Tatting to the End
This antique sample example of "sewn" picots demonstrates what a nightmare of tails to be hidden could exist back in the "old" days.
This is a good reminder that when we start to tat we need to start at the end by considering how to finish off the tails of the thread.
And what an array of methods we have to help us.
To Hide the ends:
1. Don't hide them at all if you are going to glue the tatting down or applique fabric. If gluing, then simply bring them to the back and glue. Later glue the entire piece down to the styrofoam or other shape in use. If appliqueing the lace to fabric, use a very fine crochet hook to pull the tail ends to the back side of the fabric and stitch down as you sew the lace on.
2. If the item will be seen on one side only and it is not planned to be worn, then the ends may be whip stitched to the back side of any ring or chain. Separate the threads in opposite directions and use a very fine sewing needle with either a sewing thread in a compatible color or use invisible thread.
3. If the item will be seen from both sides, but it is not planned to be worn, the thread ends may be "woven" back into the tatting: a. thread tails on fine blunt tapestry needle and weave under the "bars" of the double stitches around the ring or chain. Trim close and allow end to recede back into the tatting. Again, take each tail in opposite directions. This method is noticeable to the practiced eye.
b. thread tail on fine blunt tapestry needle and insert into the bottom or end of closest ring or chain. Wiggle the needle so that it enters the "tunnel" in which lays the foundation cord. If you have very tight tatting tension, this may not be possible for you, unless you plan ahead and tat the particular ring/chain to be used a little looser. Come up thru the tatting about mid/ring/chain but not in the middle of a picot and trim close allowing the end to recede back into the tatting. This method may show a little if the ends of the tail are fuzzy.
c. If your thread is a soft multi strand twisted fiber, you can separate each tail into 2 or 3 strands, thread each end onto a sharp embroidery needle and "sew" into the ring /chain. Be aware that separating the fibers destroys the tensile strength of the thread and it will disintegrate when stressed. This method seldom shows.
If the item is to be worn, seen from both sides, to be exhibited, or gifted at important occasions, one of the following methods would be preferable to those already listed.
4. Tat over the tails. Plan ahead so that the next segment to be tatted will be a chain. Leave the tails long and overtat as you work:
a. leave tails about 4" long, run a drop of blue down them and twist together. Let the ends stiffen into a point, or thread ends on blunt tapestry needle. Tat first half stitch and after the loop has been transferred, stop, insert the stiffened tip of the tails or the needle into the loop thus formed following the shuttle thread. Hold both tail and shuttle thread together taut and tighten half stitch. Bring tail/needle to front. Tat the second half stitch and after the loop has been transferred, insert the stiffened tip of the tails or the needle into the lop thus formed, again, following the shuttle thread. Hold both tail and shuttle thread together taut and tighten the half stitch. Note that the tails enter the loop following the shuttle thread alternating from one side to the other. Also remember to tighten the stitches extra tight as you are covering more than one thread. Do this for the complete length of the chain. This method is almost invisible if you keep good tension when tightening the stitches.
b. Apply the split ring tatting technique to overtat the tails by laying the tails along the shuttle thread and holding together. You may either use a third hand, clamp or alter the position of your left hand (for right-handed tatters) so that the forefinger and middle finger are together and extended full length while the thumb, ring finger and pinky hold tight to the last stitch previously made. Tat the stitches in reverse order, i.e., second half stitch tatted first, and pull extra tight since again you are covering more than one thread.
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