17 Aug 2008

Two Shuttles vs SLT

I was asked by someone if one of my patterns, which uses two shuttles, can be made with a shuttle and ball and the shoe-lace-trick (SLT). And I said ... sure, it can be made that way and did not think much about it.

The SLT is made by making the first knot when tying a shoe lace. This switches the position of the shuttle thread with the ball thread, so that you can use the shuttle to make a ring at the top of a chain.

Later, when I was thinking of the optimum way to make a number of small snowflakes where the design requires two shuttles, I got to thinking about the SLT again. And it made me realise something. Maybe, this picture below will help to illustrate better as I try to explain this.

These two snowflakes have the same stitch counts for the rings, chains and the josephine knots, but they look a little different. That is because each is tatted differently. The one on the left was made using two shuttles, and I used a shuttle and ball and the SLT to make the one on the right.

Using two shuttles gives a smooth rounded curve in the chains for each point of the snowflake.
But with the SLT, you'll notice a kink in the chain. That is where the SLT was made in order to switch the position of the shuttle thread to make the josephine knot for the point of the snowflake. This resulted in a more pointed snowflake.

Each one is pretty on its own, but I like the one made with the SLT better.

This brings me back to the question asked, two shuttles or SLT?

I suppose it depends on how you want your finish to be like. Some designs look better with a smooth curve in the chains supporting the rings on top of it, while some may look better using the SLT.


  1. Thank you for pursuing the issue further. The snowflakes do look different and funnily the eventual method used determines the look of the preceding double stitches, which in theory should have been the same be it 2 shuttles or a ball and a shuttle.

  2. That's a really, really good explanation.

  3. That's how I see it too. Also...if the SLT is only required once or twice, it's easier than winding another shuttle but if there are to be several switches like that, I prefer to use two shuttles.

  4. This is really well explained.

    Now that you have shown the pointed effect from the SLT, it appears that one of my patterns that I have already completed for my book would have been more effective using the SLT! Oh well, I think I will just leave it since it is already done, but I'm going to keep this technique in mind for the future!

    As usual, your insights are so clear and well presented. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Yes, I've noticed that also with the two shuttle method and SLT. Good illustration. I like how you pointed out that it depends on how you want your finished piece to look like. Good job!

  6. Very good explanation and illustration, Jon.

  7. Yes, it is interesting to note that the SLT can now be considered as a design element rather than a way out of using two shuttles.

  8. Thanks for the illustration. As a newbie tatter it is good information. If I had not known the end result would have a different look, I am sure I would have thought I made a mistake.

  9. this is really interesting. I'm making snowflakes at the moment, I will have to try the SLT, although I don't really see what the SLT is ? Can't we do it with two shuttle ?

  10. Another excellent illustration for all of us, not just the newbies. Most of the time I prefer two shuttles, but in this case the slt does make the points nice. Thanks.


Thank you for your comments. I really appreciate it