, , ,

Adrian asked, “I’ve used metallic thread before, but I had a problem with chains. I could hardly tat more than a couple of ds before the thread unwound itself from my little finger. How did you manage to keep it in place?”

This is a common problem, and not just with metallic thread. The trick when making the flip is to relax the working thread enough that it will flip around the shuttle thread, but not so much that it falls off your hand.

How I effect this is to tat with the working thread caught in the groove of my little finger, so that when I relax the working thread, my little finger curls in and pinches the chain thread in place.

With this technique I can 1) keep the working thread where I want it, 2) when I relax my left hand the shuttle doesn’t pull down and tighten the thread, and 3) the thread never restricts circulation on my last fingers. This way I have control over what the thread is doing.

working thread is caught in the pinkie grooveHere is the working thread wrapped around my last two fingers to make a chain. Notice how the thread is in the groove of my pinkie finger.


working thread is held when pinkie curls inwardThen I curl my pinkie in to lock the thread in place.


pinkie holds working thread in place when hand relaxesNow when I relax my fingers to loosen the working thread, my pinkie holds the dangling thread in place.

This trick might not work for everyone, but when I show it to my students it does help a lot of people. Try it out, and if it helps you, then you’ll have another tool you can use to make tatting easier!

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