Thursday, August 9, 2012

Shuttles, Buttons and Petals

On to learning the shuttle! 

I've learned the skills of using the needle for tatting lace.  I've learned the double-stitch, how to form consistent picots, make joins, and I've tried writing patterns.  I feel like I'm finally ready to try the shuttle again.

After a lesson with a wonderful teacher, Denise K., a member of the Great Lakes Lace Group, Inc., I felt confident enough to work on my own.  Using the shuttle, I finally learned all the lessons (mistakes) one can make while learning to tat rings and chains with two shuttles and two colors.  It's time to move on to an actual project.

Top to Bottom:  First to last set of mistakes. 
I tried different threads and different shuttles
and learned a lot!

I was working from a YouTube video for the idea of adding buttons to tatted lace and a pattern that someone wrote for a piece she created and shared with us on our international NewShuttlesAndNeedles YahooGroup.  I took both the video and the pattern and adapted it for a two-hole button, instead of a four-hole button.  The pattern called for eight rings and chains.  My button is in the shape of a five-petal flower so I modified the pattern to have seven rings and seven chains. In design, odd numbers of items are more appealing to the eye, so I kept to the design rule and used an odd number.  It seems to be the right choice for this motif.

My First Shuttle Tatting Projects

For the first attempt (my prototype of sorts), I was concentrating so hard on the actual act of joining that I accidentally joined to the wrong picot! Oops. I didn't discover this until three rings and three chains were already done. Oh well, this was a practice piece so I kept going.  Following along with the video (see link above) I used a picot gauge as she suggested in the video to make the large picot for joining to the button.  However, I discovered too late that the picot was actually a bit too small and so made the motif turn out oval-shaped instead of round.  I was almost done with the "prototype" when I realized I had not joined the last ring on both sides, which brings the piece into a closed circle. Gently, I tried to pull it out.... no luck!  Cut bait!  Start over!!!  I'm so glad I did. Another lesson learned.

First Attempt, Second Attempt

Now I have to learn how to properly secure and hide the tails at the start and at the closing.  I found trying to learn everything at once is way too overwhelming.  I'm perfectly fine with how the motif turned out at this point!  The next one -- I have two more buttons to play with -- will have the tails worked in at the start using the "knotless method" where you tat over the tail to incorporate it into the first ring.  It takes a certain amount of dexterity and I'm using my right, non-dominant, hand to learn this techinique.  It's definitely an exercise for teaching yourself muscle control.  Wish me luck!


  1. I love the one with the flower button. I'm looking forward to some time when I can learn to do button tatting.

  2. You can be proud of what you have tatted! In my book, tatting demands dexterity from both hands. If you are a lefty, you have an advantage! Your left hand won't trip up your right hand near as much as mine does :)
    Keep up your work! Post your success! Keep all your attempts. It is a wonderful boost to me to review how far I've come when I get a bit frustrated. I'll look forward to your next success!