Friday, 22 April 2011

Thread position and starting a doily

It appears that my earlier post about not looping the thread round my pinky when making chains has got Fox mystified and Zarina curious.  Fox seems to have another thought about it as she explained in her blog post.

Anyway, to give a clearer picture of how I hold my thread, here are some photos as I explain the method.
I only loop the chain thread once round the little finger at the second notch of the finger.  The thread then goes round my forefinger.  My forefinger controls the flip of the doublestitches.
When tatting, I pinch the work with my thumb and my middle finger and curve my pinky and the ring finger.  Curving the pinky keeps the thread in the fold of the finger.  This position keeps the tension in the thread.  If I need to add more thread for the chain, I just stretch out the pinky a bit, and pull up more thread with the forefinger, and curve it back again.

While I am at it, I might as well show how I hold my thread when making rings. I think it is no different from how I normally see others hold their thread.
The work is pinched with the thumb and forefinger and the shuttle thread looped round the other fingers and back to the pinch.  For rings, I manage the flip with my middle finger with the ring finger and the pinky curved.  I use the pinky to pull more thread from the shuttle when the loop gets smaller as I tat, without having to let go the shuttle.

Here is a picture of some tatting that I have just started.  There are other projects which can't be shared right now, one of which is for an exchange.
This doily is a tat-along project that I have started with Zarina and Surya. This is the Clover Doily pattern by Eileen Stafford (the link is via the way-back machine, so it may or may not work when you click on it).  I am using a 'vintage' thread for this doily, the thread label is shown besides the doily.  I don't know what size it is, I guess 50 or 60.  For a rather old thread, it is wonderful to tat with.  The rings close very smoothly and there isn't much twisting at all.

I am just starting Row 4 out of 9 rows. With some other on-going projects, I am not sure when I'll finish this.  There is no time limit to complete the doily.  You may join us with this tat-along if you wish, and post your progress as you go.


  1. Faizon - that is exactly how I hold the thread for both chains and rings. And I remember that there was not much difference when you demonstrated the split rings and chains (which I have utilized in the tat-along).

  2. Thank you for sharing your thread-holding method. I do have trouble with tension on my chains, so I will have to try your way and see if I am coordinated enough to keep my fingers under control!

    The vintage thread color and doily are beautiful.

  3. Your doily is looking quite lovely. That's a beautiful thread, too.

  4. The thread color is beautiful!

  5. I do this all the time! I have rheumatoid arthritis and when my hands get super tired, I find that I hold my thread this way. When I have RA flare-ups, holding my thread this way aleviates pain and helps with my tension.
    Have a great day!

  6. Thank you for showing your hand positions :-) I do the same with the thread around the little finger ONCE, and do this FIRST before I move the thread into position to tat. I do this because I learned to crochet first, and that is how you begin to hold the thread for crocheting! I taught myself how to tat out of a little "How To" book back in the 60's, so I transferred what was already comfortable to my tatting. I can't imagine doing that twist, twist, twist around the little finger when YOURs and MY method is SO EASY lol!! Oh, well, I know we all do what is comfortable for ourselves and that's what makes us all unique and WONDERFUL! Thanks again for sharing! ~Tatikan/Sher

  7. I agree with some of your comments that I hold the thread that way because it is also my crochet hand position, and it is the most comfortable way for me.
    I recall someone saying that the crochet hold does not keep the tension well for tatting, but I find that is not the case for me. When held that way, I can pull the thread real hard and it will not slide. Maybe, having a little more flesh in that pinky helps too ... he he he ...

    Quoting PattyD from the In Tatters forum "the knot doesn't care how it is made".

    Good Tatting to everyone.

  8. Very interesting indeed. "The knot does not care how it is made" but, there is generally a good deal of difference in strength between the index and the medulla. I would have thought that switching between the two would make for huge tension issues. Apparently not, since many of you say you also switch back and forth. I have used both hand positions, but never in the same piece of tatting.

  9. Thank you for sharing how you tat, we all have our own way of tatting but as long as it works out right, who cares!
    Your doliy is looking beautiful and lovely thread. Gosh the label looks vintage and possible the same thread (only a different colour) that I posted on my blog the other day, that was a doliy I started and doubt if I will finish it because I dont know if I can get any more of that thread.

  10. It is very interesting method of keeping the wire.
    You'll try.
    Your doily is beautiful.

  11. I'm finally commenting on this post!

    I was SO EXCITED to read that you use the 'crochet hold' - at least for the chains. I use the crochet hold for both rings and chains and will definitely dispute the idea that the tension isn't as good. I crocheted and knitted (Continental style) many years before I learned to tat, and I simply couldn't control the thread with my middle finger when tatting. I'm not happy that the crochet hold is not mentioned in books. When I demo tatting, I always ask if someone crochets - and when they see the crochet hold, they are amazed to know they can hold the thread that way. Miranda ("Tatting Fool") also uses the crochet hold! I'm glad I'm not alone and am in good company!

    ALSO - I noticed you have tabs on your blog now! I've just learned (thanks to "Journey") how to do them but haven't actually done them yet! Apparently one can put photos on the "Pages" too, and the photos can be linked to the blog post! You're always SO organized.

    And your patterns are beautifully diagrammed! I'm planning on doing your "Row of Crowns", as recently done by Sally Kerson in gold and red!

  12. Hi Jon, I was reading your post in HBT and then went to your blog. It's weird, I love fine thread, but since I've been recently tatting my Easter Eggs and things to hang in my window, I have switched over to larger thread now. Seeing your doily with you using size 50/60, it makes me want to use it again..! The pink variegated thread looks beautiful...!


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