I tried something new last night. When I was at Hobby Lobby the other day, I found this very pretty nylon thread stocked by the tatting supplies. It’s a variegated #2 nylon thread. It was pretty inexpensive ($3.49 for a 300 yard spool), so I bought it, and last night used it to tat the by-now-infamous bookmark as an experiment.
It was interesting. It’s more like nylon cord than thread, and completely changes the texture of what you’re tatting. It’s not soft, for one thing, and definitely has a different texture, which makes it simultaneously awesome and a pain to work with.
Consider every type of nylon twine, cord, whatever, that you’ve ever worked with. Getting a knot to stay in nylon is an exercise in near futility. You generally have to tie several knots in one rope to make it stay, however long it will give you. That’s how it is to tat with it. On the one hand, mistakes come out pretty easily because of that very property of the material…unless you closed a ring. Then you can forget it. Nothing you do is going to make that ring open up again. Ask me how I know. I spent the better part of an hour this morning trying to open a ring the way a tatting website instructed (I can’t remember which one): pull apart the stitches at the picot, and the ring should open easily. This may work with normal thread. I can assure you that it does not work that way with nylon.
Nylon has kind of a bumpy texture from the two strands being twisted together. It’s a bit harder to close a ring because of the texture, and impossible to open a ring for the same reason. Once you tighten that sucker, it’s never opening again.
It’s not bad to work with, once you get used to it. For the first few rings, I was positive I was never touching the stuff again. It doesn’t act like thread, regardless of what the packaging calls it. It’s nowhere near as pliable, and yet it’s much easier to remove stitches. They slide right out. They’ll hold well enough when you make your double stitches, but you have to watch them. Sometimes when you release the tension on your shuttle thread, the working knot flips back over into it, and if you’re not watching and don’t realize it, you’ll go to close your ring and find out your thread won’t move and have to pull out stitches back to that point and do it over. The good thing is that when you insert a pin, needle, tiny crochet hook into a stitch to pull it out, it comes right on out, no grief given. That, alone, inclines me toward using it again! With the bookmark that I’ve made–repeatedly–I reach the halfway point with no issues. After that, there are two or three mistakes that I make consistently. On the first side of the bookmark, every third ring has two picots and does not attach to anything via picot until you’re doing the second side of the piece. When you start that second side, every third ring has one picot, and attaches directly across to the picots of every third ring on the first side. Am I making sense?
Well, I consistently forget to make that attachment, almost every time. Another mistake I make constantly is that between the first and second ring, and the second and third, there is a chain made. Between the third ring, and the first in the next set of three, there is no chain. You make the third ring, then immediately make another ring. I, however, get into this trance. Ring, chain, ring, chain, ring, chain, ring…oh, dammit, I did it again! As long as I haven’t closed the ring, the mistakes come out easy as pie. With cotton thread, that’s something I have trouble with, especially with the smaller sizes of thread. With size 10 thread, it’s not as bad, although I can manage to fray that pretty well too, but with size 12 and smaller, holy cow, I may as well just start over, as much fraying as I create in trying to remove an error! So from that standpoint, the nylon is fantastic!