April 14, 2013

Sunday Tutorial: Needle Tatting Lesson 1

Needle Tatting Lesson 1
Last year I mentioned doing a tutorial on needle tatting. Well, I finally put together a little lesson for the first half of a double stitch.
There are many different ways to tat, and you'll find many youtube videos that demonstrate various methods of tatting and different techniques.
This is how I needle tat.
I hope you have a tatting needle, but, if not, you can use a long doll needle.
The first thing you need to do is to blunt the end of your doll needle, otherwise you’ll be ripping your skin.
Please excuse the fuzzy nature of some of the pics--it’s hard to take photos with just one hand!
Take your needle and as thick a thread as you can fit through the eye ( this helps you to see the stitches better. You can use thinner thread once you’ve learned the steps to tatting) and leave a long tail. This is called the tail thread. I find it easiest to tat off a ball of thread, so the thread going from the ball to your needle is called the ball thread, natch.
 You want to have a long loop (thread length about a foot for practicing) of thread in your left hand, and your threaded needle in your right hand. For tension, I wrap the thread around my left pinky, forward in front of my palm and over my thumb to behind my index finger. It’s the way I hold my yarn for casting on my knitting needles, and the first half of the ds (double stitch) is like a simple cast on for knitting.

 Holding the  needle in your right hand, make sure you have some pressure near the eye to hold the thread and keep it from unthreading. Then take the needle under the thread in your left hand between the thumb and index finger, turning your wrist towards your body and slightly downwards to come from the back of the thread. ( see pics if this isn’t clear. Well, sorry, the pic isn't clear either...lol))  Pull the needle away from the left hand, allowing the thread to pull off the index and thumb.
You now have the first half of the ds on your needle. If need be, adjust the ball thread to keep a long loop.

 Now, you can repeat the first half of the ds (d) to create a chain
 I think it would be a great idea to practice starting and doing reams of the d to build up a rhythm and comfort with this before venturing further.

The stitches will naturally twist while on the needle, and while you are pulling them off the needle.
  When you’ve made a long ‘rope’, place the index and thumb of your left hand on the needle just beyond the top half-stitch and place your right finger and thumb at the sharp end of the needle to hold it.
  With the left hand, pull the stitches slowly down the needle toward the eye, and off the needle onto your long tail.
(Note the loop created by the ball thread as you pull the stitches down the needle)
  Watch the tail and loop so they don’t knot, and when you can not pull the stitches any further, adjust the stitch tension, and tie a knot using both thread ends to hold the tension on the chain.

 tie a knot

You have created a chain of half-stitches! Yay!

 Be aware of the tension in your stitch-- too tight and it’s hard to get it off the needle.

Keep practicing.

When you are comfortable with doing the d half-stitch, let me know and I’ll write up the next part.
Do let me know if any parts of this are not clear (besides the photos!) and I'll try to clarify the instructions. 
Please let me know if you have any questions, okay?
Happy tatting!
Hugs from Suz


Debra Spincic said...

Thanks, Suz! This reminds me of crochet. I have some tatting supplies so will have to get them out to practice this week.

Judy S. said...

Thanks, Suz! I, too, have some needle tatting stuff somewhere; now to find it!

ladyhawthorne said...

I will need to wait to start learning this, too many irons in the fire right now and I don't want to create more UFOs.

Cy said...

Oh thank you Suz, I will be trying this asap. Will let you know how I get on.

Suztats said...

It'll be great to get your feedback on this, Ladies. Thanks.

Carol-Ann said...

Suz, would love to give this a go. What size tatting needle and perle do you suggest, please?

Suztats said...

Hi Carol-Ann. I think the largest needle (#3) is the best one for beginning. Perle 5 or 8 should fit it nicely, but you could use any thread (the fatter the better) as long as it fits in the eye easily. It needs to be able to move through the eye without tugging. Hope you have fun with this.

Stiching4fun said...

Suz, thanks so much for posting this, hope to give it another whirl tonight, I was having trouble with sliding my stitches down off the needle.

Suztats said...

Were you making your d stitches too tight on the needle? I used to do this often. If your stitches are tight, pry off one or two at the eye moving them off the needle, then a few more, and the rest may slide off with a little persuasion. Don't worry if the stitches spread apart when you try this, they'll tighten up again as you pull the stitches along the tail thread.

Debra Spincic said...

I have the cast on but I am having trouble with the correct end of the thread to be used for the tail.

Is the thread that is wrapped around your hand, the thread from the ball? Are you casting on from the length of ball thread?

Or, do you cast on with the long tail thread?

I'm thinking this is one of those times when you need to make sure you have a long tail or you could cast on and then be short.

(Does any of this make sense?)

Debra Spincic said...

I think I figured it out. I'll post my pic for Sunday.

Suztats said...

the thread around the hand is the ball thread: the tail thread is not used for casting onto the needle in this case. You cast on with the ball thread, yes.
The only time you use the tail thread is when you do split rings and that’s a later lesson.
The tail thread just sits through the needle eye for this lesson and needs to be about a foot or so long to push the cast on stitches (d) down the needle and onto the tail thread.
Does this help?

Debra Spincic said...

Yes, thank you!