Saturday, 28 April 2018

Add new thread WITHIN a ring

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When we run out of thread while working on a lace, it is easy to add new thread to a ring or even a chain. What if the next element is a largish ring and we have just enough thread to make a part of it, but not the whole ring?

1. Snip it off anyways - We could let that thread go waste, snip and hide it and start the ring with new thread. But if the thread is vintage, HDT, or not easily available we like to make use of the last possible length.

2. Extender - Tie a scrap thread as extender and work the ring normally.

3. Mock Ring – Switch shuttle and work that last ring as a mock ring or SCMR.

4. Switch the Core Thread – In case of split ring patterns, simply switch shuttles.

What if we know that the remaining thread can make only part of the ring stitches and we will run out of thread midways?
What if we could add new thread anywhere along the ring with least wastage of good thread? How ? Simple.
If you haven’t already done it before, here’s how to

Add New Thread WITHIN a Ring
how-to pictorial

Shuttle 1 – variegated ; shuttle 2 – cream ; 
shuttle 1 refilled with new variegated thread to show difference.
All threads are about a size 3 or 5.

1. Pink is the tail end of thread – not enough to make a complete ring.

2. Switch shuttle and start the ring as a mock ring. In this case I am using a SCMR 
(self closing mock ring), leaving a loop at the beginning.

3. I may not have enough thread to complete the ring. I have just enough to hide the tail.

4. At this stage new thread is added to the core. Notice that the ring is still open.
I like to tat over tails and hide tails in separate elements. But any method can be used.

5. First half stitch made over new tail.

6. Second half stitch made while hiding tail.

7. New tail encapsulated within the first stitch. Continue hiding for a few more stitches, 
leaving off after a first half stitch (the middle path mantra)

8. Ring is worked. Pass shuttle through loop .... 

9. .... and snug tight. We can now switch back to the original shuttle.

10. Continue. Notice the old and new tails in the same ring.

11. I prefer to whip stitch the old tail under stitches.

12. Now snip off all extra tail ends and continue working the lace.

Voilà.  New thread added to a working ring !!! No more untatting, no more wastage of good thread.
It is the first time I used this method. But it had been in my head for a long time and I recently encountered a situation where I recalled it, put it to the test and it worked!! A mock ring is after all just a chain.

You can’t really tell where the new thread is added. My ring shows it because the thread is too thick and it isn’t easy putting down your tatting and taking a pic at every step. I’m still pretty backward using images when the world is moving to videos! This is my comfort zone, though ;-P

Anyways, hope you like this and use it, if you aren’t already using it.

Related Resources and Tutorials to cover all situations–

p.s. During the finishing stage of this post, another idea has crept into my head. It works in my head, but I need to let the shuttles decide if they want to follow or not. I’ll let you know ….

tatting solutions can be easy & fun !


  1. Wow! Amazing tutorial! Thank you for showing how to do this.

    1. I'm thrilled that you liked it, Marilee :-))) Thanks

  2. What a great idea! This will definetly come in handy to know. Thanks for sharing

  3. An interesting post, something I will try, waste thread is always not good, but I keep anything that is long enough to reuse, either as a hanger for a snowflake, or if I run out just need a tiny bit to finish a round. Certainly a new idea and something that would be useful.
    Thanks for sharing your idea

  4. Neat and effective, hats off to you!

  5. Wonderful idea, terrific tutorial! I usually keep any bit of thread that *might* be long enough to use, if not for tatting, then to add to a tassel on a bookmark for added color/texture. Being able to use a thread right down to the end, though, is fantastic for when you're using vintage thread, or hand-dyed thread, or you have a limited amount of thread with the same dye lot. Thanks for passing the idea along!

  6. Brilliant!! Thanks so much. Very effective.
    Katie V in NC, USA

  7. I am so glad you all like the idea !!! Save thread and do our bit for the environment, too :-D
    Margaret, I never thought of using bits to hang a snowflake, etc. Will keep in mind :-)

    I love the tassel idea & hope to use it some day, Stephanie.

    For now, I have been using scraps literally for decorating the make me pretty butterfly ;-P

    Have a great weekend & thanks for your lovely comments everybody :-)

  8. Simply clever! Thank you very much for this great tip :)

  9. This is an awesome idea! I will keep it in mind, even though i don't use too much expensive or hard to find thread. I assume the technique works for adding new thread in the middle of a long chain.

  10. Great idea! I like be picture tutorials like these to learn and then once I think I’ve got it, i like a video for help if I try and can't execute. Your pictures are always clear and well labeled, no need to change your method!

  11. Great pictures and ideas fun to watch and remember 💟🌹💟

  12. Many thanks, tatters :-)))

    Lavi, spot on :-) I thank Ninetta for demonstrating this method of adding new thread to a chain, and Carollyn for whip-stitching. The links are in the annotated post.

    Michelle, that is so sweet! Yes, we do all learn in different ways, so every presentation/format is helpful :-)

  13. Love this! Awesome picture presentation and idea. Looking forward to your next posts.

  14. What a clever idea Muskaan. Solution to our common tatting issues. Nice n neat presentation!!!!

  15. Thank you for another lesson!!! :)

  16. Welcome to my blog, Rose :-)

    Glad you think so, Usha :-)

    LOL, Sue :-D Plenty more where this came from ;-P I'm back in tutorial mode, bewarned ;-P

  17. It's a great idea! I must remember this for future use...

    1. I'm glad you like it, Grace :-)
      My other idea worked, as well, so there'll be a new pictorial soon.