What is CTM? This is a common abbreviation for Continuous Thread Method. Which is…?

Let’s back up. Grab your shuttle and get ready to make this pattern:

R 3-3-3-3. RW. Ch 3-3-3-3. RW. R 3+(to last p of prev r) 3-3-3.

If you worked through the last lesson on reading patterns, there is one abbreviation here I haven’t mentioned yet: Ch, which stands for chain. Can you figure out the rest? Here’s a little game: try sketching out on paper now what you think this pattern will look like, and check the video later to see if you got it right.

So, you’re getting ready to make this pattern, you’ve just wound your shuttle and are about to cut the shuttle thread from the ball. DON’T! Leave it attached! This time, pull off some thread between your ball and shuttle, grab the middle of the thread between the thumb and forefinger of your working hand and wrap the shuttle thread around your fingers to make a ring as normal. At this point you will ignore the existence of the ball of thread hanging down from your hand.

Make the first ring of 3ds sep by 3 p, then Reverse Work (turn your ring upside down). Hold your ring between the thumb and forefinger of your working hand so that the two threads are coming out of the top of your fingers (where you would normally hold your last stitch). Now, pick up the ball thread and wrap it over the fingers of your working hand to make a chain. Tat the ch of 3ds sep by 3 p, pull the stitches close together, and RW again.

At this point you have a ring and a chain, and are ready to make the final ring of the pattern. Drop the ball thread again and pick up only the shuttle thread. Begin making the second ring at the end of the chain, and after your third double stitch, join to the last picot of the previous ring. Notice that the last picot you made is now the closest one to your new ring. Handy, right? Finish the ring and close it.

That’s your pattern. You’ve just made two rings connected by a chain using the continuous thread method. This is sometimes called “tatting off the ball,” since you are tatting with the ball still attached. That is, a continuous supply of thread. Not chopped off. Get it?

Next time we’ll go over tatting with two threads that don’t start off attached to each other, but for now, play around with this. Here’s the video:

This post is part of a series of Absolute Beginner Tatting Lessons. Go back to the previous lesson,Reading Patterns and Making Projects, Part 1, or jump ahead to the next lesson, Adding a Second Thread and Hiding Ends.