Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Light Bulb Moment, Lock Joins, and Catherine Wheel Joins

A lady recently asked me a question on one of my YouTube videos.  It's the one that shows how to make a blipless join when working with two colours.  She wanted to know how to avoid a colour blip when making a lock join instead of a regular join.

Of course as only one shuttle is used for the lock join, you cannot use the other shuttle/colour to hide the colour blip as I do in my blipless join.  This needed to be explored... but the solution was simple in the end:  using a Catherine Wheel Join solves the problem.  If you look at the photo below, you can see that the CWJ is much neater looking as well as keeping the chain colour continuous.

One thing to take into consideration however is that the CWJ adds a stitch, whereas a lock join does not.

The problem with a CWJ though is that it doesn't "dip down" on the join like a lock join does.  You can see in the photo above how much sharper the angle is on the lock join than it is on the CWJ.  I found a solution:  I make the last half stitch before the CWJ and the first half stitch after it with a double wrap which makes the base of the stitch larger and thereby giving a better shape to the join area.

But that wasn't even the light-bulb moment yet!  I don't know about you but I was finding CWJs not that easy to do.  I often use to mess them up and had to take them apart and start again.  It may just be me, please let me know if you find them easy.  Anyway, whilst working these CWJs this morning, I just realised they are just the same as the stitches in a video I made recently on split chains.  That was the light-bulb moment!

I really like this way of making split chains which was shown to me by Marie Smith (see video).  Before learning that method, I disliked tatting split chains and tended to avoid them even though, like split rings, they can be so useful when designing patterns and wanting to move from one round to the next without cutting and tying.

What I realised is that it's exactly the same movements to make a CWJ, as long as you make sure the other shuttle thread is in the right place.  I will be making a new video showing this very soon.  Hopefully others who may be struggling with the CWJ will find it useful too.

Best wishes,


  1. I also found it useful to realise that CWJ and split chains are the same. Though in truth I find them both tricky! Sometimes I struggle to get into the right rhythm and sometimes they go fine.

  2. I love split chains, once I started using Marie Smith's method. There aren't enough places to make them. One place I’ve used them is in small baskets which I never would have done with all that cutting and tying so double bonus now!

  3. I also struggled a lot with the Catherine Wheel Join, but since I hate the lock join (I guess it is a matter of taste), I ploughed along. Making a lot of them shortly one after the other for a bracelet really helped me remember it without referencing the video I was learning from.

    1. Hi Lavi, that's interesting - so do you always use a CWJ instead of a lock join?

    2. From now on, that is my intention. My lock joins always look like they are sitting on top of the picot, no matter how small it is and it clashes with the normal joins.

  4. I recall when I had that light bulb moment. I do like the look of the CWJ.

  5. Great conversation can't wait to see your video ❤

  6. Interesting post, I am not fond of split chains, I use Marilee way of doing them, I look forward to seeing the video

  7. Great video for the split chain! I knew that the split chain could come in handy, but the written instructions always confused me. With your video, all the tricky moves, such as making the thread 'pop', or tugging on a thread, are difficult to get across with the written word, but are so easily seen 'in person', especially the way you show it.

    And I admit that I never did master the CWJ, and my 'Happy Heart' made with your pattern didn't turn out as perfectly as yours, so I will try that pattern again.

    The amusing thing is, I was having a Twilight Zone moment for your first few moves on the video! First of all, I always tat with what I call 'the crochet hold', with my forefinger up.
    (I also knit like that, using Continental method). Then your next move is the same as that which I do for the interlocking rings, i.e. bringing the thread in front and then pulling it through into a loop from the back.

    Then things change, of course. In my instructions for the IRs, the loop is pulled up to go over your left hand to form a ring. Then you just tat the next ring. (I hope you saw my links to my tutorials in my second comment on your post of April 22.)

    I have also discovered that Marie Smith is a member of Palmetto Tatters Guild, and has been a teacher at their Tat Days. It seems that she does not have a blog or website, but I applaud her development of this split chain method! And, as usual, I'm so impressed with your excellent video, showing how it's done!

  8. I am eagerly awaiting your video! I have not mastered the Catherine Wheel join, but I do well with the lock join. I've even become quite proficient at taking out a lock join. ;-) I would like to be able to have blipless joins, although the blip of color doesn't bother me.


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