How to Open a Closed Ring - Method 1

This question was brought up recently in In Tatters tatting forum.  It is a very valid question which sometimes gets overlooked in the eagerness of explaining other tatting techniques.  Here is my attempt at giving this a go.

I usually use two ways of opening closed rings.  Which method I choose depends on the ring, specifically whether there are picots in it, and how close the picots are to the end of the ring.
Ha ha .... technically a ring has no ends because it goes in a round.  But in this case, the end is the side where you pull the shuttle thread to close the ring.

Method 1
Pic 1
Let us take this small ring with 3 picots in it, (Pic 1). In this case the last picot is close enough to the end for me to be able to pull the double stitches on each side of the picot slightly apart (Pic 2).
Pic 2
Then, using a hook or the pick of your shuttle or even the tip of your fingernails, pull up the core thread some more to make it longer (Pic 3). 
Pic 3
Once you have done that, pull apart the base of the ring which will open up the ring further (Pic 4).  Once you get enough slack in the core thread, place it around your fingers and start unpicking each double stitch as required.

Pic 4


  1. Very nifty! Thank you, this will definitely help in the future :)

  2. When I showed the ladies in my guild how to open up the ring, I used my crochet hook to pull up the core thread after I worked the picot space open a bit. Someone made the interesting observation that as I was sliding the hook in further, the thicker part of the shaft was already opening it up before I pulled up. A lot of people seem to have trouble getting hold of that core thread without somehow also capturing a bit of the stitch. You show it nicely here.

  3. Pull at the picot? YAY! Thanks Faizon!!

  4. Thanks - you make it so easy! I have been playing with opening rings (out of necessity!) lately, and often times have trouble because that last stitch gets to be a tight knot that is unmovable. I assume this is from not holding the ring stitches tight when pulling up that thread to open the ring.

    I have also found that it seems easier to open a ring when I drop the shuttle through the ring before closing, but then I have trouble making the last stitches lay nice and flat. My brain doesn't seem to be able to do everything at once without serious concentration :)

  5. Walden, Paul,
    You're welcome.

    Gina, I also make sure that I pinched the ring on the left side of the picot when I pull the core thread up so that only the core on the right side of the ring slide open.

    Happy Bluebird,
    I tried dropping the shuttle through but, like you, I don't quite like the way the last stitch turned out.

    As Happy Bluebird wrote, the rings open up easier when I post the shuttle through. But somehow it doesn't seem quite right to do that.
    I know this is kind of weird logic, but would you then be less careful about your rings if you know there is an easy remedy if you make a mistake.

  6. This should be awful helpful to me because when working with the size 10 thread I was able to get rings open, but with the smaller sizes I just opted to cut them out since when I tried to open them it seemed hopeless. Thanks tons!!! :)

  7. Hi God's Kid, smaller size threads can be a problem. I am working on the second method that I usually use for small sized threads or small rings or rings with no picots close to the end. Come back again for the next installment on this topic.

  8. Do we get method 2 in the next blog post? It is those rings without picots that give me fits. I could use a good tip. Thanks for putting this helpful post together.

  9. Salam Jon,

    I'd been tatting for 3 years (and cursing every time I had to open a ring) before I came across this technique in a Japanese book. I'm glad you are sharing it here, so other people suffer less :)

  10. 'Alaikum Salam Sunshine.

    Eliz, it will be up as soon as I get the pictures all sorted out, :)


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