Sunday, 29 October 2017

switch the core !

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I have a few pictorials concerning split rings waiting to be shared for some time. To get things moving, I am uploading as a post now, and will convert to pdfs soon, including the sew-free hiding of tails in SR pictorial.

When working a pattern with numerous split rings as in a braid, the shuttle that is used for the core thread empties faster than the 2nd shuttle. Despite starting with equal lengths in both shuttles, the core thread uses up an extra length, hence the mismatch in usage.

In another scenario, we may have just enough thread in shuttle 1 to make the stitches of the ‘last’ ring but not enough to form the core.

If we are working with same colour in both shuttles, we could use an overhand knot or shoelace trick (SLT) to switch shuttles, thus emptying both shuttles equally.
But what if it is a 2-colour braid? The SLT will cause a switch in colours. It also creates the tiniest bit of knot which I personally dislike.

Following is an alternate way to optimize use of both shuttles whether working with one or more colours. I haven't seen it anywhere, and it works for me....

Switch the Core Thread
Optimizing Thread Usage in Split Ring Patterns
muskaan  © Oct, 2017

Each split ring in this braid is 8ds/8ds. There is a very small mock picot between rings.
Shuttle1 (red) – cream thread ;  Shuttle2 (blue) – variegated thread.

1. I tatted over tails on either side for a knot-free start to split ring. 
Middle path mantra was followed. 

 2. Complete the ring, tug and snip off extra tails.

 3. Next split ring is also made using shuttle1 core

 4. Continue tatting split rings normally, using shuttle1 for core thread.

5. When we get to the point when either shuttle1 thread is running out 
or we want to use up some of the shuttle2 thread, Turn the work over
(notice the shuttles have now switched positions).

We will now be working from the backside.

 6. Start next split ring with shuttle2 (1st side of SR made - notice core thread). 
In case of fs/bs tatting, use reverse order of stitches (RODS) - 
ie. second half stitch, first half stitch. Stitches are flipped.

7. Now work 2nd (unflipped/reverse stitch) side with shuttle1.

Make discretionary changes in case of directional or frontside/backside tatting. 

 8. Pass shuttle2 over-under, through the ring.

 9. Shuttle2 is now on the ‘front side’ and ring can be closed.

10. Continue working a few rings with shuttle2 to use up same amount of thread as shuttle1, 
or add new thread (2nd scenario) as the case may be.

Notice there is absolutely no difference in and between split rings 
whether they are worked with shuttle1 or shuttle2 !!!

Hope this is of some help. 
No doubt I will inform (and update with link here) when this is converted to a pdf; but in case you miss the notification, you can always check here.

I look forward to your feedback and suggestions, or tips on how you do it. Please do share.  

I like switching options in tatting and hope you do too.
happy tatting J


  1. I've done this switching of shuttles when working the leaf braid. Amazing how different the thread uptake is when only one shuttle is used.

  2. This is fun and love the split ring❤💮❤

  3. I always hide both ends in split rings or when ending with a SSSR. Great Tutorial.

  4. Good explanation (and pictures) of how to do this. It is surprising how that tiny bit of 'extra' thread used as the core adds up so fast. I've been switching the core thread to make both threads last as long as possible for years - too busy tatting to stop and refill the shuttle until it's absolutely necessary, I guess. I'd rather tat than fill shuttles any day. ;)

  5. Turns out it is pretty elementary, huh :-D
    I've had to use this switch for many of the quatrefoil medallions when running out of thread in the last ring !
    Have a great week, tatters :-))

  6. I follow same method when the thread on one shuttle runs out and try to use thread till end point. your explanation with exact terms and pictorials is just great!! I m really poor in writing down my experiences like this. Your stuff will be useful to every tatter forever.

  7. Interesting! I had not thought of switching the core thread, but then I tend to avoid split rings. :-)

  8. Thank you Usha, Diane & Sue :-)

  9. I do this, too. It has often saved me from needing to add in new thread on smaller projects. You've explained and illustrated it very well. I love being able to refer others to your tutorials.

    1. Thanks, Eliz :-) Yes, it's always good to have some resource to fall back on in the initial stages of our learning .

  10. I love switching the core thread! Especially when there's little thread left on one of my shuttles. Great explanation! Great photos! Great topic! Thank you!

    1. My pleasure, and thanks for your enthusiastic comment :-)