~Interlocking Rings

posted Mar 3, 2013, 7:34 PM by Karen Bovard Sayre   [ updated Nov 25, 2013, 1:49 PM ]
Click on the PDF file below (Interlocking Rings2003 pdf) for a How-To tutorial on Interlocking Rings.

Interlocking rings are very simple to do....you just create a ring and before you close the ring drop the shuttle through the ring, leave a loop of the shuttle thread,  and then close the ring by pulling the loop of shuttle thread.  

Interlocking Rings are 'Ring-Only' patterns (no chains between ring elements). 

The space of bare thread between the rings is important to the visual appearance of the finished piece.  The bare thread between rings is actually hidden in the piece in the way that the rings stack up. 

The size of the space of bare thread between rings is important to the appearance of the rings:
  • Too small of a space = the interlocking rings will not appear as individual rings, but look more bunched up.
  • If in doubt, err of the side of too big of a space of bare thread between rings.

It seems to me that judging how big of a space of bare thread between interlocking ring is no different than judging size in any other ring-only pattern. 

I have often stated that judging how big of a space of bare thread between ring-only patterns is THE most difficult aspect of tatting!   Use of chains that have been defined for the tatter by the pattern designer alleviate this judgement for the tatter.   We just follow the ring-chain pattern and it comes out right.

Interlocking Rings are innately not stable.  When tatted properly (shuttle dropped through ring before closing it; appropriate space of bare thread between rings) the final effect will appear to be a bunch of tatted rings that do not look like anything you expected.   You must coax them into position by twisting the group so that they lay in the same plane.  The bare threads between the rings should be hidden to the back of the work, behind the rings.  Then once they are in position and look like 'interlocking rings' you must pin them or sew them to a backing to keep them in place.   I'm not sure if starching them stiffly will get them the stability needed for them to stay in place.

They do stabilize well by being tatted into a continuous circle (see the two rounds on the motif example on another blog page--Interlocking Rings Motif).   The last ring tatted must be interlocked with the first ring tatted.   Before starting to tat the last ring--the shuttle thread must be passed through the 'First Ring'.   First though, the rings must be twisted/turned to their final position.   I estimate the amount of thread that I need to tat one ring, then add a little more and cut away the shuttle.  Thread the cut end through the first ring, then the last ring then the first ring by going through each ring in order from top to bottom.  The cut 'shuttle thread' in now encapsulated appropriately in the first and last rings.  Using this thread tat the final ring.  You can either 'finger-tat' the cut end or put it on a needle and use 'shuttle tatting with a needle' technique or you can quickly knot this thread end to the thread still on the shuttle and tat as normal with a shuttle.  This final ring can be closed as in normal tatting technique and you are done!
Interlocking Rings Motif posted Mar 19, 2013, 7:17 PM by Karen Bovard [ updated May 23, 2013, 9:14 AM]
This is one my examples of how I used Interlocking Ring tatting technique. In this picture it is unfinished. I have a favorite tatting-related tool that I made this for. The more I think about it, this piece is actually a prototype piece that I worked out the dimensions. The actual piece does not have picots continuously around the outer edge. I shall have to look for the piece--I believe I made two separate halves in different mixes of the three colors of thread used in this piece.

Karen Bovard Sayre,
Mar 23, 2013, 12:37 PM