"But, really, why does anyone create? You feel a... a restlessness inside, a need to make something new, something no one has ever seen before. You want to add to the beauty and the richness of the world with a gift, an offering that is uniquely yours. It's an act of selfishness and generosity, all rolled into one."

-- Bruce Coville,
The Last Hunt

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Working with Doubled Threads

Here's the latest snowflake, "Angels in the Snow"; see sidebar at right for pattern information.

You can't tell in the scan, but I used a doubled thread for this one. The main thread was DMC tatting thread (size 80), and I wound it onto the shuttles with a Coats and Clark metallic thread. The metallic is also white, so all it does is add some sparkle. It's a very fine thread, so you have to have really good light to see it; unfortunately, it's cloudy today. But I know it's there.

As metallic threads go, this Coats and Clark is pretty nice to tat with. As I said, it's very fine, so you definitely want to double it with a cotton. But it's very smooth, not excessively stretchy, and doesn't kink up like some metallics do. If you just want to add a subtle sparkle to a piece this would be a good choice.

When I wind a doubled thread onto two shuttles CTM, I always find that there is some difference in the lengths of the threads between the shuttles, no matter how carefully I have measured them and tried to wind them together.

I deal with this by simply cutting the slack thread halfway between the shuttles.

I then start tatting as normal and tat over the tails of this one thread.

This way, at least one of the threads is CTM, so I only have one pair of tails to cover instead of two.

As I was working, I found that a small section of the cotton thread was slightly discolored, just enough to look dingy compared to the rest of the snowflake. I went ahead and finished, and when I was done I soaked the flake in a baking soda solution. That didn't work, so next I tried lemon juice, on the theory that if a base doesn't work, try an acid. Well, the lemon juice got rid of the discoloration, but I'm afraid it took a little of the sparkle off the metallic thread. Or maybe it's just the clouds today; I'll check again later when it's sunny. Now I know what works on a cotton thread if I ever have the discoloration problem again; but if there's also a metallic thread involved, I'll either cut that section out or start over, depending on where I am in the pattern. Live and learn, and the snowflake looks fine regardless.


  1. Interesting. I've never tried winding two threads CTM. I'm afraid CTM isn't something I use a lot!! I tend to just wind two shuttles (with two threads!) and hide the ends in the first ring and chain (or whatever!). Shame you've had this problem but I'm sure you'll find the answer to the sparkle.

  2. It's lovely! The lemon juice is a great tip, and one that I'll remember. Love the hints on using the metallic threads, too - thanks!

  3. Thanks for all the tips here! And baking soda v. lemon juice!

    I would never have thought to cut one of the threads. I like the idea of adding the sparkle.

    Your Angels in the Snow design is very pretty, and, as usual, your stitches are perfect.

  4. beautiful! interesting mix of threads. good try.

  5. Lovely snowflake, not used metallic thread with my tatting, something to try in the future