Using Wire in Tatting

Using Wire in Tatting

There are at least three ways to utilize wire in tatting. Copper wire can be wound directly onto a shuttle and used to tat. The shuttle used could be an AERO style with removable bobbin and hook on the point for joins or even a plastic Clover shuttle with the sharp pointed tip and blades that allow the smooth passage of the wire. Hiding ends with the copper wire is easy, too. Just tuck in the ends hiding them within lace wire fabric. The designs in lace are often slightly compressed to aid in holding their shape. Copper wire also comes in a variety of colors and sizes. Size 28 - 34 gauge wire is very good for tatting with wire. Beads can also be placed directly onto the wire in the same manner as placing beads on thread. Beads can be added over joins also. The tatter must learn to manipulate the wire smoothly and to avoid kinks in it.

round lace motif tatted with copper wire

Floral wire or jewelry wire can also be covered with thread using the split ring wrapping method as detailed below in the article "Applying Needle Tatting or Split Ring Wrapping to Floral Wire."

a heart decoration with net and thread wrapped onto floral wire needle tatting style

Additionally, tatted lace pieces can be stiffened with wire on the edges as in this iris by the late Sieglinde Grigat. Here after the tatting is complete, a thin wire is inserted along the edges of the block which allows the petal or leaf to shaped and to be bundled together afterwards.

iris in block style tatting with wire on the edges
iris in block tatting

All of these can be excellent projects for tatters. Floral wreaths and corsages and other decorations can be made from any thread or yarn. The finished project will also need corsage leaves, netting, ribbons and beads etc. Simple chain stitch wrapped on the wire allows the tatter to fold the wire around cookie cutter shapes, too. It bends easily into shape for holiday ornaments. Use the basic needle tatting technique to wrap yarn/thread on the floral wire: The following is a revised excerpt from Book 6 of the Ribbonwinners Series, "Tatting Talk: A Self-Improvement Guide for Tatters". Used by permission of the author, Georgia Seitz copyright 1998. Take the tail of the thread and bring it up to the middle of the wire.

detail of heart Place the tail end under the thumb. The thumb is the pinching point.

Position the left hand with the thumb sticking up and the four fingers slightly curved inward and around the left hand side of the thread loop formed above. Take the thread as it comes up and over the forefinger of the left hand and stretch it taut between there and the pinching point.

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.

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.

You can place DS and picots on the wire as desired, moving down for the length required. When finished, just bend the wire together and wrap bare wire ends with floral tape. Bend the thread wrapped portion into a leaf of blossom shape.

Shuttle Tatters should apply the split ring wrapping technique to the floral wire in the suggested projects.

You Should Also Read:
Tatting vs Wrapping

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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.