9 May 2015

The Tatted Wheel

The tatted wheel is one of a number of basic tatting motifs, tatted with shuttle only. This motif is common in the early tatting books/booklets.  It can be with a small ring in the centre or without. What I can say is that it is not as simple as it says in the pattern.  This post is about tatting that wheel with a ring in the centre. This is a sample that I tatted recently,

Now, I don't know about other tatters, but there are a number of things here that is a pain to me.

First, I dislike tatting motifs with bare thread spaces. I never can guess how much of the bare thread to leave before starting the next ring. Then, there is that small ring in the centre. I always fail in trying to figure out what size picots to make for that small ring in the centre.

That small ring sometimes also make an appearance in patterns with rings and chains, as seen here;

Most early patterns would ask you to tat that small ring, cut the thread and tie into a knot to complete the number of picots required.  Then you tat the outer round and join to that small ring as you go.

While I have not really found a fail-proof solution for estimating the bare thread space, there are now ways of making that small ring in one go as you tat the outer element.  Here are two methods that I have used to get out of having to cut-and-tie for that small ring.

First, if there are chains joined to that small ring (as in the red motif), I will work the pattern with two shuttles. I start the pattern with the outer round that will be joined to that small ring. I tat the chain as in the pattern but stop at the point where the patterns says to join to the small ring.  Here, I take the other shuttle and make a thrown ring off the chain following the pattern for that small ring. I make sure that I leave a mock picot space at the start of the ring, and make the other picots in it about the same size as the mock picot space.  Close the ring and continue as per the pattern.  The next chain will then be joined to the picot of that small ring.  No more cut-and-tie.

For a ring attached to a ring as in the firt picture, it is not quite as straightforward. Thankfully, there are are wonderfully clever tatters who have come out with a method of avoiding the cut-and-tie for this case. There is now a technique of making a ring on a ring with shuttle only, also referred to as loop-tatted ring.  With this technique, I was able to do this,

and this,

Here are links to tutorial for this techniques available online,
Karen Cabrera's video and Jane Eborall's tutorial in printable form.

However, I ended my loop-tatted ring in a slightly different way from the ways shown in the video and in Jane's instructions.  In both, the shuttle is passed through the final loop and the end result is the thrown ring touches the ring that it is 'sitting' on.  (I hope this makes sense).  In the case of the small centre ring, I need to leave some space to make up the number of picots in that ring.

If you observe the photo above, you'll notice that I have left a small bare thread space before starting the loop-tatted ring (with picots). This bare thread space will complete the number of picots needed in that small ring in the centre.

I anchored the core thread of the loop-tatted ring by bringing the core thread over the loop-tatted ring, as you would close a single-shuttle split ring.When the loop-tatted ring is closed, I leave another small bare thread space before tatting the next doublestitch. This second bare thread space completes the mock picot.

No more flimsy small rings to cut-and-tie and ends to hide.


  1. Your description is exactly why I avoid patterns with bare threads! I'll have to try these techniques you've described... more on my to-do list!

  2. How clever! I love looking at tatting blogs for the beauty of the work and the inspiration they provide but every so often there's someone who shows a new and/ or better technique especially for something that I've "disliked" for years and I want to reach through the Internet and shake your hand! Thank you!

  3. Yes, that's how I usually close loop-tatted rings too.

    Another modern way to do the wheel would be to start with the center ring, leaving a long tail. After closing the center ring, make the first ring of the next round as a split ring, using that long tail to tat the second half, and leaving a mock picot between the center ring and the split ring.

  4. That loop-tatted ring looked crazy-complicated at first, but Karen's video was very helpful. Seems a bit fiddly, but I am going to try it. Interesting post, Jon. : )

  5. Love the tatted wheels, they are gorgeous.

  6. The doily that I was working on (from Rita Weiss' book) and still pending had that middle ring. I think I went through at least five restart because I could not find the exact length of the picot. It is still not perfect but it will have to do.

  7. Very interesting post which I enjoyed reading, thank you for writing it

  8. I love the purple motif, just perfect creation and realisation !

  9. Nicely explained Jon!!! Even I prefer to tat avoiding cut-tie thread method. Loop tatted ring is perfect way! Thanks

  10. fioletowa serwetka jest super!!!


Thank you for your comments. I really appreciate it