Sunday, July 4, 2010

Do You Use Loopers?

Do you use loopers?  Is there a method to your madness?  How do you see where each thread end is supposed to go?  I am going loopy using loopers!

For the final round of my doily, I need to make 16 motifs and attach them to each other and also to the doily as I go.  Each motif has a center ring, and then rings/chains to attach to that center to make flower petals.  I either need to sew in a lot of ends with a tapestry needle, or use loopers to ease that dreaded chore of hiding ends. I have been trying to use loopers, but I'm not sure I'm doing it correctly. The joins don't lay nice and flat the way I think they should, and it seems like sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  I sometimes can't even pull the thread through - it seems much too tight, though my tatting doesn't necessarily seem tight to me.

For the tiny center, I start by tatting over the tails of my looper about halfway, and then tat over another looper leaving just a couple of stitches in between. 

This way, when I close my ring I have a loop at each end to pull and hide the ends.  I try to use different color thread for the loopers, and then make sure to pull the ending thread through the beginning looper, and the beginning thread through the ending looper.  (Clear as mud?)

It seems like sometimes this works, and other times it doesn't.  I don't quite know why!  But, I've made several of these little centers so I don't have to stop and do these little buggers as I do each motif.  Is this how you would tackle these?  I have no idea how to do this with a split ring to do the entire motif in one pass.

When I get to the next round of the motif, I start with a looper in the first ring.  I've tried putting it in the very beginning of the ring, and in this picture I put the looper at the end of the first ring - which seemed to work better to pull the final thread in, but doesn't lay as flat as it seems like it should.  At the very end of the motif, I put a looper in the final stitches of the last chain.

At this point, I joined the pink thread (shuttle) by pulling it up through the base of the first ring.  It makes sense then, to pull this end back into the chain with the orange looper to hide and secure the end. It has been joined to the ring, so pulling it back through the chain won't let it come apart.  Then, I pulled the green thread (ball) thread through the green looper up into the orange ring.  I think this is correct after carefully not pulling the threads back from whence they came and unraveling the whole thing.  [I've done this, too!]  

 Now the join doesn't look nice, but I'm not sure what I've done wrong.  I can find directions for the Magic Thread Trick, but I still don't quite get that other little thread.  Seems I have enough dangling threads just doing two loopers!  I feel like a fuddlefingers.  I certainly hope what I've done so far doesn't come apart . . .

Does anyone have any suggestions?  Am I making this waaaaay more difficult that it needs to be, or do I just need some more practice? 


  1. My eyes glazed over immediately! I am NO GOOD with this technique. NEVER use it. Gives me hives....
    Nice photos, though! Good luck!
    Fox ; )

  2. Do you realize that without intending it, you've created a kind of tutorial on using the MT? The pictures are wonderful. And though there are no answers, the questions point out things to think about as you're trying to learn the technique. I hope someone with a lot more experience than I have comes to the rescue with a few answers,

  3. Those are really beautiful photos, and such a pretty colour. As you say sewing ends in is a chore and loopers leave bulky joins.

    I think you're doing it right, but with loopers, you pull through with two threads and leave just one thread in there. I don't think there's any way to avoid those unsightly bulges (although I keep searching for it).

    With split rings and split chains, I can see how to bring the thread count down from 4 to 1, but that's another technique to give people hives :)

  4. Fox - do you sew in all ends with a tapestry needle or some other method? I really hate all those ends!

    Beelizabeth - you're right - it did end up to be sort of a tutorial! Sometimes I learn best by those questions I ask myself - and writing them down seems to help! Thanks for the visit.

    SunshineCraft - thanks for your insight. I'm glad to know that maybe there's just no way to avoid that bulky look. I see you've mentioned some other hiding end methods on your blog too - I like the needle threader idea. Thanks for visiting.

  5. I have yet to be successful with magic threads. My frustration led me to perfect the art of hiding loose ends with a needle! Next time I tat something, maybe I'll try again using your pictures.

  6. Yes, I use a fine tapestry needle. I actually do not mind sewing the ends, but I loathe threading the needle as the ends always fray and I don't like the fiddliness of the threaders.

    Wish there was a better way to thread a fine needle...

    Fox : )

  7. Good gracious, I admire your persistence! As a very tight tatter, I never had much success with the looper technique. I would go through all the steps (including the annoyance of working around those blasted loops) and when it came time to pull the final ends through the loops, they wouldn't pull through!

    So, like Steph, my frustration led me to perfect the "pull stitches through under the bar" sewing technique.

    Hats off and big applause to all tatters who succeed at the looper technique!

  8. Steph, Fox & Isdihara - I may be joining you in perfecting that sewing in of thread ends. Ugh - I really don't feel like I can do that neatly either. I am, however, a stubborn Scandihoovian.

  9. Cindy. I try where I can to use the magic thread/looper in chains if possible. Also not threading them into the first half ds of the first chain and the last half ds of the last chain so that those final stitches don't tighten up too much and make it hard to pull through. (Also keeps the pulled thru thread on the back).

    If I HAVE to use them in rings I also miss threading it through that last half ds for the same reasons.

    Bet that is as clear as mud too.......

    I LOVE your work!

  10. Liyarra - what you are saying is clear! Maybe that first/last half ds is my enemy when trying this. I think I have been skipping 1 half of a ds, but possibly at the beginning or end opposite of what I should be doing.

    Maybe I should have been using the looper in the first chain instead of the first ring?

    I need some more practice! Thanks for the tips.

  11. Muy buena explicación ....gracias...

    Very good explanation .... thanks ..


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