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Supplies for Beginners
There are many beautiful and expensive shuttles
which can be purchased, but the one I find most practical is the
plain plastic shuttle with the hook built into the end. The Aero
and Inox shuttles come with extra bobbins, which are very handy.
If you wish to change projects and have a lot of thread still
on the bobbin, just change it out with a blank one and save it
for later. These are generally about $6.00 or less. You will want
to own 2 shuttles if you find you like to tatt and wish to try
some more advanced designs, but to begin learning one shuttle
and one ball of thread will do nicely.
The Susan Bates shuttle which appears to be like
these has no extra bobbins, and a fatal design flaw. On the Aero
and Inox shuttles, you can use the end of the shuttle for a bobbin
holder while you wind it. On the Susan Bates shuttle, the manufacturer
evidentally didn't understand this, and the bobbin doesn't fit
on the end. Also, you sometimes have to sand down the interior
so the bobbin will wind smoothly.
The elegant looking shuttles with a point and no
hook on the end, a traditional design, have a built in post in
the center for a bobbin. The shuttle does not come apart, so you
have to wind it by passing the thread through the pointed ends,
while you hold onto it in the middle. This is a somewhat awkward
process, and can be hard on the thread. Pretty is as pretty does,
unless you just want to start a shuttle collection. This shuttle
design is also preferred by some celtic tatters, for passing over
and through a design.
No. 70 tatting thread comes on the really cute,
tiny little balls labeled "tatting thread" that you
can find in hobby and needlwork stores. Victorian tatters used
from 70 to 100 size (tiny to even tinier) thread. It is not a
good size to try and learn to tat with. I recommend starting with
#8 pearl cotton (or even #5, which is larger), or crochet cotton
sizes 10 or 20. The #8 pearl cotton is roughly equivalent to the
#10 to #20 size in crochet cotton. Modern stores sell oversize
shuttles for use with #5 craft thread, but you will likely outgrow
these as soon as you get the technique down, and want to use the
Are you confused yet ? On all of these threads,
the larger the number, the smaller the thread. The smoother the
thread, the easier it will slide into knots, thus the pearl cotton
is wonderful to work with. However, a cleaner looking, harder
thread will make better-defined, tidier knots; hence, the #20
crochet cotton and the tiny #70 threads make wonderful pieces
also. It's a matter of personal preference. Try some of the variegated
threads in any of these; it makes a very interesting piece. These
are all fairly inexpensive. If you really must work with expensive
and hard to handle threads, you can also buy silk threads from
This is the only other thing you absolutely have
to have. Little embroidery scissors are attractive and elegant.
However, I still prefer a pair of nail clippers because it allows
a good clean cut close to the work.
You can't buy this, but I highly recommend cultivating
it. It's only thread. If you get too frustrated put it down and
try again later, or just start over.