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Thread: How do I tat with wire?

  1. #1


    Default How do I tat with wire?

    I bought a very thin wire that has decent flexibility and I want to try and tat with it as the thread. After giving it some thought I don't think that the traditional shuttle tatting I usually do will work. I don't think it would be a good idea to try and flip the wire. But this makes me wonder how on earth I am suposed to tat with it. LOL Have any of you done this before? How is it done?

    I thought I could do the tatting witht the ball thread so I don't have to flip it but that won't work for rings. Maybe I could do mock rings. I don't know. I figured before I tried to do it I should ask for advice from anyone who might have done it before.

    So, what do you think? Any advice/tips?

  2. #2
    Administrator PattyD's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do I tat with wire?

    Well, having tatted wire, I can share my experience. I find it most profitable to think of a single wire as one ply in a thread, so I use practically "no see-um" wire in multiple plies that works very much like thread. The wire size I use is AWG 42 and the type of wire is a nickel compound. The nickel doesn't fatigue as quickly as plain copper, so I can flip DS.

    I wouldn't try to flip tat with copper wire larger than a size 34. Again I would at least double it. But direct tatting (like a split ring) is quite a bit easier to do.

    Unlike thread which you don't want to handle more than is necessary, smoothing wire with your fingers as you are working is very helpful. The warmth of your skin and the ability to feel the state of the wire with your fingertips is very helpful in keeping the wire in a usable state.

    The biggest issue with flipping a knot with wire is to prevent kinks, which means you need to find a comfortable method to "encourage" the wire loops to stay open right until the DS is formed. I find the effort is a little tiring, so I limit wire tatting sessions to a couple of elements at a time. I would tat you some samples, but right now my right arm is in a cast!
    Last edited by PattyD; 08-01-2010 at 07:35 PM.

  3. #3


    Default Re: How do I tat with wire?

    Thank you Patty D for your response. It is very helful. My situation now is that it seems I've bought the wrong kind of wire. I wasn't originally planning to tat with wire in the near future, though the idea has alwas sounded interesting to me. I went to Joann's the other day to get some supplies because I am making myself a new bag to carry my tatting in. I like the one I have but I need more features. More pockets mainly. So I went to get zippers and a needle strong enough to do the job along with what I would need to add a strap because that was the greatest deficiency of my current bag. I can't tell you how many times I've almost lost my tatting somewhere because I had to keep it in my hands rather than hanging like a purse. When I saw the dark green wire at Joann's I talked myself into buying it because I thought the bag I was making would look neet with a simple motif made from the green wire attatched to one side. I havn't chosen a pattern yet.

    This wire that I bought is a dark forest green color (my favorite), 26 gauge copper wire. So I've obviously chosen wire that is too large and more likely to have fatigue problems based on your comment above. I didn't see any size choices at Joanns. Is there a way to make the wire I have work or would it be best to try and find something else. Can you get the nickel wire in a dark forest green color? Where would I look for this wire? Obviously it would be nice if I could make what I already have work since I've already spent the money on it.

    I'm wondering what kind of shuttle you use with it or if you even use a shuttle? I was thinking it would probably be best to not try and wrap it around the bobbins of my current shuttles. plus I wouldn't want to kink it in any way so the non bobbin shuttles don't seem a good idea either. I thought about using an empty thread spool but that would be rather cumbersome. It might be better at that point just to tat with the coil of wire without any type of shuttle. What do you think?

  4. #4
    Administrator PattyD's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do I tat with wire?

    I use my regular shuttles - Clovers, you may develop a preference for a different shuttle. Can't recommend tatting with a coil of wire because wire is slick and very quickly you will have a mess. You were very wise to jump on dark green wire, it is relatively rare. I look for fine wire in electronics surplus stores (the things we do for our art!)

    This is kind of silly. Send me your address and I'll send you some. I have tons of the stuff. I will send you a selection of greens from my stash.

  5. #5


    Default Re: How do I tat with wire?

    This sounds like fun - I would love to look at what this looks like. Do you have a picture you could post?

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  7. #7
    Chatter Box HJ Hess's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do I tat with wire?

    What? Tatting with wire?
    You are so very COOL!!!
    [URL="http://www.christianisrael.com/douay/B04C027.htm"]Hegla[/URL] J Hess, (yes, it is spelled H-e-g-l-a) see origin:
    [URL]http://www.christianisrael.com/douay/B06C017.htm[/URL]

  8. #8


    Default Re: How do I tat with wire?

    Oh my gosh tatting with wire, no way! I wanna try!

  9. #9


    Default Re: How do I tat with wire?

    I just gave it a try with my 26 gauge wire and I'm not loving the experience. I think I need some thinner wire.

  10. #10
    Administrator PattyD's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do I tat with wire?

    I almost forgot!!!!! When winding plied wire:

    1. Have each ply wound on a separate spool. I put my spools on a pencil or some other rod (tinker toys are good!) and then put the rod through holes in a suitably sized box. If the box is too light, weight it down with something (I like canned vegetables.)

    2. Unlike thread where we don't want to introduce extra twist and therefore walk the shuttle up the thread and hang the shuttle when extra twist intrudes itself, we DO want to induce a little twist on the group of separate plies, SO wind the thread onto the shuttle or bobbin. Can't recommend a Lady Hoare shuttle for wire since it would crease the wire. Each time you wind the plies around the shuttle you add a twist, which in the case of the wire helps it to hang together and makes it easier to tat.

    3. Also unlike thread, the wire needs to be handled and smoothed often. I run the plied wire over the handle of a crochet hook with enough pressure to smooth it (my crabby arthritic hands aren't up for the job.). My tatting rhythm becomes: unwind, smooth, flip, repeat.

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