ball thread draws inside the line of beads, no measurement is necessary.

Needle tatters will place beads on the ball thread and draw through them to wrap the DS onto the needle. Beads to be placed over a picot during a join needed not be threaded but brought into play individually as needed.

Before commencing the ring, move the required number of beads up the shuttle thread and into postion slightly behind the middle finger of the working hand. The beads dangle back there until needed. As the picot is made, move bead(s) into position and complete picot.

- picot may be snugged up so that the bead is tightly held between two DS, or,
- picot may be made normal size so that the bead dangles from the tip, or,
- multiple beads may be placed on one picot:
-a group of three, five or seven, seed beads will form a point or flowerlike grouping

If the picot with beads is to be used later for joining, make sure that the picot is large enough to accomodate join. And pay attention to spacing, don't place three beads on a picot to be used in only one join. Two joins into one picot would accomodate three beads, etc.

There are 4 beads on each picot of the center ring of the sunflower. The subsequent round joins to each picot with a ring. The join is made between the second and third beads so that two beads line up on each side of the join. (The sunflower above is a collar motif in "Practical Tatting" by Phyllis Sparks.)


For more info on beaded tatting see:

Rebecca Jones, "The Complete Book of Tatting"
Judith Conners, "Beads in Tatting"
Rosemarie Peel, "Tatting with Beads"






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Content copyright © 2014 by Georgia Seitz. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Georgia Seitz. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Georgia Seitz for details.

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