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Many tatting shuttles have a pointy* end, which is useful for picking out a stitch or two, or pulling loose a picot that tightened down a little too much, but sometimes that useful pick becomes a tiny dagger. When you’re tatting at full speed and suddenly get stabbed by a poorly placed thrust of the shuttle, it is easy to let slip vocabulary not fit for small ears.

Instead of throwing that shuttle in the trash with the bandages, try repositioning your grip. Here are a few hints:

  • If the pointy part has a curve, keep the curve always pointing downward.
  • Face the pointy end backward—toward the hand holding it, not the working thread.
  • Check your finger position when holding the shuttle. Your fingers should be in the middle of the shuttle (at the highest and lowest points of the arch) for greatest control.
  • Position the thread so that it is coming out of the back side of the shuttle on the side opposite you. This will find you fussing with the thread less, and using the shuttle more reliably.
  • Slow down a bit. Tatting too fast can hinder your precision.

how to hold tatting shuttleIf these techniques don’t significantly reduce the number of punctures in your hands, you could file the tip a bit or try another shuttle. One not bearing built-in blades.

*How about a hook? Shuttles with a hook often catch thread whether you want it to or not, and these same suggestions can help. Hold the hook downwards and pointing backwards (into the hand that is holding it), with fingers in the middle, thread coming out the back opposite side, and go slower.