Tuesday, 6 January 2015


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Continuous Thread Method of Loading Shuttles

Think you have it all figured out . Then comes the knock . Hey that particular figuring out doesn't work every time or in every situation or without changes ! So back to tweaking - probably the favourite byword of us tatters …. Should we be called The Tweaking Tatters ;-P

I shared a tip here, on how to wind the 2nd shuttle CTM (continuous thread method) using any calibrated holder/winder. The 1st shuttle was fully loaded & only 2nd shuttle needed to be loaded, for which we used the holder/winder of known circumference.
But what if Both shuttles require a measured amount of thread, neither of which is fully loaded ?
Case in point : Jane's TIAS 2015  
Many of us are getting ready for the TIAS, and some might be facing a similar problem. If so, the following might be of some help to you ..... Read on :-)

Winding shuttles CTM when

neither shuttle needs to be full, 
when precise lengths need to be loaded on each shuttle

Converted yards to inches, and then calculated the number of winds required on my 'winder' (my spectacle case, where 1 wind equals 6.6 in) for each shuttle (Sh).
I needed 25 winds for Sh1 & 17 winds for Sh 2.

On the winder, I started winding thread from the ball for Sh2 first (indicated with solid white circle & Arrow #1). 17 winds.
When done, Without changing anything, I continued winding for Sh1, But at a slight distance away (Arrow #2). 25 winds. (Arrow #3).
Then snip off thread from ball (shown by solid red oval).
Now start winding Sh1 from this cut end till all (25) wounds are loaded onto the bobbin. (Arrow #4).

The remaining 17 wounds are for Sh2. Take the starting thread end (the solid white circle end in pic) & start winding Sh2, till all remaining thread is loaded.

You will notice, when you start winding Sh2, that the thread end is Beneath the 17 rounds, unlike for Sh1. Hence, when winding, there is a tendency to play footsie / entangle with Sh1 thread.  To avoid this, turn the winder as seen in pic, so that Sh1 is 'out of the way' And winding can continue in original clockwise direction. I found it even easier when I moved Sh1 also to the other side (left hand side in pic).

Both shuttles now have the required lengths of thread, wound CTM !
The best part, to me, is that I did not have to measure the lengths Beforehand ! All I needed was to count the number of winds and then load ....

And I am ready for Jan 7th 2015 . Bring it on :-) 

Disclaimer : I may have a couple more winds than strictly necessary - better safe than sorry ;-)

How have You loaded your shuttles CTM for the TIAS  :-)
How did You do it ?

Related Post : Winding Thread, CTM


  1. Good information. That is a great way to keep the thread from tangling.
    I agree - more thread is better than less. You can always make a butterfly afterward. But, it is a pain to splice in enough for that last ring.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, StringyDogs :-) I agree about using up scraps with teeny-tiny motifs ...

  2. I don't use that kind of shuttle, I don't like how it unwinds when they are dropped, I feel it is very time consuming to rewind, one day I will tat with other people and see what they do because many people favor this type of shuttle, maybe I drop my shuttle too much, but still don't see how you can untwist with this kind of shuttle. I use the the other kind and wind it up, and then wind thread on the out side of it till it looks full enough and then cut thread from ball and wind the second shuttle. I like your topics and fun to here the problem solving you do :)

    1. I haven’t faced the unraveling problem, Carollyn, except with a couple that had loose bobbins & required rubber band stuffed inside to steady it. I prefer these shuttles because of the inbuilt hook, too.
      And really, why change when you are comfortable with your clover shuttles ? You have turned
      out such beautiful and innovative tatting :-))))

    2. I like the way you solved that problem with rubber ban good idea!

  3. I measure and wind the first shuttle then measure as I wind the second around the first shuttle. It is the same as madtatter I am using post shuttles oh and I also add a little extra

    1. I tried that, too. And winding around the outside did work ! Except that I had to keep track of the much larger number of winds -- something that is not always feasible if one is multi-tasking ;-P
      Hope to see you on the TIAS , Bernice ?!

  4. I do what Bernice does - wind the first shuttle, bobbin or post, it doesn't matter which, wind the amount for the second shuttle around the outside of shuttle 1, cut and then wind it onto shuttle 2. Yes, I add a bit extra too.

    1. I seem to be in the minority here, Jane ;-D
      Thank you for sharing your process :-)

  5. Different methods work for different people and we're always interested to hear of different ways of doing things. It doesn't work for the TIAS, but usually I count how many rings are going to be tatted by a shuttle and wind about 15 cm or 6 inches for each ring. For size 20 thread. If there are a lot of chains, as in the Masquerade motif I'm working on now, I add a bit extra, but usually that's not necessary. I just thought of that as a post script!

    1. See, these are the kind of thumb rules that I always intend to, but never get around to establishing for myself - be it in tatting, or knitting, or whatever. Or if I do, I forget to apply them coz I can't remember where I jotted them .....
      Thank you so much for sharing this .... will Surely & Certainly give it try when I recommence the Spring Doily. Guess what -- 3 balls of another shade arrived, not the one's I'd ordered :-( Correspondence is on, with fingers crossed .

  6. I am so spacially inept that your method would have me in many knots! I just wind one shuttle pulling off a span of three yards at a time and counting, then pulling off the same amount and snipping it; then winding it on the second bibbin. : )

    1. Different strokes for different people :-))) Some like it hot, some like it cold , and some .... the best thing about creative arts is that one can follow whatever one is comfortable with !
      Thanks for sharing your practice, too, Fox. Appreciate it :-)