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Irina asked, “I am taking your suggestion to buy my first shuttle by david reed smith, but need guidance as to the correct size and your best suggestion for beginners. (i see some had other features i have no idea what they are for). i am primarily interested in doing doilies, linens, and jewelery, so i hope this will guide you in your recommendations.”

I’m sure you’ll be happy with any shuttle from David, but here are my suggestions. For a beginner, I recommend one without a spike. Until you’re pretty comfortable with your tatting hand motions, a spike will probably poke you a lot. Plus, you don’t really need one if you have a crochet hook or tapestry needle or similar to make joins and pick out any mistaken stitches—that’s all the pointy bit is for anyway.

As far as size, if you consider you have fairly average sized hands for a woman, then a 2.5″ or 2.75″ shuttle will probably fit you best. Order a smaller or bigger one if your hands are a bit smaller or bigger, and probably a bit bigger if you are a man.

shuttle recommendations

From left to right: David Reed Smith's purpleheart wood, Lacis, Clover, Boye metal with bobbin.

If you are also looking for brand ideas, David Reed Smith makes some great shuttles, and there are several other good options. Lacis, Clover and Aero make some decent plastic shuttles that I recommend for beginners because they are very inexpensive.

Plastic shuttles have the added advantage of being easy to bling out. Decoromana and Lace Lovin’ Librarian both have handy tutorials on how to make your shuttles pretty.

Some shuttles have bobbins in the middle but most do not. Aero makes bobbin shuttles which are quite useable, but the metal Boye bobbin shuttles I recommend against for beginners. Maybe others have had better success with these, but I find the bobbin unwinds too much and at the wrong times, and the thread gets caught frequently between the bobbin and the shaft.

There are many other great shuttle makers out there and I encourage you try a few.

What are your questions? Email them to me or leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them as well as I can.