Thursday, 26 June 2014

Interlaced Rings - I

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Tatting Tutorial
Part 1 : Over & Under Rings : Front to Back Shuttle Movement

Judith Connors shared a beautiful Interlaced Rings Braid in a thread she had started on InTatters : Reverse Stitch.
The photograph revealed a braid consisting of 2 columns of  interlinked split rings.
All She revealed was that it was made using 4 shuttles ! Yup, that was our only clue .

I have been trying out Interlocking Rings using shuttles . So I jumped right in, in order to assess how much I had learned, how much I could apply, how much I could transfer, … 
I did not refer to any tutorial this time ( a self-imposed challenge).

What started out as personal memory aid to refer back to in future, has now been converted into a tutorial that I'd like to share with you in the hopes that it may help some new tatters. If there are already some tutorials out there, I’d be happy to include the link(s) in my Resources page. Please leave a comment with any details you may have. 

A Brief Note :
Firstly, when asked about designer & credits, Judith wrote : “They were illustrated in four colours (one for each shuttle) in the mid-1990s in an IOLI Bulletin. It is an advanced braid which anyone could devise, so there is really no designer to credit.”

Secondly, there are 2 ways the rings can overlap:
Each ring in Column 2 can go over & under the corresponding ring in Column 1 (Front to Back movement of shuttle #3).
Each ring in Column 2 can go under & over the corresponding ring in Column 1 (Back to Front movement of shuttle #3).

Thirdly, the major part of the tatting process remains the same; it is only while interlacing, that either of the 2 movements mentioned above, come into the picture. And this one step determines how the rings will lie in relation to each other.
And there is no right or wrong side in the braid; it is reversible – the relative overlap direction remains the same from both views. (Compare Figs. 7 & 8 below)

To avoid confusion, I am posting the tutorial in 2 parts, each part tackling one overlap direction.

Common Details :
Thread used : Anchor Mercer Cotton size 20.
Lemon Yellow – 4054-0293  &  Mehandi Green – 4054-0256
Length of braid : 13 pair repeats = 5 inches.
It took less than half a bobbin of each shuttle to tat this length. So fully wound shuttles should give you a length of anywhere from 12-15 inches.
Abbreviations used :
CTM – continuous thread method
Sh – shuttle. Each shuttle is numbered from 1 to 4 : Sh1, Sh2 form one pair ; Sh3 & Sh4 form 2nd pair.
SR – Split Ring
RS – Reverse stitch (used in some pictures to indicate 2nd half of split ring stitches)
DNCR – Do not close ring.

Directions/Preparations :
Start with 4 shuttles & wind threads :
1st pair - Sh1 & Sh2 : Wind yellow thread CTM
2nd pair – Sh3 & Sh4 : Wind green thread CTM
Each Split Ring : 9/9
Update : Step-by-step tutorial on how to make the 1st pair of Interlaced rings is here.

1. Make Split Ring (9/9) with 1st pair of shuttles (Sh1 & Sh2) in yellow thread, but Do Not Close Ring (DNCR) !
It is through this unclosed loop that the adjoining SR will be interlaced.

2. Pass Sh3 through the unclosed yellow ring from front to back. Fig. 1.

3. Wrap this Sh3 thread to start the green split ring & tat SR2. Figs 2, 3, & 4 show the SR2 being completed. 

4. Both rings now have their complete count of ds, but before starting to close, Pass the Sh3 through SR1 from front to back again !  Fig. 5 
This is an important step as explained & shown at the end *

5. Now close both rings. Pull on Sh 1 to close SR1, the yellow ring; and pull on Sh3 to close SR2, the green ring.  Figs 6 & 7.

Fig. 7 : Notice that both pairs of shuttle threads are in opposite directions from each other : both the yellow threads are in front (above), while both the green threads are at the back (behind).

Continue in similar fashion, starting with SR1, for as long as you would like the braid. 

*  Step #4 : This is an important step because you want both Sh3 & Sh4 threads to lay side by side together. If one forgets to pass the shuttle a second time, then the Sh3 & Sh4 threads will lie in opposite directions, as seen in image below, & will interfere when making the next green SR. (I made this mistake on my very first attempt & had to unwind Sh3, manually pull that long thread through the ring front to back, & then rewind again).

TIPS : Working with 4 shuttles 
Working with 4 shuttles can be quite fiddly with tangled threads to track !
I find that laying the 3 unused shuttles in proper sequence, on a flat surface such as table top or bed, keeps the threads untangled & also helps maintain even tension while working. Simply pull out a comfortable length of thread from the 3 ‘non-working’ shuttles so that they lie separately on the table, without getting in the way of tatting.
Judith has another useful tip : To save the shuttles tangling, use a piece of BlueTak (modelling clay) to stick the unused shuttles together. Then swap it over as you change shuttles.

TIPS : Applications of Interlaced Rings Braid
There are loads of possibilities for Interlaced Split Rings.
* Edgings, Bracelets, Braids, etc.
* Use single color, 2 colors, 3 colors, 4 colors for variety
* Placement of colors can alter the look & focus of the pattern. eg. Sh1 & Sh4 with same color while the 2 center shuttles are of a different color. Thus one will have overlap in centre, and a kind of outline at the sides, all along the length.
* Add picots, thrown rings, Josephine knots/rings, etc. etc. to make it more interesting.
* Add beads along the edges or in the center !

These are only a few that come to my mind.  
What would You Creative Tatters do ?
Love to read your ideas & see your projects :-))

Part 2 of tutorial has been posted : Back to Front movement for Under & Over Interlaced Rings


  1. Your interlaced split rings look wonderful!!! :)

  2. Going to give it a try. Thank you for clear instructions with pictures! Karen in OR

  3. Thank you very much for your very clear tutorial i will try it out asap! Thank you for sharing!

  4. It's a very useful tutorial. Good job!

  5. Thank you so very much everybody :-))
    I'm so glad you found this useful. Feel free to ask, if you encounter any problems.
    Would love to see the projects you create out of this :-)

  6. Great tutorial. Very clear. You obviously put a lot of work into it. I can't wait to try it.

    1. Thanks, mb ! If even one person benefits, all the work is well worth it :-))

  7. Thank you so much for taking the time to post such clear instructions and photos. I wonder how this would look with three sets. The middle rings would have to be kept the lowest while the two side rings would be on equal levels, for symmetry purposes (if that makes sense). Or I suppose it could be done in a cascade fashion with each new set proceeding like a stepladder.

    1. Robin, if you are willing to work with SIX shuttles, it is very much possible :-)). Both are possible (cascade, as well as symmetrical) as you will see from my next pictorial of Back to Front movement for the reverse overlap. It would definitely look spectacular, though. This will be a project for the future !

  8. I have read this several times, I am really interested in your wonderlully explained post, you have explained this so well, thank you I am going to try this

    1. Margaret, thank you so much for your kind words. I am looking forward to your project :-)

  9. Hi, Muskaan!
    Thank you for sharing your tips.
    A couple of hours ago, I left an comment on this posting, but I can't see it.
    So I leave again.

    I introduced your tips to Korean tatters:

    I'll try to tat interlaced rings soon.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.


  11. I tatted a bracelet with interlaced split rings :
    Thanks, again!

    1. Lee I Love the bracelet you've made ... and especially the Heart at the tip! Very clever and effective :-) Thanks also for sharing among your Korean compatriots ... tatting lives on :-).

      I tried leaving a comment on your blog -- I really liked some of your tatting. .. but it asks to sign in.
      Happy tatting :-))

    2. Thank you for visiting my blog.
      Many Korean tatters love to know your technique.
      It's my pleasure to introduce your technique to them.
      Thank you for sharing your precious tips & techniques.

  12. Hi Muskaan,

    Your instructions are nice and clear, thank you! However, I'm having much difficulty making the very first interlaced ring. Would it be possible for you to show a picture of how to make the very first interlaced rings? I'm sitting here trying to tat step-by-step, but I can't get the very first 'green' ring to interlace. According to your photos, you already have the interlaced started, which would make it easier (in my mind) to interlace the next rings.

    I get the first ring made (but don't close it), I then pass SH3 as per your directions (front to back), and I get the first 9 stitches made, but after I tat the other 9 stitches, my threads get all funny and come un-interlaced.

    Not sure what I'm doing wrong. Can you help me, please?


    1. Hello Susan.
      Thank you for your kind words and for your valuable feedback.

      Actually the first pair of rings is done by Under & Over method (I imitated Judith's braid that she shared) and it was only After I had already started that I felt the need for a visual log of the steps for my own future reference....Hence the gap ...

      I will definitely update with pics of first pair, but that may take a couple of days ....
      I can fully understand how demotivating a wait can be, especially when one is all geared up & raring to go.
      Hence my suggestion, in case you cannot wait, is to start with the 2nd tutorial on Under and Over rings.
      You can contact me directly at .

    2. Susan, I did a quick tat and realised what might be happening .... I had faced similar difficulty :-)

      It is Merely the way one wraps the shuttle 3 thread to Start the ring. This is critical. --- how the loop is formed. Once the wrap is correctly held/made, the ring will automatically become 'locked in'.
      I really Should include a picture of this . And I will ...

    3. Susan, I did a quick tat and realised what might be happening .... I had faced similar difficulty :-)

      It is Merely the way one wraps the shuttle 3 thread to Start the ring. This is critical. --- how the loop is formed. Once the wrap is correctly held/made, the ring will automatically become 'locked in'.
      I really Should include a picture of this . And I will ...

    4. Susan, I did a quick tat and realised what might be happening .... I had faced similar difficulty :-)

      It is Merely the way one wraps the shuttle 3 thread to Start the ring. This is critical. --- how the loop is formed. Once the wrap is correctly held/made, the ring will automatically become 'locked in'.
      I really Should include a picture of this . And I will ...

  13. Hi Muskaan,

    Thanks for the replies! I certainly don't mind waiting... in fact, while I was on my way to town earlier, I was thinking about this tutorial, and how I might be able to make it work... I visualized twisting the threads before even starting a ring - which, I'm going to give it another go here shortly - so I'll try to take a pic and send it to you.

    Thanks again!

  14. A step-by-step pictorial on how to start the 1st pair of interlaced rings is now uploaded :

  15. I have just found your tutorial. Great job. This interlocking split ring braid was created by a young lady in Montana, named Bekka Pierce, and shared at Camp Wanna Tat in the late 1990's. The late Bobbie Demmer, the host of CWT and the tatting editor for the IOLI Bulletin at that time, worked with Bekka to write the instructions that were published in the Bulletin.

    1. Thanks Patti :-)
      Thank you so much for the info ! I thought this was an old technique.
      Judith had posted a pic (in InTatters) of her braid & all we had to work on was that it used 4 shuttles. I figured the rest out from my experiments with Interlocking Rings & created this tut. Even this is not the only way, because Judith herself does it a bit differently which I still haven't been to do.
      I will add the credits to my Resources page.

  16. I'd love to make something from the Interlocking rings; but, I can't for the life of me figure out from the pictures in your tutorial how to wrap for the 4th ring after making the 3rd ring. I got the beginning rings pretty easy. It seems there is something missing between S3 going front to the back of the open ring. I Truly hope someone can reply to get me over this brain freeze. Thanks for any help! Jean (not anonymous, just New at this.

    1. Hi Jean :-)
      I will get back to you on specifics later.
      Meanwhile, in case you haven't, please check this pictorial post : demonstrating the process of beginning Interlaced Rings. Perhaps it will thaw the brain freeze ;-P
      Feel free to contact me through my blogger profile on right panel in case of doubts. Happy tatting :-)