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As I was getting ready to wind my shuttle recently to make a new motif, I noticed what I was doing and thought you might be interested too.

When I finish a piece of tatting, there is usually a bit of thread left over, or sometimes a lot, and I leave that leftover thread on the shuttle. When I have a new project, I simply tie the new thread onto the old one and wind it up.

leave a little thread on your shuttle tied

Sometimes I end up with four or five layers of color from old projects on a single shuttle. When it takes up too much room I peel off a few layers.

Why do I do this? There are a couple of reasons. First, it is easier to start winding the new thread since the shuttle is already wound and I’m just continuing that wound thread.

leave a little thread on your shuttle wound

Second, I find it frustrating to get near the end of the shuttle and have the remaining thread unravel when there is not enough on the shuttle to keep it wound. At this point I end up finger tatting until I can get to a convenient place to add more thread, and I can’t keep my regular tension this way.

Alternatively I could tie the thread to the post, but am always worried that this wastes a little bit of thread that I might need to finish the last few stitches. Tying a tiny knot near the end can take up as little as one stitch worth of thread. I’ve run out near the end of a project too many times when I underestimated how much thread to wind on, so I guess I’m a bit paranoid.

Having the thread tied to a bit of old thread has the added advantage of letting me tat right to the very end of it while keeping the tension on the shuttle, as the old thread does the job of staying wound no matter how much new thread I let out, right to the last millimeter and the knot.

The only time I don’t use this trick is if I am doing a big project and want to cram absolutely as much thread on the shuttle as possible.

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