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In the last lesson we started a project by working with two threads—the shuttle thread and the ball thread. This is a great method if you start out with the one continuous thread. Did you notice, though, that if you made a mistake and cut your thread off, that you didn’t have a connected shuttle and ball thread anymore? Yeah, that happens a lot.

What do you do then? Or what if you want to add a second thread at some point after you begin your project? That’s what we’ll be covering in this lesson.


First of all, you will always add a new thread to a closed ring. Not at the start of a new ring, not in a chain, but after you have just closed a ring and before going any farther. Also, the new thread should be wound onto a second shuttle and cut off from the ball.

Pick up your ring, and hold it so that the usable thread, the one you will continue to tat with, is coming out of the right side of the ring. Now poke the new thread through the ring and pull it down into the marginal gap at the bottom of the ring where the two sides come together. Pull it firmly.

Tie a simple overhand knot in the new thread to hold it in place, making sure that your knot is between the two ring threads. If you tie the knot around either of the ring threads, when the ring threads move around it will pull the new thread out of the gap.

Reverse work (turn the ring over) and wrap your new thread over your working hand to make a chain, with the shuttle thread (from the ring) becoming the base around which the chain will form. Alternatively, you could make a ring with the new thread, right next to the first ring.


The ring and chain you just made have two thread ends sticking out where they meet. The trick is to hide these inside the chain stitches as you make the chain.

Start over with a new ring, add the second thread and knot it between the gap where the ring comes together, and wrap the chain thread around your hand. Start making your first half stitch, and flip the stitch, but while it is still loose take those two ends and pull it through the loop of the working thread so that they lie along the path of the shuttle thread. Only then pull the stitch tight. Continue doing this for every half stitch.

I like to hide the ends under four or five double stitches, but three stitches will do in a pinch. The more stitches cover the ends, the more secure they will be as your project moves around over time. We’ll talk more about hiding ends, with more techniques and tips, in another lesson.

Here’s the video that shows exactly what I just described. Try it out, then try the pattern below.


Try this pattern using two colors of thread, one for the rings and one for the chains. Remember to add the chain thread after you finish your first ring.

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

Rep from *6 times.

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

Tie the end of the last chain to the gap in the first ring. If you have difficulties joining the last ring to the first ring, don’t sweat it. That will be another lesson soon.

This post is part of a series of Absolute Beginner Tatting Lessons. Go back to the previous lesson,How to Combine Rings and Chains with CTM, or jump ahead to the next lesson, Starting with Two Threads and Hiding Ends Under Picots.