Monday, 4 April 2016

Shuttle 2 to the Rescue !

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A Brief  Recap :
When a link needs to be made to a previous element Above the line of present working, the ball/SH2 thread is closer to the joining picot. Hence SH2 thread comes into play in the Picot joins (up, down, in a circle, swirl join)  the Lark’s Head Picot Join as discussed in Part I. The remaining joins in this same category are discussed below. 

Abbreviations used here :
SH – shuttle
SR – split ring
DS – double stitch
LHPJ – lark’s head picot join
RS – reverse stitch (unflipped stitches)
hs – half stitch
uSHS – unflipped 2nd half stitch
LJ – lock join

About Pics :
In the tatted samples worked in size 20 thread, yellow represents core/SH1 thread ; aqua blue represents ball/SH2/auxiliary thread ; black represents a previous tatted element with a picot to which current working needs to be linked.

A Note of Caution on Colour Blips/Spots:
I have used a 3rd colour (black) to represent a previous element. However, in actual tatting, when working with 2 colours, this previous element may be the colour of either SH1 or SH2 thread. When joining picot is the same colour as the stitch colour in present working, colour blips may not be visible.
For example, in LHPJ, if black, which has the joining picot, was substituted with aqua blue (SH2), no colour blip will show on back side. But if black is substituted with yellow (SH1), a colour blip will be visible on back side.

Rule : In two-colour tatting, if joining picot from previous element and current stitch are of same colour, colour blips/spots are usually not seen on the front side.

I.3 Joining the Second Half of a Split Ring  :
While linking the 2nd half of a split ring (SR), the picot may seem to be below the ring being made, but notice the caps on the two elements : they face each other. Hence it belongs to the ‘Above’ category of joins. 
Pic 6.  Explaining the visuals for Part II
A split ring has two halves : the first half (yellow in pics) is worked like a normal ring with flipped stitches or DS and any links on this side will include the Picot Joins and LHPJ (Refer I.1, I.2). The second half of a SR is made with reverse or unflipped stitches using SH2 and the SH1/core thread shuttle is not on hand. Thus the linkage calls for slight modification of movements, to ensure the core thread continues to slide freely after the join is made.
There are 3 main ways to accomplish this linkage :

I.3.a  Split Ring Join
aka Transitional join10, Split Ring Core join11, Join to second side of SR12, Joining second half of SR13.
One comes across different names, as listed above, but the basic movement and formation remains the same. They have, therefore, been clubbed together under ‘Split Ring Join’ in order to distinguish this formation from 1.3.b & c.

  • A loop of SH1/core thread is pulled Up or Down through picot, and SH2 is passed through it. The core thread is then tensioned so that it ‘pops’ back from the picot with the SH2 thread wrapped around it.
  • It allows core thread to slide freely.
  • This join can be counted as a hs.
  • An up loop creates a colour blip on the front side; a down loop creates a colour blip on back side. Hence when working with 2 colours, use a Down loop to keep colour blips at back of work14.    
  • Any element (ring or chain) worked with RS can be linked with this join.
  • It follows the basic principle of a picot join.
Pic 7. Split Ring Join made with
Up & Down loops

(click on image to enlarge)

Rule : It is advisable to keep the loop that is pulled through joining picot untwisted while passing shuttle through loop for making any join.

I.3.b Lark’s Head Picot Join with Shuttle 2 (S2LHPJ) 15
This is a slightly elaborate multi-step procedure to wrap and flip a complete DS within the joining picot, thus creating an “invisible join”. While the 1st half of a SR can be joined using a LHPJ, the 2nd half needs to be wrapped a bit differently.   
  • 1uSHS is made outside the picot, before commencing the linkage formation within picot.
  • A loop from SH2 is pulled up through picot and SH2 passed through loop. Several ensuing movements enable the formation of a DS which is snugged into position. 
  • The join is counted as 1 complete stitch and lies within the picot.
  • Useful for smooth visual effect, with a continuous line of stitches.
  • A colour blip will be seen at the back only if joining picot is of different colour.
  • Any element (ring or chain) worked with RS can be linked with this join. 
Pic 8. Lark's Head Picot Join
made with Shuttle 2 (S2LHPJ)

I.3.c  Lock Join with Shuttle 2 thread
A third way to join SR is with a lock/shuttle join using SH2.
  • Pull a loop of SH2 through picot, pass SH2 through loop, adjust  tension carefully.
  • It locks the SH2 thread, while keeping SH1/core thread free.
  • This is a very easy and quick method. But care must be taken to position the thread carefully before final tensioning.
  • It does not create much of a colour blip.
  • It leaves a visible bump/bar along the line of stitches which may not be visually appealing.
[update] This join is also used in Inverted Tatting
Pic 9. Lock Joins using Shuttle 2

The ball thread join 16
A decorative variation of LJ with SH2 which can be employed in all kinds of rings and chains.   
The movements of I.3.c are followed, but a space of thread is left on either side. (refer Pic 9)
The bare thread space of SH2 before and after the LJ imitate the picots in the element being worked. Thus the actual join is not placed in line with the previous stitches; it is placed at the tip of a mock picot. It enables the tatter to maintain, and continue with the decorative look of the element which is being linked.

This completes Category I. 
In Part III we will consider Category II where links are made Across elements.

Feedback, correction, or addition is welcome.
I will convert this entire series into a pdf file for easy reference, with requisite updates and modifications. 

Related Posts : Demystifying Joins  
Footnotes & Tutorials (Part II) :
14 Most tutorials show the Up loop being used to make the Split Ring join. Compare the up & down loop, as well as the SH2 movements in the collage picture.
15 Lily Morales 2003 
16 Martha Ess The instructions & pictures are shared in her Butterick Butterfly Bookmark pattern.


  1. Thanks for sharing this! Your sure are good at breaking things down and making them understandable. :)

  2. You'll have to publish a book! Really good info, thanks.

  3. This subject has been adressed many times, and so nice you have placed all of them together thanks for the tips, you are the go to person!

  4. Thank you so very much Karen, Sue, Jane & Carollyn. I appreciate your support :-)

  5. Great resource piece. Thanks for this post.