Saturday, June 29, 2013

Struggling With the Shuttle...Day 3 (Also Motif #15)

In case you are wondering, no, this blogging thing is not really going to become a daily husband has been out of the country all week at a training for his job, and I've had a lot of time on my hands. I don't sleep very well when he's gone, but he comes back tomorrow, so hopefully I won't be doing any more late night blogging!

During a random Internet troll other day I found a blog whose author says she tries to do a little practice tatting every day...I doubt I get to do it every day, but it seems like a good idea so I'm going to try it out.

It will also be fun to switch back and forth between the needle and the shuttle, see how long it takes me to make motifs using each style, see how similar or different they are, etc...

Anyway, today I started out just practicing the ring and chain, ring and chain until I ran out of shuttle thread.

Maureen gave me a great tip about starting each chain with the second half of a stitch which has really helped me get rid of those pesky holes from yesterday. I initially was a little worried what that would do to the stitch count on the pattern, but then realized that doing that was basically the same thing as when I "tie down" the ends after reverse-working when I needle tat, and didn't worry about it anymore.

 After reloading the shuttle I decided I might as well try to make an actual motif. I had a few fits and starts with it (I got about halfway through one try when my shuttle thread ran out again) but I finally managed to make my second-ever shuttle tatted motif, the "Small Rosette" from Easy Tatting by Rozella F. Linden (chosen purposefully for the "easy" in the title).
Motif #15! Halfway to 30!
It's not pretty, but it's better than my first ever shuttle tatted motif, this gem from last summer:
Either way, I still seem to be having picot problems. When I needle tat, I can see the picots on the needle, so I can usually tell by sight if they're not the same size.

With the shuttle, the picots are hidden under your thumb when you're making them, so it's impossible to see if they are the right size (unless you are Superman, which I am not). If I keep up with this shuttle tatting thing, I can tell I'm going to need this:
I bought this in Honduras, of all places, and never have actually used it.
While I was going through my tub-o-tatting stuff (my way of trying to keep my various tatting paraphernalia from taking over our apartment) to get out the measuring gauge I realized that, for an until-now all-needle-all-the-time tatter, I have a remarkably decent shuttle collection. 
Of course, you should see how many needles I have! I'd guesstimate I have at least 6 needles for every shuttle...there are many different sized needles, you know, for size 80 thread all the way up to heavy yarns.
Believe it or not, the progression below (front to back) is how I obtained the shuttles, which might be another clue why the shuttle hasn't caught on with me until now...
White bobbin bought in Des Moines, silver "lanzadera" from Honduras, and the green Clover was from last years' Iowa State Fair...I need to find a челнок (pron. chel-nook) before I move away from Russia!
 From what I've been reading, using a shuttle with a bobbin isn't the easiest way to start, although in my left to right switch it would have been nice to have just been able to pop out and reverse the bobbin instead of having to completely unload the plastic Clovers (the blue one with the scotch tape is still wrapped for a leftie so I can remember how not to do it--I'm a visual learner).

So with another motif under my belt, now my main problems seem to be the picot sizing and how to hide the ends. With the needle, hiding the ends is easy, you just run the needle back under the thread and you're done. I think I'm going to use an embroidery needle (big eye) with my shuttled motifs...unless someone out there has a better suggestion?? :)



  1. For sewing in the ends try a self threading needle. That's what I've found easiest. I can actually see a huge improvement in your shuttle tatting. The stitches are getting tighter and crisper on each new motif. You're winning, gal, you're winning!!!

    1. Thanks, Jane ! And thanks for the suggestion on the self-threading needles. After a trial with the regular needles I put in my Amazon order for the self threaders this evening!

  2. For measuring your picots, check out this video on Youtube: She is making a rather large picot in that video. I use a toothpick or other small, round object to wrap my thread around so that all the picots come out the same size. I have a blog post about it here: About tatting everyday, I do try to make a point to tat daily. Especially at the beginning you need to develop those muscles in your hands. Good luck and keep up the good work. Your rings and chains look great.

    1. Thank you so much for all the advice! And you are right about developing the muscles...I can't believe how some of my fingers are aching! It is getting slightly easier, though!

  3. It's one of those things that comes with practice, Fox had a good idea she marked her finger with two dots, so as she tatted she could measure the size of the picots with the dots, You will find the post somewhere on tat-logic, I am sure it was last year or end of the previous year. I have one of those measuring guilds very seldom use it unless the picot have to be very large, it's a great item to keep.
    Your picots will get more even with practice.

    1. Yes I can see where the tatting gauge will be more trouble than it's worth...the reminder about Fox's post was very helpful! Thanks! :)

  4. Great job on your shuttle tatted motif!! :)

    1. Thank you! :) By the way, you won my "what is it" game from a long time ago! If you send me your address I will send you your present from Russia! :)