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Winding your shuttle


Different shuttles have different ways to wind the thread onto them. As described on the previous page there were three different types of shuttles and the parts that go with them. The shuttles that have removable bobbins will typically have a hole in the bobbin for you to tie your thread end. If there is no apparent hole in the bobbin then you will have to make a knot around the post of the bobbin. The shuttles that are just post-type with no bobbin generally have a hole in the post for you to thread and tie to attach the thread to the shuttle before winding.
It is NOT recommended that you just take the thread and start winding around the shuttle/bobbin.
Doing so will add extra twist to the thread and make for messy looking doublestitches and the
thread will be on a constant twisting action as you are tatting and this can be very annoying.
You can place your bobbin on a sewing machine post as if you were to load a bobbin, but be wary!
You have to be careful with the tension of the winding. Winding the thread on the bobbin at a
fast speed can stretch the thread and put strain on it, and maybe break the thread. What you
can do is put foam or an old sock(or other material) under the pedal of your sewing machine so
that when you press down you won't have a tendency to go to fast and the bobbin is being wound
in a nice slow even pace. What do you do if you don't have a sewing machine handy? Tie the thread to the bobbin and turn the bobbin and keep the thread stationary instead of twisting the thread. This may be a slow process, but the patience and passive time when winding can be therapeutic.
If you are using a post shuttle, then the same slow motion of winding the shuttle with a stationary thread will work. Post shuttles with tight ends have a nice "click" to them when winding. Another way to wind post type shuttles is to purchase a shuttle winder. It is a devicethat aids you in holding the shuttle as you wind the thread onto it. You can get several types of shuttle winders by going to the links section of my site and go to the suppliers list.
Whether you wind the shuttle clockwise or counterclockwise will not make a difference.



Wrapping the thread around the hand


This section generally explains two ways you can wrap the thread around your hand(be it left or right depending on your preference), but is not limited to that. There is a traditional position and another I term the "crochet hold". The traditional position is where your thumb and index finger are pinching the thread and your remaining 3 fingers extend out. See picture below. The crochet hold position is where your thumb and middle finger pinch the thread while your index finger is extended out with the remaining two fingers curled underneath. See picture below. The nice thing about this method is if you previously knew how to crochet, that extended index finger is already in a recognizable position which in turn will make tatting more comfortable. My advice would be what ever will be comfortable with your fingers in position.
When starting a chain(covered in the lesson "Making a Chain"), pinch the thread between the thumb and whichever finger you choose, up and around the hand in a clockwise direction(counterclockwise if you are left handed) and wrap around the small finger two or three times and let the thread dangle from below. When wrapping the thread around the small finger I find it best to wrap it around the last knuckle toward the tip of the finger. If the thread has a tendency to unloop around your finger, then curl the finger into the hand for extra measure.
When starting a ring, pinch the thread, wrap up and around the hand in a clockwise direction and return to the beginning of where the pinch started. Be sure to pinch both sections of the thread so it doesn't slide. This will create a loop or ring of thread around your hand and ready to start. You may find it comfortable to also add an extra loop around your small finger for extra stability. You will find what best suits you when you practice. Take note of the picture on the position of the threads and the pinch.



Holding your shuttle


How you hold your shuttle can make a difference in your performance while tatting. No matter what type of shuttle you are using, keep the thread that is wound around it coming from the backside or the side of the shuttle that is farthest away from you. The reason for this will become evident when you get to the section of "Making the Doublestitch". Hold the shuttle with your thumb and one or two of your first fingers in a sideways clutched position, as if you were to take a bite out of a sandwich. Refer to picture on the side. Do NOT hold your shuttle with palms facing up. This twists your wrists in a bad position and may result in injury.
When using a shuttle that does not have a hook, I find it convenient for the point or pick to be facing the hand holding the loop of thread. For this reason it is already in a forward position to hold when you need the pick to pull out mistakes or make a join. You won't have to turn the shuttle around in your hand to make this move. Refer to picture. Obviously if the shuttle has no pick and you have to pick up a separate crochet hook, this does not apply.
When using a shuttle that has an attached hook, make sure the hook is facing away from you and facing the thread that is to the backside of the shuttle. I have found that the hook tends to get caught up on your working thread that is looped around your hand when tatting the stitches. The natural position of the hook and when holding the shuttle will have a slight tilt downward away from you when tatting. If the hook was facing toward you the hook would be pointing upwards slightly and have the tendency to hook on the looped thread in hand.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed on these pages are solely of the author
and are not to be taken as gospel. There are several ways to accomplish
each step of the processes and it is up to your discretion to find what best
suits your situation.