The Perfect Tatting Shuttle?

This week’s tatting post is brought to you by Diane Caemartori, a tatter with seven years of experience in the field!

I love to tat, and I am addicted to collecting tatting shuttles! In the twenty plus years that I’ve been tatting, I have read quite a few discussions regarding the types of tatting shuttles, and which style is the best to use. The short answer is, the style that suits you. What are the styles of shuttles? I guess that could spark another discussion.

For now, let’s just look at what I consider to be the three basic styles of shuttles: flat, post, and bobbin.

Two Wooden Tatting Shuttles

Here are two examples of flat shuttles from my collection.

As you can see, the slits in the two ends allow the thread to be wound around a large area in the center. One of the advantages to using this style of shuttle is that a tremendous amount of thread can be wound on it. One disadvantage is that the thread is constantly exposed to the oils on your skin as well as the dust in the air. When using this type of shuttle, I turn the shuttle sideways when creating the double stitch so that the thread glides along the smooth, narrow edge of the shuttle, rather than passing across the thread.

Two Pink Tatting Shuttles Laying on Lace

The second type of shuttle is post shuttle.

These are readily available in a variety of colors and sizes. These two shuttles are made by Clover. I decorated the shuttle on the right using a paper napkin, glitter, and Mod Podge. The thread is wound around a post that holds the top and bottom of the shuttle together. These are a great go-to shuttle for me, because they fit my hand perfectly. The pick tip on the end is great for joining to picots or un-tatting mistakes.

Blue Tatting Shuttle Laying on Lace

Sometimes I prefer to use a larger post shuttle, particularly if I’m tatting a small doily using the continuous thread method (CTM). These Starlit shuttles from Handy Hands are available with and without a pick. They hold almost twice as much thread as the Clover shuttles, and like the Clovers, they are a lot of fun to decorate! I used fabric, glitter, and Mod Podge to decorate the shuttle on the right.

Bobbin Shuttle Laying on Lace

Bobbin shuttles are wonderful because they have a crochet hook built into the end of the shuttle, making it very simple to join picots.

A sewing machine style bobbin pops out of the middle so that the thread can be wound on it very quickly. The shuttle on the left is an Aerlit from Handy Hands. The piece at the bottom of the shuttle holds the bobbin for easy winding. The shuttle on the right is a modified Aero shuttle, decorated by La Cossette. The piece for holding the bobbin has been removed, making the shuttle slightly shorter, and a little more comfortable for me to hold.

Searching for shuttles can be a lot of fun! Finding shuttles in retail stores can be a challenge. I have found them at Hobby Lobby, Jo-Ann Fabrics, and Michaels. Be sure to look on eBay and Etsy for hand-crafted, vintage, and one-of-a-kind shuttles. There are several suppliers online. Just do a search for tatting shuttles, and you will be amazed at the number of shuttles you can find!

DianeWritten by Diane Cademartori: An elementary school librarian by day, and a tatter by night. Diane first became interested in tatting when she was given a tatted cross in high school. It took her twenty years to figure out how to tat. Then, when her friend Denise lent her a video, she was able to learn in about twenty minutes. She still dabbles in other fiber crafts, but tatting has been her focus for the past seven years.

What types of shuttles do you prefer?

12 Comments

Karen C.

Thank You. I impulsively signed up for the Craftsy tatting class late last winter, it looked interesting, fun, challenging. I thought I could find a shuttle at one of my local craft stores. The same ones that you mentioned, no such luck. I live in a large metro area but no shuttles, I have looked online but shipping charges really discouraged me from ordering. Will continue my search, your blog at least gave me some basic ideas of what I’m looking for and what type might be best suited for a beginner such as myself, and what options such as the crochet tipped or pick tipped, post wound or bobbin wound. Thanks again.

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Gail @ 2Create in Color

Love that you decorated some of these! I’ve only used the Clover cheapies I found at JoAnn, but until I’m more than an infrequent dabbler, those are good enough. Now I know more about the choices I’ll have when the time comes — thanks!

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Janet Knabel

How about a craftsy tatting class? Or hardanger embroidery?

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Jaden

Thank your the blog post about the different kinds of shuttles.

About a week ago I spontaneously enrolled in the shattle tutting class by Marilee and started looking for a shuttle. Not really easy to find one in a store even though I live in a larger city. I was lucky enough to find two different sized shuttles of the “post” kind and bought the larger one (which is not really that large at all).

I also have shuttle by La Cossette and to me it seems that it is worth every cent. It’s really beautiful, easy to wind, doesn’t unwind by itself and the hook helped me to undo my mistakes (and I’m sure it will be useful in the future). It is so much more fun to learn tatting with a pretty shuttle. :)

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Carole Rankin

I like the bobbin kind best. I fine the others too much of a pain to thread.

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Allison C Bayer

Ohhh, thank you for this article. I’d never seen a flat wooden shuttle before. Perhaps I have, but did not know what I was looking at. Will be checking vintage sewing and knitting boxes more carefully for one of these treasures!

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Catherine Thomas

Hi where would I find this pattaren think it lovey hun

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Shannon Campos-Hatfield

I prefer post shuttles, then bobbin, then as a last resort, flat.

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Carole Rankin

I like the bobbin kind best. It sometimes is a little hard to wind thread into the post kind.

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Carrie

I like the post shuttles best. I just got some celtic shuttles from handy hands which are like the flat ones but they are really thin too. I don’t think they will take the place of my post shuttles but I think they will be handy to have around.

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Arlene Medder

Flat shuttles are also good for projects with beads too large or too many to fit onto a post or bobbin shuttle.
Post shuttles generally hold more thread than bobbin ones. But with bobbin shuttles, you can load extra bobbins if you’re likely to need lots of thread but don’t want to take the entire ball with you to reload your shuttle.

As a general rule, I prefer bobbin shuttles, but I’ll go to post or flat depending on the project.

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Nila Atkins

I am fairly new to Tatting. and have learned finally how to use a tatting shuttle. I first tried the metal type using a bobbin, I really came to not like them very much. And then I learned how to Tat using the Needles. I have finally found the right shuttle it is a Moonlit shuttle that Handy Hands sells online. It has the metal hook on the end. This is a awesome shuttle to use, and it is my favorite so far.

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