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two_shuttlesMany new tatters are intimidated by the thought of using two shuttles. I’ve had students give me looks of wide-eyed fear when I tell them to pull out their second shuttle, and balk and make excuses and say they’re not ready, can’t we please just do this ring thing some more?

Let me reassure you, timid tatter, it is not as difficult as it seems. In fact, if you have mastered using the ball thread, it is the exact same technique, with the working thread attached to a shuttle instead of the ball.

Here are my top three reasons why you should give two shuttles a try:

  1. You will never actually handle two shuttles simultaneously. When you are tatting with two shuttles, you tat with one, and the other dangles, causing you no more trouble than a limp noodle. (Well, unless you have a kitty like mine, who thinks a dangling shuttle is an invitation to play.)
  2. It will dramatically expand your tatting possibilities. There are many beautiful patterns you can create with a single shuttle, many more you can make with a shuttle and ball thread, but until you have mastered the two shuttle technique, you are limiting yourself to maybe a third of all possible tatting patterns. (This is my own estimate, and I am being generous.)
  3. It will increase your confidence. If you confront this fear and find out it is not as bad as you expected, then what else could you do? Do split rings (SR) look intimidating? Self closing mock rings (SCMR)? Single shuttle split rings (SSSR)? Abbreviations? Try them all! You can do it, intrepid tatter!

For these reasons, and to see the flip in two colors, I’ve started teaching my students with two shuttles from the beginning. Since I have done this, every student has left my three hour intro class with two-shuttle-chains, rings, picots, sometimes joins, and the confidence to go home and practice it on their own. If these newbies can do it with two shuttles, so can you.

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