Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Hiding Ends

We've been having discussions on In Tatters about how to finish a piece of tatting, whether it is acceptable to just knot it and leave it or whether you should always sew the ends in.  We all came up with our different methods and I said how much I disliked having to sew ends in.  We then moved on to split rings and how to hide both ends into a single shuttle split ring.  Then Patty D. said how she does a similar thing even when ending on a chain.  So of course, I had to figure out all these methods and people were asking questions so I made a second "pictorial" to show how to hide two ends in a SSSR.

Here is a link to the pictorial:

The link will now stay in the side-bar under the "Techniques" heading.

So then I gave some thought to the problem of when the last ring is an attached ring where you can't pass the thread over the ring to anchor it as you do a normal SSSR.  And I thought of a solution.

The next pictorial will show how to do this as well.

Hope it's helpful.  I find most of the time that a picture is so much easier to understand than words.

Best wishes,


  1. Thank you very much.I just practice SSSR , and this is very welcome pictorial.

  2. I have been tatting 40 years and today you show me something I have not tried, will have a go at this, I always end up doing knots, thanks for finding this.

  3. You're very welcome. I love learning new techniques and from my point of view, anything that helps finishing without knots or having to get the sewing needle out is well worth it. I will also show how to end with a chain as soon as I have time to take more pictures.

  4. Lovely and clear tutorial - and such pretty nails too!

  5. LOVE IT. Is there a way to do your photo tutorial in another place than flicker? so that I can save the pics for future reference?

    I am also gathering this only works if the last ring is not joined to other ring, correct?

  6. Hi Connie,

    I'm not sure where else to put my photo tutorial... do you have a suggestion?

    Yes, you are right, this only works if the ring is not attached (because you need to anchor the thread by passing it over the ring) but I've just been playing with this some more and have figured out how to do it when the ring IS attached. Just not had time to make another pictorial. Basically, instead of hiding the end coming from the chain in the first half of your last ring, you use it to anchor the thread at the end of the ring instead. As usual, hard to explain in words. Will try to do some more photos as soon as I can.

  7. Hi Frivole,
    I also checked out your 'chain' tutorial too, I can't wait to finish some of my crochet and knitting, so I can get back to some tatting and try these. :)

    On the posting,,,How about in a blog post? Or even Picasa online. They let you save the photos from there. Flicker don't. I can understand both sides though. helps preserve copyrights. But at same time, makes it hard to save such wonderful tutorials as yours.

    I have a question though on the chain,,,that won't work out at all? I am just so fasinated. I know how to work my beginning ends in,,,and I tried the 'magic' thread a couple times, but I just tat toooooo tight, and always end up breaking that 'magic' thread lol!

  8. Hi Connie,

    I'll try putting photos straight into the blog post see how that works out. About the chain finish, you have to play with it and experiment yourself. You DO have to be careful not to pull the thread too far back into the chain or it can fall apart. I find with a few tries that I can feel under my fingers as the thread goes back inside and you just want it two or three stitches back. Now, this is how I like to do it but please experiment and decide for yourself, I wouldn't want to be blamed for anybody's tatting falling apart! I'm not advocating anything, I'm just showing the methods I like to use.

    These methods are not for everybody and of course, a knot and then weaving the ends in IS a very secure method of finishing tatting. It's just my aversion to the sewing needle (only when it comes to tatting mind) that's caused me to search alternative ways of finishing.

    I've just taken photos of how to finish when the ring is attached (which, let's face it, is the case more often than not!). So will be posting those.

  9. Awesome Frivole!!! I am so fascinated by what you have done with this, I can't wait to give it a try. I think that is one reason I have taken such a break from tatting. I LOVE the tatting part, just not the dealing with the ends. I have no problem hiding the starting ends, just those darn finishing ends LOL!

    Thanks again so MUCH for sharing your technique!!!

  10. My pleasure. Thanks for all your positive comments!

  11. Hello Frivole,
    That is very clever.
    How will you do when the last ring is an attached ring, where you can't pass the thread over the ring to anchor it as you do a normal SSSR, and when there is no chain nearby either, like in a all rings pattern?
    Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. Hi Claire,

      Did you see this other post? http://leblogdefrivole.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/yet-more-on-hiding-ends.html

      Though this needs a chain nearby to execute it. I have not worked on this for a while so I would need to refresh my memory. I am always re-visiting methods and trying out new things and I must admit that lately, I have been partial to using "magic loops" to hide ends and you could put two of these at each end of your last ring and hide one end down each side of the ring. However, if you are working a ring only pattern as you suggest, you would actually have only one shuttle and one end to hide. If the last ring is attached though (as it most likely is!), you are right, you wouldn't be able to anchor the loop around the base of the ring… I think in that case, the magic loop is probably your best option, placed in the first part of your ring and not in the last so the ring won't fall apart when you pull the end back in… or sewing ends in of course.
      You could also use a spare bit of thread to anchor your end but for my part, I'm a bit sold over to magic loops at the moment and that method has worked better for me than the one showed here because it lets you make a knot with both threads first which is more secure before pulling them back in.
      This answer is getting very long and perhaps too complicated! I think I'll stop here for now. :-)

    2. Thank you very much for your answer Frivole.
      I had seen the other post indeed, but was wondering about an all-rings pattern about how to anchor the ring.
      I ended up using the 'magic loop' trick because I hate sewing in ends, and find the result 'neater' with the magic loop, despite the added thickness where the thread is hidden.
      I usually do an additional (2nd) half stitch at the end of my rings, and I found that if I don't run the magic loop (in the last part of the ring) through that last half stitch, it is enough to anchor the ring so it won't fall apart when I pull the end back in.
      I am not sure to understand your last paragraph about "a spare bit of thread to anchor the end" but I will read it tomorrow after a good night sleep and hopefully get it. ;-)
      Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and tips. Have a great week.

    3. Of course, you will get the added thickness too with this method as you are pulling back the ends along the core thread. But I do find (especially with the magic loop) that it's practically invisible. I was introduced to magic loops by Jeanie Schekel - she makes them with beading wire like Fireline. They are very fine (much finer than tatting thread) but they still work great for pulling back the ends. Like you said, I also don't put the loop in the last half stitch (or the first depending on where you are adding your loop) and that makes it a lot easier to pull the ends in.
      My comment about using a spare bit of thread to anchor would require enough stitches so that if you put a small bit of spare thread in the loop of your folded back thread before you pull back, the spare thread would slide back partway along the core thread and hold the end in place inside the core thread channel. This is when describing tatting techniques with words starts to sound impossible!! Photos or a videos would make this easy to understand! :-))
      As I said in my previous message though, I do find that I use magic loops much more often nowadays that the method described in this post.
      I hope you find what works for you. Best wishes, Frivole

    4. Thanks for the tips Frivole.
      Today, I used polyester thread (Penny 30) as a magic loop. Being thinner, it worked better than my cotton one, and glided nicely inside the stitches.
      I love the magic loop trick. It is so much faster than sewing the ends in.

  12. Glad it's working out. And I agree with you, so much better than sewing ends in (a job I have always disliked!). :-)


Thank you for taking the time to write a comment, it's always appreciated!