Friday, March 29, 2013

Interlocking Rings made with Shuttle - Part 1 of 2

Last summer, thanks to the inspiration of other very talented tatters (see story below),   I discovered a way of doing  the Celtic interlocking rings using the slip-and-slide method of manipulating a shuttle.  ( I happen to prefer a bobbin shuttle with a hook, but that’s just my choice.)  

 I  explain my interest in and obsession with these rings at the end of this post and also in my own post of Aug. 6, 2012:
Although I haven’t updated my blog for a while (partly because of  ‘blogaphobia’ due to my difficulties with posting, even after four years!) ,  I am coming out of hiding because I want to share my ‘discovery’ with my fellow shuttle tatters, especially Fox!   : )   
This is my first tutorial, and I will be doing it in two parts.   (I’m holding my breath as I upload a total of  11 photos in this post! )      I hope to do the second part ASAP, which, of course, shows connecting the last ring to the first ring - (the part you’re really waiting for!).
In the meantime, you can practice making the rings. 
 NOTE THAT FOR THIS TUTORIAL I DID NOT USE TWO DIFFERENT THREADS.  I used a VARIEGATED THREAD (Lizbeth size 20, #621), and it just happened that my first ring was yellow, and the next ring was pink, etc.  ALSO, I LEFT THE THREAD ON THE BALL, as I found when I was learning to do these rings, it was a way of keeping track of the  first ring, especially if I used a single color thread.  It will just sit there and wait to be cut off later.  For the PHOTOS, I put double-stick tape on my board to keep the rings under control  
So here goes!  

The rings I’m making are 10 – 10. 
Bring shuttle thread OVER THE TOP OF THE RING and DOWN, forming a straight line.
(My thread is now pink).     Leave a distance of thread going to the shuttle.
PHOTO 2   
This is the key to  creating an interlocking ring:
Pretend you are doing a ‘down join’ :    Reach behind the straight (pink) thread in Photo 1, and pull that thread from front to back of the ring, creating a loop.  However DO NOT PUT THE SHUTTLE THROUGH THE LOOP.   You will ENLARGE THE LOOP SO THAT IT FITS OVER YOUR LEFT HAND, in your normal tatting position  (see next photo)
PHOTO 3   
Secure the loop around your left hand, in your normal tatting position  (I  use the ‘crochet hold’, but that’s my preference)

VERY MPORTANT: The bottom of the loop which goes through the ring is ‘near’ the  shuttle.
When you pull the shuttle upwards, the thread at the bottom of your hand moves with it. That’s when you know you have put your hand into the loop in the correct way. 


Start tatting the second ring near the BASE of the first ring.  (All the rings will be done from this position, and will start in this area at the base of the rings)
Don’t leave a thread space,  snug the first stitch near the base, but not too tightly.
In this photo, I’ve tatted three stitches on the second ring.
 Finish tatting the second ring
Start closing the second ring.
You can see that it will close ‘under’ the first ring,
creating the interlocked effect.  Pay attention to closing the ring by keeping the shuttle thread under and behind both rings.
The second ring is almost closed, and is going under Ring 1.
(The start of the ring is going ‘over’ ring 1.)
Remember to keep the shuttle thread BEHIND both rings and tug to the left to close the ring, the way you would normally close a ring.
PHOTO 8   
Second ring is fully closed.
You can ‘jiggle’ the ring to
’pop’ it into the ’over’ position.   
Shuttle thread is now in position to be brought forward over the front of the second ring, which is pink.
PHOTO 9   
 This is similar to Photo 1.   
Here the thread is in position to be pulled from behind to form a loop to go onto your hand
 (See PHOTOS 2 and 3)
PHOTO 10   
This photo shows the beginning stitches of Ring 3
PHOTO 11   
This shows the position that the rings are held as you tat all the rings counter-clockwise.
 I usually do five rings, then stop to do the sixth one, WHICH CONNECTS THE FIRST.    I WILL EXPLAIN THAT IN PART 2. 
My ’history’ with interlocking rings.  
I’m very interested in Celtic, 3-D and layered tatting. I first became aware of interlocking rings when I noticed them on Rachel Jackson’s blog (“Piney Woods Tatter”) around February of 2012.  I was fascinated with her use of them as a ‘center’ for her beautiful  motifs and pendants, and her VERY unique and ATTRACTIVE way of  building ’layered’ effects on those motifs and pendants.   Rachel is a needle tatter, and she generously shares her instructions for these rings - using a needle.    And it did seem that they could only be efficiently made with a tatting needle.   I CAN needle tat, but I prefer the shuttle.    
Therefore, I took notice around June 2012 when I came across Karen Cabrera’s blog (“Entre Lanzaderas”, in both English and Spanish)   and I discovered her amazing tatting tutorials (an astounding 100+ videos!), with #77 showing how to use a SHUTTLE to do the interlocking rings.   Therefore I realized that they CAN  be done with a shuttle, even though there may be a little fussing to join the last ring to the first.   My only stumbling block with Karen’s video was her Reverse Riego method of manipulating the shuttle, so I set about trying to figure out how I could use the slip/slide method of shuttle tatting.  After many experiments, I finally  developed a way of  making them fairly quickly – after a LOT of practice!  I have MANY sets of these sitting around waiting for enhancement into larger motifs!)
 Without Rachel’s amazing inspiration and Karen’s showing me the way,   I doubt I would have come up with achieving these rings on my own! 


  1. You make this look so easy! Hurry with the next part!!! Your tutorial is perfect for me. Have wanted to try this but was afraid of the frustration. I think I could do this least this far..... Thanks for the directions.

  2. Thank you for the first part of the tutorial! I've bookmarked the page so that I can come back to it when I have a little more time.

  3. Thank you thank you! Your tutorial is easy to understand and the pictures are great. I'm thinking now that maybe I can actually do this. :)

  4. Thank you so much for doing this. I seem to be having a problem between photo 8 and 9--popping the ring into place. If I fold the new ring down, my rings lap in the opposite direction, but the shuttle thread is coming out of the last ring on the right side ready to start the next ring. When I try to get them to overlap as in your picture, the base of the rings get distorted.

  5. Wow! I haven't even tried this technique yet and here you are writing tutorials - you go girl!

  6. Thanks very much for the tutorial, which is very clear. I will try this. It's different to how I was doing the interlocking rings because I put the shuttle through before closing the ring. Your way should be easier. Looking forward to the second half, because that last ring was the really tricky one!

  7. Wow Kathy that is a great tutorial they are not easy and you have done a great job showing how to do them. Well done

  8. Hi Kathy, Thank you for this and I am looking forward to part 2. I am going to try this out now.

  9. Thank you for dropping by my blog to follow up with me, Kathy. Instead of trying to explain, I'm going to play with it a bit today to see if I can figure it out. If necessary, I'll get one of my daughters to video what I'm doing so I can send it to you for your review, if that is okay with you?

  10. I'm back to report my progress. As I was closing the 2nd ring this last time, I noted the placement of your threads in that 2nd ring. Mine didn't look quite the same making it hard for me to keep the shuttle thread behind both rings as I closed the 2nd ring. I tried posting the shuttle through the 2nd ring from front to back which repositioned my shuttle thread. This made it much easier to keep the thread behind both rings as I closed the 2nd. I've posted pictures at my blog of my finished practice piece. Kathy, do you post your shuttle through your rings before closing them?

  11. thank you for the tutorial and look forward to No. 2. I also shuttle tat. I have been intrigued by the interlocking rings and the work Piney Woods has completed. Your way looks easy and now I am inspired to give it a try!

  12. Kathy..... get to the next part quickly please. I am waiting. This was soooooo easy to do that I want to see how you do the last part.

  13. Great tutorial! Bookmarking this, for sure. Excellent photos and very clear instructions.

  14. Thanks everyone for your enthusiastic responses! I'm working on Part 2, but with the holiday weekend I'm being interrupted in a happy way, getting to visit with family (fortunately I don't have to cook)! I want to make sure the next part is very clear! Hope those of you who are celebrating have a great holiday!

  15. BRILLIANT! After only two tries I am with you and my rings look good. Looking forward to the last join!

    Thank you!
    Fox : ))

  16. Thank you, thank you! Your instructions and pictures were easy and clear so I have five nice looking interlocking rings waiting until after our Easter celebrations. I'm thrilled. Have a blessed Easter, Karen in OR

  17. Hi Kathy,
    It was great talking to you at Brady's Run. As always your work is gorgeous! It's great that Peg, Evelyn, and you still demonstrate tatting at local events.
    I went thru your tutorial step by step no problem at all.
    I also just found a PDF of line drawings at Karen Bovard's site for interlocking rings.

  18. Hi Kathy... trying again to connect with you... my email address is I am the guy that created the Tatted Victorian Lady - I have done some photos for you. Murray. PS - I tried to use the Google sign in but it takes me to stupid places and then my comment doesn't appear (Ad Ware problem on my machine maybe)

  19. Thanks Kathy, I have yet to try this, and I wouldn't be able to do it on my own. I appreciate it greatly! Your learning well...

  20. I must try this, although it looks a bit too advanced for my limited skills.

  21. I was happy to meet you on Friday in Wexford at the car show. You inspired me to get out my shuttle and thread again. Your blog is very interesting. Linda Chaney

  22. Kathy, the Dutch tatting guild is trying to contact you. May we please have your email address?
    Please contact me at
    Thanks, Georgia

  23. I see its been a while since you have last posted on your blog. I hope all is well with you and yours. Would this be a bad time to ask if you have the pattern for the darling slippers completed? You know I would so love to make this for a Victorian tree. Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. *smile*

  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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