"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

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Loop Tatted Rings-- How and Why

A couple of days ago, I posted my new earring design, which makes use of loop tatted rings (LTR's). I said I might make a tutorial on LTR's, and here it is. I wanted to make a video, because I think it would have been easier to follow. Alas, it turns out I only have two hands, and that's not enough to tat and focus the camera at the same time. So until I recruit a helper, this is the best I can do.

What exactly is a LTR? It was developed by Bina Madden as an extension of Matthew Takeda's single shuttle split ring technique. However, the LTR is not used as a split ring; it is a means of making the shuttle thread pass through a bead both before and after a ring, so that the bead will sit just below the ring without having a thread pass outside the bead. In one pattern, Bina also uses LTR's as a way to tat a ring on a ring. I personally still prefer to use the SCMR for this, but it's good to know that there is another way of doing it.

LTR's will be easier to understand if you know how to do a single shuttle split ring. If you are not familiar with SSSR's, please see Anne Bruvald's video demonstration.

I will show two methods of closing the LTR. The first is the original way, and is exactly like closing a SSSR. The second is a modification that allows you to make joined LTR's.

To begin a loop tatted ring, pull a large amount of thread off the shuttle.

Next, place a bead on a crochet hook. (You don't actually need the bead to make the ring, but there's not much reason to use a LTR without a bead). For most seed or bugle beads, I recommend a 0.5 mm crochet hook.

Grab the shuttle thread with the crochet hook and slide the bead onto the thread.

Put the hook down and enlarge the loop of thread above the bead.

Wrap this loop around your left hand, just like making a regular ring. I pinch my tatting with my middle finger instead of my index finger, but if you use the index finger, do it the way you're used to.

Continue to pull more thread through the bead, so that you have a small loop after the pinch. This loop will act as your shuttle thread while you tat the ring.

Finger tat the first double stitch using the loop. Make sure that the first stitch is snug up against the bead, but not too tight.

Now that the first stitch is made, the loop is secure, and you can adjust as needed. Pulling one side of the loop will cause the ring to start to close; pulling the other side will move the shuttle thread. You can thus enlarge the ring if you need to, just like you can with regular tatting.

Continue to finger tat the rest of the ring, using the loop as your core thread. Keep your tension nice and relaxed. If you tat too tightly, you will have trouble closing the ring. This photo shows the ring ready to be closed.

ORIGINAL METHOD for closing the LTR: This is exactly like closing a SSSR. First, pull on the side of the loop that will close the ring.

After closing the ring, you will be left with a very long loop.

Wrap the loop over the ring so that it sits between the base of the ring and the bead.

Pull gently on the shuttle thread to tighten the loop.

Continue pulling until the loop is completely tightened.

MODIFIED METHOD for closing the LTR: If you have joined the LTR at any point, you will not be able to wrap the loop around the ring. This alternate method of closing the LTR eliminates the need to wrap.

Pull one side of the loop, as above, to close the ring itself. Then insert the crochet hook up through the bead.

Use the hook to pull the loop down through the bead. The loop will now lie next to the shuttle thread.

Pass the shuttle through the loop.

Pull on the shuttle as before to tighten the loop.

I hope this tutorial has been at least vaguely comprehensible. Please let me know in the comments if you did or didn't understand. If it didn't make sense, I'll try to do better.

Here are a couple of examples of other ways you could use LTR's.
This is the beginning of the earrings I designed. Four regular rings and a split ring form the cluster. Then a bead and LTR, and the threads are in position to start the chain. By the by, I've now written up the instructions for the earrings if anyone is interested.

This could make a pretty edging. Even though these are technically rings on top of chains, you don't need a second shuttle for this, because the LTR's are finger tatted. In fact, I take back what I said earlier about there being no need for LTR's without beads. If you find yourself wanting to make rings on top of chains but don't want to wind another shuttle, just use LTR's. By extension, you could also use LTR's on top of self-closing mock rings, with or without beads, since the SCMR is really just a chain with the end brought around to meet the beginning.

Right, it's time to make lots of pretties with beads and LTR's. Get on it, all you designers!


  1. Brilliant description - must try that myself!!! Thank you.

  2. Ah, Jane, I knew you'd be the first out of the box.

  3. This was really clear and helpful, I have to try this out soon :) Thanks!

  4. Thank you so much for showing how to do this bead adding.

  5. Easy to follow but am not very adventurous in tatting - I don't even do split rings to climb out of rounds.

  6. Thanks Miranda. It's an excellent tute. I copied it and saved it to pdf so I can take it home and try it out tonight! After I finish the motif I'm working on.

    And it's no fair that Jane gets the first comment. She's up hours before those of us in the states!

  7. Fantastic tutorial!!! You've done a great job of explaining it. I wish I'd had this guide when I was learning to make LTR.

  8. Hey that's a nifty pictorial! I'm going to link to that on my techniques list so I can find it again! Thank you! :D
    ~TattingChic ♥

  9. Brilliant. I will have to try and work this into some of my patterns!

  10. Thanks a lot! Between the photos and the detailed explanation, I believe I completely comprehend... will have to try!

  11. Well ya, boo, sucks, Gina!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Another must-try technique! Thanks for sharing your excellent tutorial. The bling factor, plus having more flexibility in designing makes this a win-win!

  13. Excellent directions and photos! I've just started working with beads, and will definitely try it. Would like instructions for the earrings. Thanks for all you share!

  14. Well written instructions. Will have to try this after I learn the split chain. No problems with split ring. It does make a nice edging.
    Linda NM

  15. I'm just as impressed with the work that went into this tutorial as I am with the subject! Excellent job!!! I'll need a really quiet moment to study all this, but I very much like the results. I haven't worked a lot with beads, but I hope to experiment.

    After 20 years of tatting, I'm amazed at all the techniques that I either never knew about or that were evolvling without my knowledge! During my tatting demos in the early '90s, I can still hear myself stating, with great authority, that once you learn rings and chains, that's all you'll need to know! LOL!

    I'm also pleased to see that you tat the way I do - pinching with the middle finger and thumb. We're kind of few in number!

  16. Interesting way to work the beads and rings! The photos are good, and very detailed.

    I wanted to let you know your box has arrived, just before I fly off to Shanghai. A little mishap though, the lid of the cookies came loose and the biscuit crumbs oiled the envelope of your beautiful card and the fabric bag a bit, but luckily not much harm done. Most of the biscults are still in the cookie box and we changed the container. I love the cinnamon cookies :) thanks for everything!!

  17. Hi Singtatter,

    Thanks for letting me know the box got there. I'm glad everything is OK. I can't wait to see what you make with it!

  18. I guess I have come late to the discussion, but I wanted to let you know that I am in AWE! How do you come up with things like this? It is one of the most marvelous things I have ever seen. And...you shared it!! Wow, oh wow! Thank you so very much.

  19. I just got over here to check out your blog and I find this very educational tutorial on LTRs. When I first saw the pictures of it I couldn't imagine how it was done. After I read through this I was going "that is sooo obvious" - but I would never have thought of it myself. I'm going home tonight to see if I can do this. Thanks so much for the instructions on this - great job!

  20. I have just follwed tyhe link from Yarnplayer's blog, what a wonderful tutorial and thank you for showing something so different, I am going to try this.

  21. Just want to let you know that this tutorial is totally useless to me due to a lack of contrast between the font and the background. Even if I select all I still can't read it.

  22. Estou adorando tudo que voces estão ensinando, só que sou do Brasil e não sei como falar com voces, espero que entendam o que estou escrevendo. Muito obrigada pelos seus ensinamentos. Abraços
    Vaquiria Ruggiero

  23. Guauuuuuuuuuu....¡cuánto detalle!...gracias por compartir esta explicación tan didáctica. Lindo trabajo.

  24. Grazie molte per le spiegazioni!!! Da tempo cercavo un tutorial così facile da capire. GRAZIE ancora!

  25. I have often thought that my tatting was done incorrect because I held the pinch with my index finger. Thanks for making me feel more "normal". I can't wait to give this a try. Cheers,

  26. Finally I found your method I had seen before on internet!!
    I'll try it and introduce to Korean tatters on my blog.

  27. Your explanations of these things are the clearest I've found - thank you!

  28. Thank you for this Great tutorial, Miranda !!!
    I have been using this, now, for the last couple of weeks, with excellent results. I am even substituting the SCMR with LTROR.
    Your step-by-step pics are a Great help .
    Hugs :-)

  29. I've never seen this method. Looks to be very interesting. I will save to my tatting files for future reference.