Learning to tat is challenging me quite a bit more than anything else I’ve tried. It has taken me days, actual days, to figure out how to make and flip the loops correctly, make a passable ring, and then join the rings together. I’ve watched innumerable video tutorials, read tons of written tutorials, and still it took days, but finally, I’ve figured it out enough to make the two small pieces pictured. Not much, I know, but quite a bit more progress than my first attempt!! For me, at least, it’s proving difficult to learn.
Now that I’ve (sort of) got the hang of rings and joins, I decided to try chains. As of right now, I haven’t yet found a tutorial, video or otherwise, that makes sense to me. I’ve nearly thrown the shuttle across the room in frustration a number of times. A couple of things have stopped me from following through on that desire. One, it would be childish. Not that I’m totally above childishness by any means–I do have two young children and occasionally find myself sinking to their level–but I have to draw the line somewhere. Two, I refuse to be beaten by a teeny-tiny piece of plastic. That’s just not an option here. And three, if I threw it, as cluttered as this room is, and as small as the shuttle itself is, I might never see it again…until I step on the pointy end. I have a feeling that though it may not hurt as much as stepping on a Lego (if you have kids, you know exactly what that feels like!), it is still bound to be an unpleasant experience.
So, in the interest of maintaining my sanity, I have put the shuttle down for a few hours.
Honestly, I think I had less trouble learning the basics of naalbinding! Part of my problem lies in using the #10 crochet thread, I’m sure. The stitches are so small they’re hard to see. On the other hand, I don’t understand the chain concept no matter what I use!!! For instance, the book and the tutorial all mention the “ball thread”. Okay, I understand that there’s a thread that is attached to the ball, and another thread that leads to the shuttle. What I don’t understand is how and where the ball thread enters the equation, and can you make a chain with just the shuttle thread? If not, and you have to use the ball thread, where is it and how is it attached while you’re creating the ring? I’m completely at sea here. I’m still hunting for a video that I actually understand. Eventually, I’ll find one, I’m sure. There must be that one person out there that’ll have a video that finally makes that “click” for me, I’ve just gotta keep digging.
One of the nicest things about tatting is the cost of materials. A ball of crochet thread is well under $5, as well as the plastic shuttle. I finally figured out how to use the Aerlit shuttle, and I love the hook at the end for pulling thread through the picots, but the vote for ease of use goes to the Clover shuttles. The bobbin of the Aerlit can get hung up, which doesn’t happen with the bobbin-less Clover version.
And, oh, my, the number of really cute shuttles available on Etsy is just mind boggling! But I had enough willpower to limit myself to just one that I ordered from a shop in Budapest, Hungary called Banyek (As a side note, it seems that all of the wood creations I like most come from overseas. I wonder why that is?). His shop has a ton of good reviews, so I’m looking forward to seeing the shuttle I ordered. I’m hoping he’s as good as Ampstrike, which is still my favorite shop for weaving tools. And now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder if he can make tatting shuttles as well…now I’ve gotta ask him!