Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Helpful Hints

I thought I would share with you my favorite tatting "necessities".  Those who shuttle tat have a wonderful assortment of gorgeous shuttles made in a variety of materials- some are lavishly adorned.  As a needle tatter, I have my own collection of play pretties.  Some items are not exactly aesthetically pleasing, but they all serve a specific purpose.

Pictured above are a couple of emery cushions.  The long strawberry one was my great-grandmother's.  The little purple one was made using nylon for the inner part as this keeps the emery powder tightly packed and contained.  The outer covering is a piece of quilting cotton.  This is my small one that gets tossed in the portable atelier box.  Emery is used to polish and condition the surface of tatting needles.  Other needle artists use it to keep pins and needles clean and sharp.  The spoon ring is used to push through needles when the humidity makes tatting difficult.  Also pictured is my little magnifying glass chatelaine.  I use this to examine my work- especially when I am doing dimensional work or what I call "over-tatting".

Mary Ellen's Best Press is a wonderful stiffener and does not leave a flaky build-up on your tatting!  I rarely stiffen my work, but when I need to, this is the only product I will even consider.  The Gripper is what I use when the spoon ring just cannot manage to push the tatting needle through.  They are basically a pair of hemostats marketed to needle workers.  I have a beautiful adonized green pair somewhere, but they refused to come out of hiding for the photo shoot this afternoon!

My acanthus leaf chatelaine is to the left.  This is my favorite chatelaine!  I have an abolone shell emery cushion, a size 15 mini hook, and a thimble case that I keep rolls of cut up dryer sheets in on this chatelaine.  Dryer sheets are most useful to all tatters.  Cut a piece off and use it to condition your thread.  The thread slides smoothly off the needle and flips beautifully for the shuttle.  

Here is what is usually by my tatting chair:  my trusty "Quilter's Cut & Press 1" for blocking/pinning my tatting, long thin quilting pins for pinning & shaping work, a gripper for pulling stubborn needles, emery cushions for cleaning needles, dryer sheets for conditioning thread,   my magnifying glass chatelaine for when I need to double check my work (& for when I forget where I put my glasses), and a couple of my other chatelaines.  One item on my large clip chatelaine that is super handy is the "Star de Tailor".  It looks like a large needle threader with a star bead at the top.  This little do-ma-hickey is the best thing for hiding thread ends!  Truly a time saver.  One item any needlworker cannot be without is a pair of quality scissors.  I prefer Ginghers, but also like Dovo, & Sajou.

To find your own treasures, check out the selection of tools at Silent Stitches and Nordic Needle.  I have purchased several silver needlework tools from Silent Stitches in the past and cannot say enough good things about this company!!!  Their customer service is top notch and your orders are shipped most beautifully.  Nordic Needle has lots of neat tools (Star de Tailor) and one of the widest arrays of needle goodies on the web.

As you can tell, I love my silver needlework tools!  They may be pretty, but they serve their purpose. Dryer sheets are not pretty, but they are useful for so many different things.  What helpful hints do you have?  I would love to hear about others' needleart gadgets and helpful products! 

NOTE:  I forgot to mention on yesterday's post that there are some antique jet glass beads included in the Halloween Give Away!  If you are not a follower, click the google "Join this Site" button to the right below the poll.  And remember, if you are a blog follower, you are automatically entered.

I will have some new tatting to share with you tomorrow, so until then...

Happy Tatting!


  1. That's quite a collection!

    Question about The Emery cushion: do you push the tatting needle all the way through to be able to clean the whole length of the needle or .....?


  2. That is a lovely collection! Isn't it fun collecting tools of the trade?

  3. Doesn't the emery sharpen the end of your tatting needles? I'm a needle tatter, too, but I don't have any toys. Waaaa! I'll have to get me some.
    Good tip about dryer sheets--I'd never heard that before. Thanks.

  4. Thank you for sharing your lovely work tools, you have a lovely collection.