Lately I’ve been thinking about unorthodox construction methods in tatting—one of which is the chain to nowhere, kind of the contrapositive of the split ring. I’ve been starting most of my pieces with a chain, and noticed that the un-anchored chain tends to curl up a bit, putting me in mind of streamers (or tentacles; I’m working on a tatted cthulhu and/or octopus design). Once in mind of streamers, I thought of birthday party balloons, and decided to see if I could put together a festive balloon-inspired edging. Judge for yourself how well I succeeded.
You will need a cut piece of thread, several yards long; you will be working from both ends so you can’t work straight from the ball. You will also need at least one needle, and the pattern is a lot easier with two (of the same size). I worked the above with size 10 crochet thread and two #5 needles; embroidery floss would also do well.
- Thread one end of the thread onto needle #1. If you are using two needles, it will stay there the whole time; this end of the thread is your needle thread. Leave the other needle loose for now, and begin the work at the center of the cut piece of thread. If you are only using one needle, you will need to pull it off the needle thread before step 3, and put it back on again after.
- Ring 8ds, join (picot in first iteration), 16ds, picot, 8ds. Rings should be worked entirely with the needle thread, as in my tutorial.
- With the other needle and the other end of the thread, line up the loose needle pointing in the opposite direction from how you would do a ring, so that you will work towards the eye of the needle. Chain 32ds. Thread the needle with the same thread you have been working with and pull it through, creating a chain to nowhere. Pull it tight, and twist it a bit with your fingers to get the desired effect. Pull the thread off the second needle and leave it loose.
- Using the first needle, make a quite ordinary chain of 12 ds.
- Repeat from step 2.
You may have noticed I talk explicitly about needles in the pattern; if you are a shuttle tatter I am sure there is a way to adapt this but don’t know what it is. If it helps, the chain to nowhere is the same as the second half of a split chain, for which there are tutorials around for shuttles.