How to make a Ring, Chain and a Join

I hope this tutorial can help beginners to shuttle tatting get the basics of tatting, i.e making the ring, chain and a join. To prepare for this tutorial wind up some thread on to a shuttle but do not cut from the ball.

Note: This tutorial is written for a right-handed tatter. Left-hander may have to make some adjustments.

First up - How to make a ring.

Pinch the thread with the thumb and forefinger. Wrap the thread around your fingers moving away from the ball in the direction of the shuttle, and bringing it up to meet the beginning. Pinch the two threads together. This loop round the fingers will be used to make the double stitches. The thread from the shuttle is referred to as the core thread.

With the shuttle, make a double stitch over the core thread, refer to the earlier tutorial on how to make a double stitch. Make several double stitches and picots over this core thread, eg. 4-4-4-4. Remove the thread from around the fingers and you should have something like this.

To close the ring, hold the double stitches just made between the thumb and the forefinger of the left hand and with the right hand, pull the shuttle thread in a clockwise motion. A properly closed ring looks like this.

Next - How to make a chain

Reverse the position of the ring so that it now points downwards like this.

The position of the ball thread is on the left of the ring and the shuttle thread on the right.

Grip the ring with the thumb and forefinger of the left hand and wrap the thread from the ball round the fingers. Do not bring the thread back to the beginning, instead anchor it by the little finger by looping around it a few times. The thread from the ball will be flipped to make the double stitches for a chain, and the shuttle thread becomes the core thread.

 Make the double stitches for the chain, 3-3. Make sure that the first half-stitch is snugged up close to the ring. You should then have a chain looking like this (below),

 Finally, a join -

Reverse work again so that now the ring is back in the original position and the chain is pointing downwards. Loop the shuttle thread round the fingers to make the next ring. After making the first four double stitches, bring the last picot of the first ring close to the finger thread of the ring in progress.

Pull up this thread with a hook through the picot and pass the shuttle through it. Make sure that the thread that is pulled up through the picot is not twisted. bring the shuttle through and pull back the finger thread to close the join. Make sure that the shuttle thread is not pulled through the picot when closing the join.

Complete the rest of the ring and close it. Now, you have two rings joined together with a chain.

Click here for a printable version of the tutorial.


  1. Jon, you do such a wonderful job on your tutorials. I hope lots of new tatters see your blog and say, "oh. Now I see what to do!" Thanks for doing this.

  2. Great job on your tutorial. I can see a definate need for this with some of our new tatters out there.

  3. Great tutorial! I can't wait to share it with my readers. The link will be posted July 24.


  4. Tattycat, Tattingchic,
    Sometimes in the excitement of trying new techniques, we forget the need for the basics.

    Denise, thank you for dropping by. i hope your readers find this helpful.

  5. Thank you Jon for doing this. I apprecite the time you took to put this on here for us "visual" people. God Bless! sy

  6. Thank you Jon for taking the time to do this. I appreciate it immensely! sy

  7. HI Jon! WOW! Tutorials...! They surely would have helped me when I was starting ouy... I am sure the newbies will learn a lot from your tutorial.

  8. Jon, excellent tutorials! As a retired teacher I am comfortable saying your lessons are excellent.

    A question, did I miss your explanation of how to make a picot? It seems to me that a 'newbie' needs to understand the process of leaving a space between double stitches. Also, knowing the 'hyphen' in directions is the symbol for a picot is important.

    Having taught friends to tat, I know it is easy to miss such details. Part of the joy of sharing knowledge is the satisfaction of analyzing the details of processes we do automatically so that we can explain them clearly.

    Please continue your generous efforts in, and contributions to the tatting community, they are greatly appreciated.

  9. Hi Randi,
    Thank you for the compliments about the tutorials. Must be carried over from my working days where I had to prepare a lot of standard operating procedures (SOP) for the company that I worked with.

    You are right about missing the tutorials on making picots. It totally slipped my mind. I'll have to add that in.

  10. Jon,thanks a million for the tatting tutorial...It was a great help for me. I'm just a beignner in tatting and your blog was very helpful to learn tatting. Please visit my blog to see my first tatting finish. ...thank you

  11. I'm just beginning to learn tatting via whatever I can find online. Let me tell you, it's very frustrating!!! This tutorial has helped me a lot:) Thanks so much for taking the time to post it!

  12. Thank you so much!!

    Until I read this blog - I thought a chain was harder to understand than a ring..
    (needless to say I only made rings so far :-P )

  13. Thank you so much. I was stuck and this was very useful. What kind of thread are you using that is so shiny? Very pretty

  14. The first commenter, Tattycat conveyed exactly how I felt! I did say, "Oh! That's how you do that." Thank you so much for your tutorials!

  15. I am a student of the Rietveld Academie in The Netherlands and studying on the Textile Department. We had to choose a technique to explore and present and guess which one I picked! As all the others I must say your blog was indeed very helpful and I even used some of your pictures to present! We worked together in a team to present and we made the connection between twining,knotting,netting and tatting. We did so by drawing which was a lot of fun and looked beautiful! If your curious you can have a look at my blog.. But thanks so much, I'm a tatting junkie now!

  16. This looks like such a great tutorial! I would love to publish it for you on! We have a lot of readers who are looking for projects just like this. Let me know if you’re interested!

  17. so, if I understand correctly, the way 4-4-4-4 is:
    4 double stiches, picot, 4 double stitches, picot, 4 double stitches, picot, 4 double stitches

    did I get it right?

    1. Yes Karla, that is right.
      In some patterns you may see two dashes or more for the picots, like this -- or ---. This is to show that you need to make slightly longer picots than your normal-sized picots.

  18. Oh, so Thank You. I finally got it! Your tutorial is just what I needed. Again, Thank YOu.

  19. hi,Jon,can u make a ring &chain with shuttle thread?

  20. I'm just starting with tatting and got frustrated because the needles aren't available where I live but your tutorial are so good that I will give it a try with the shuttle. You're a wonderful teacher. Thank you so much!!!

  21. I have met Jon in Spotlight and she is so wonderful..I bought a book and got her signature :-) Thank you for teaching me..even a little while...

  22. Does the join count as the 1st half of a double stitch and then you do the 2nd half of the double stitch and count that as a double stitch? Or is the join an independent stitch followed by a full double stitch?


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