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Catrina asked, “I am trying to tat a beginner’s level hens and chicks pattern, and where you would hide tails in a chain, I have a thread length. This is causing extra strands to show and every time I try to work through it anyway I end up knotted up where the thread wont slide like it’s supposed to. Do you have any suggestions for me? Thank you so much! I appreciate your help.”

This is a common problem for ring-only patterns. In this situation you are tatting with a single shuttle and making rings only, so that when you move from one ring to another there is a bit of thread in between, like this:

adding thread ring only 1Now when you run out of thread, and try to add more, you end up with extra tails, and don’t have the luxury of a chain to hide them in. So where do you hide those ends? Since you can’t hide them in a chain, you have to hide the ends in one of the rings.

First, tie your new thread onto the old one where you want your ring to start. A simple overhand knot is fine. In these pics, I’m using two colors so you can see the difference, but you would normally continue with the same color.

adding thread ring only 2

Second, with your new thread tied on, form your ring with the new thread and continue tatting. I am tatting over the two tail ends (one tail from the new thread and one from the old thread) as I go, but there are a few methods of hiding these tail ends.

adding thread ring only 3Here are a few additional methods of doing this if you forget to tat over the ends or just don’t want to. I suggest watching the videos on the Magic Thread Trick, Sewing in Ends, Method 1 and Sewing in Ends, Method 2 to see which one appeals to you best. These are all on how to hide ends, and if you are successfully making rings of double stitches you have enough experience to tackle these lessons.

Once you have the tails hidden in four or five stitches, cut them off and simply continue your ring as normal.

adding thread ring only 4You now have more thread to work with in your ring-only pattern.

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