Wednesday, 28 May 2014


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My thoughts
Love Celtic tatting ?
Need to make Interlocking Rings ?
Can only shuttle-tat ?

I consider myself fortunate that tatters before me have openly shared all their experiences, trials & techniques on the net, so that we do not have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, we can simply read/watch/learn & then pick & adopt whichever technique suits us best !

This is exactly what happened with Interlocking Rings (IRs)
Ever since I laid eyes on Celtic/Irish tatting, I was enamoured by the interweaves & overlaps ! Took me a while to realize that tools & techniques, other than my normal shuttle, were required . Since I am a shuttler, I needed to find tuts/techs that taught how to make IRs using a shuttle, & not needle.

First stop : 
An initial search led me to a step-by-step pictorial by Sue for InterlockingSCMRs using shuttle. I tried very hard but failed – my SCMRs kept “opening up” as soon as I looked away ! Hence, shelved for later, & on with more searching …   

Second stop :
Karen’s video tut on Single Shuttle Interlocking Rings . Finally got the hang of making overlapping rings. However, try as I might, I could still not get that last ring to overlap correctly ! Notice the last ring in adjoining image - Both sides are going under the adjacent rings !

After many trials, some ending in the dustbin, I renewed my internet search.

Third stop : 
Wow ! I found Jon’s write-up & diagram explaining how to get that “pesky” little final ring to overlap correctly. Without Jon’s diagram, I had almost given up.

Armed with these trials, I attempted Frivole’s Rose & Crown motif. This motif was the immediate motivation to advance my learning in the first place!

Attempt 1:
( Anchor size 20 Cadmium Orange 4054-0307 shade )
The IRs overlapped correctly, but there seemed to be a tightness in the center. That called for another attempt.

Attempt 2 :

( Anchor size 20 Purple 4054-0101 ) 
Yay ! I was happy with this trial. Although all tutorials pointed out that each subsequent ring needs to be started without leaving any space, I found that if I left a tiny length (just about 1 mm only) before starting the next ring, it helped to keep the structure even & lie ‘flat’.

Fourth stop :
The above motifs were done a few weeks back & I went on to other things. Suddenly I chanced upon Another tutorial – this one by Kathy. I quickly scanned through the 2-part detailed pictorial &  pinned it for future reference, if necessary.
Then, while working on a free-form bracelet, I made an “error” which caused the ring to twist a bit & also caused the next ring to overlap !!! That reminded me of Kathy’s pictorial & off I went to check it out in depth & put it to practice. Interlocking Rings made with Shuttle part 1  & Interlocking Rings made with Shuttle part 2  

Attempts 3 & 4 :
( Anchor size 20. #3 : Maroon 022 ; #4 : Royal Blue 4054-0133)
I started on the 3rd motif ( Anchor size 20 Maroon 022 ) directly. Kathy’s technique was so very simple & easy to remember !!! And the IRs came out perfectly. I did have to leave the 1mm thread space though.
I was so excited that I started a 4th motif in Royal Blue 4054-0133. Successful again.

Some notes based on my experiences :
Leave a 1 mm, or less, thread space before starting subsequent rings. This works for me.

Karen’s technique:

  • This video opened the door to my shuttle-made IRs.
  • One has to remember to make the loose half stitch before closing each ring. There were numerous occasions when I forgot & had to open up the ring & accommodate that posting of shuttle with half stitch.
  • For the life of me I could Not get that last ring to overlap in same direction. 

Jon's diagram:

  • An extended explanation to Karen's video. Hence, one follows Karen's method but works the last ring based on Jon's diagram & clarification. That diagram is a life-saver if I can be dramatic ;-))

Kathy’s technique:

  • Easiest to follow & apply.
  • One does not have to remember to make half-st & post shuttle before closing each ring - major advantage!
  • One is basically tatting on the ‘wrong side’ & the rings are then kind of ‘flipped’ or rotated to get them in position. But it all comes together beautifully.
  • I agree with her about keeping the starting tail intact. It helps in identifying the 1st ring And its position & overlap of subsequent rings. I had done this through All my attempts.

There is just one drawback to Kathy's method, if I can call it that. One has to unwind the shuttle before starting last ring, & then rewind it again. This can get a bit tiring if one has to make a large number of motifs with IRs.
This can be easily taken care of as follows :.
TIP : Get an idea of the length of thread required to make that one last ring. Unwind this length + a bit extra, & cut the thread. Tat the last ring with this length. (It is up to the tatter if s/he wishes to rewind this length or simply forge ahead without rewinding.) Once the last ring is closed, tie, cut & hide ends.
You still have plenty of thread in the shuttle to start the next set of IRs ! So, basically, one can start with a fully loaded bobbin/shuttle & make many IR motifs before the thread runs out, instead of winding only for each motif.

Motif #3 for 25 Motif Challenge


  1. It's interesting that different techniques suit different people. I love Sue's SCMR way of doing interlocking rings.

    1. That was the reason for this long post, Jane. ALL of the techniques are good but every learner has their individual style & may prefer one over the other.
      I intend to go back to Sue's SCMR method again to see where I was going wrong & how to correct it.
      Thank you for reading through :-)

  2. Your motif looks fabulous!!!! :) Your interlocking rings look wonderful!!! :)

    1. Thank you so much, Sue.
      It was Your tutorial that started that whole process :-) And I am determined to learn your method ... need to see what I am doing wrong with closing the SCMR.

  3. So many ways to do those little interlocking rings. Worth the work, your little mofits are lovely.

    1. Thanks a heap, Bernice :-) Appreciate it.
      Well, Frivole's pattern really is lovely.

  4. Of course, I'm quite delighted that my tutorial helped you accomplish tatting the basic interlocking rings using the shuttle! I love the Rose and Crown motif, and your rings all interweave perfectly!

    I was certainly inspired by those who have also shared their knowledge! As you know, in 2012 I was inspired by the amazing designs of needle tatter Rachel Jackson (Piney Woods Tatter), but didn't know if it was possible to do them with a shuttle. Then I found Karen's video using the shuttle. Frivole and Jon were also practicing these rings, and I was quite envious that they were forging ahead! The last ring, of course, is the tricky one, but with practice it does get easier. I do actually measure the amount if thread needed for the last ring and rewind the shuttle!

    My goal now is to 'do something' with all those basic interlocking ring samples that I have tatted. I have made pendants out of several of them, but many more are waiting to have second and third rounds!

    I also want to learn how to do the amazing Celtic interwoven chains perfected by Rozella Linden and Ruth Perry! I have not yet been successful with those!

    1. Oh Kathy, thank you so much for taking the time to read through & write out your thoughts.
      So far, I find your method to be the Easiest & just as effective as any other. At present, it is undoubtedly my go-to method.

      I, too, have Rozella Linden's Celtic Candy on my to-do list ! The next step in this IR education ;-))

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  6. Wow Muskaan, what a thorough examination of how to make interlocking rings with a shuttle! And a beautiful selection of Rose & Crown motifs in all sorts of colours. I will take a good look at your links (some I had seen and some I hadn't) to find the way that works best for me and I'll let you know my conclusion. All good wishes, Frivole.

    1. Thank you, Frivole :-))
      I chose colors that are close to "royalty", in keeping with the title of your wonderful motif ;-)
      Since posting this, I stumbled upon an 1869 technique of doing IRs. I have added that link, too, in my Tatting Resources page. Here is the full article : I think it is similar to Karen's method ?
      Thanks, again, for stopping by.

  7. What interesting experiences! And great results! :)

  8. Merci beaucoup, Lilas :-)))

  9. So many tatting techniques, so little time! I will be sure to check back whenever I get the chance to try these out. Your blog is a good resource for referencing many of the different techniques out there. Thanks for taking the time to put such detailed posts together!

    1. Robin, thank you so very much for your kind words. These posts are as much a documentation for myself as it is for others .... we learn by sharing :-) . And You are one who shares so completely !

  10. Thank you I too had the same problem with a little soap cover pattern, and enjoy your research thanks hugs from Carollyn!

    1. Carollyn, thank you so much !
      Actually, I can't imagine You having problems with tatting - you are so innovative & creative with all your pieces. I enjoy browsing through all your tatting projects, & eagerly wait for the flower of the month :-)