Wrap-stitch Round a Plastic Ring With Needle

I wonder ... has anyone done it this way before? Or, have I stumbled across something new!

I received an e-mail from Alan asking if the patterns in my book, Tatting With Rings can be needle-tatted. Well, the patterns in my book were developed with shuttles. My only experience with needle tatting is limited to the basic rings and chains, but the thought of using a needle with the plastic rings gives an interesting challenge. I gave it some thought and started working on this idea that I have. I think I may have got it.

I am going to share the steps here. I would appreciate very much if they could be tested out by some of the needle-tatters among us to see if it can actually work.

Step 1 - making the first half of the double stitch
With the needle threaded, pull a loop of the needle thread up from under the ring and slide the needle through, pulling it all the way. You will get the thread looped round the ring as in the diagram above.

Step 2 - the second half of the double stitch
Bring a loop of the needle thread down under the plastic ring and slide the needle through, pulling it all the way.

You have made the first double stitch over the plastic ring.

It you continue making the double stitches this way, you'll find that the ball thread will be on one side of the double stitches and the needle thread on the other end. From the little that I know about needle tatting, both the ball thread and the needle thread must be at the same position to make the ring or chain. In this case then, the ball thread should move along with the double stitches.

Step 3 - moving the ball thread along
It is so simple! I can't think why it did not occur to me before. I think my brain cell has taken to running off, like Jane's, :)

To make the next double stitch, lay the ball thread along the outer edge of the plastic ring. Then, repeat Steps 1 and 2. This, in effect, means that you are making the double stitch over both the plastic ring and the ball thread. Make sure that the ball thread lies on the edge of the ring when you tighten the thread to neaten the double stitch.

The different colours used in the diagram are for illustration purposes only.

Now you have two double stitches over the ring looking like this.

To make the outward tatted ring, tie a knot with the ball and needle thread and make a ring as you would normally do with a needle, bringing the double stitch as close to the plastic ring as possible.

After making the outward ring, make a knot again to switch the position of the two threads. Repeat the steps for the next set of double stitches over the plastic ring.

I would love to hear what needle-tatters think of this.


  1. You just made my day. I'll have to break my needles out and see if I can get this to work! Thanks!

  2. Well Jon I have said it before and I will say it again I LOVE YOU!!! I been wanting to try this I didnt know how to do it with the shuttle and I do feel more comfortable with the needle, IT WORKS I am gonna put up the picture of my started ring I didnt finish it because I have 3 other projects in the mix at the moment LOL THANKS for this :) ~Heather

  3. Makes sense to me. I think that I've seen the technique somewhere, but don't quoute me on that. I'm looking forward to my copy of the book and I'll try both ways. Thanks!

  4. Hi Jon!

    This is a very cool post! I haven't tried this yet, but it makes sense, even though I'm a shuttle tatte. It seems as if it would be easier with the needle. I must compliment you on your drawings, as usual! Sure wish I could master drawing with the computer! Yours are always beautifully done, as is your tatting!

  5. Thank you soooooo much for this info. I wish to try this out but would you believe it I can't find any place that sales the plastic rings. This is torture!!!! We no longer have a fabric store in the near by town, so I'll have to wait until I head to Cambridge for a tatting weekend with the Fringe. Thanks again.

  6. Hi Jon, :)

    My friend, Dorothy Hooper, taught me a similar technique this past summer. She says the technique she taught me is at least a couple hundred years old. The one she teaches is slightly different in that you don't have to make and pull a thread loop through the ring, for the first ds. You pass the needle through instead. :) I'm a fairly new needle tatter so I'm not sure I explained that very well. :)

  7. I was attempting a Victats pattern but as I needle tat, google led me to your directions. In Step 3 you cannot repeat Step 1. Look at the Step 2 diagram, at the first portion of the stitch. To make the first half of the ds, bring thread around the front of the ring and as the thread comes up the back side of the ring slide the needle between the ring and the thread.

    1. I am sorry that my instructions did not work for you. I have not had anyone commenting that they had any problems with this since I put it up. I tested the steps again and found no problems with it.

      However, tatting techniques have continued to evolve (more so lately) and many tatters have found different ways of achieving the same effect in tatting. I would like to think that this is one of those occasions.

      Happy Tatting to you.

    2. I wonder, is the confusion coming because the picture for Step 3 is combining both Steps 1 and 2? It's the first picture in Step 1 and then the first picture in Step 2. I have no problem creating the covered ring using these directions (although I typically pass my needle through the ring, like Barb mentioned :) )

  8. I'm a fairly new needle tatter, I've never shuttle tatted at all, but if you're covering the whole ring first there's really not a need to hide the ball thread under the stitches. You'll meet back up with the ball thread when you get around to the other side of the ring. At that point I stepped up with a mock picot and it worked out perfectly :)

    1. Thank you for leaving your comment.
      First of all, I'd like to point out that I tat with shuttles and almost never use the needle. In explaining the methods, I was using my minimal knowledge of needle-tatting and thinking as a shuttle-tatter at the same time.

      You are right to say that you can just work with the thread on the needle all round the ring and meet back up with the ball thread.

      However, for some of my patterns using the plastic ring centres, I have thrown rings coming out along the way. At that time, I was not familiar with the method of making thrown rings using the needle thread only. Otherwise, the instructions may be slightly different.


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