Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Shuttle Design - Trials and Tribulations

Well, it's been an interesting couple of days!  But I think I'm getting somewhere.  I've been trying lots of things in my attempts at making myself a larger bobbin shuttle.  Many thanks to all for the suggestions I received in my previous post.

I started off by breaking apart a Starlit to see if there was any way of putting some sort of bobbin in there.

No, the shape of the centre and its length means that a bobbin would have to have a very large centre to fit over this post and would leave less space for thread on the bobbin.  Bin that idea.

Martha talked about her friend who would bend a Boye metal shuttle to accommodate a larger sewing machine bobbin…  It so happened I had a pair of those old Boyes… I chopped two tatting bobbins and glued them together to make a thicker bobbin… and I also cut myself a couple of times in the process!  Those craft knives are awfully sharp!!




Not bad.  That kinda works.  You can see in the image below how much thicker my newly made bobbin is.



Then I thought, perhaps I could stretch an Aero to do the same thing!  I managed to get my thick bobbin in there but it's too tight and the bobbin doesn't unwind easily enough.



Then this morning I received some of the larger bobbins I had ordered (thanks Maureen for the suggestion) - they are for industrial sewing machines.  They don't look that much bigger in the photo below but they are really.



Ninetta showed me the double bobbin shuttle she made from a plastic bottle so I tried making one and held the bobbin in place with the help of a screw from another shuttle I have.

Some of the plastic is clear so it look like the end is chopped off, but it isn't!

That didn't work very well as I forgot that the screw needs to be flush with the surface of the shuttle or the thread catches all the time.  No good.

So I went back to the Boye and massacred it a bit…  poor thing!  I gave it a shape so the bobbin would fit and that's not bad.  You can see in the image below how much bigger the Boye on top is compared to the standard one below.


Still not satisfactory though… and I don't really enjoy tatting with metal shuttles… I find them heavy and slippery.

I therefore went back to my favoured Aero to see if I could get that large bobbin to fit in there somehow.  The bobbin is definitely too big and too wide and will not fit inside the shuttle as is… so I decided to open one end altogether.  I made a hole and a peg to hold the bobbin.  I also had to cut out the dimple as this was getting in the way of the bobbin and that's the hole you can see.

Ha!  Maybe I'm getting somewhere.


Start to tat… but no it doesn't work with the open end at the back because it keeps catching as you reverse with your shuttle when making the knots, using the slip and slide method.  

No, actually, the bobbin needs to be in front!  I need to lead with the bobbin.  Seems strange at first but I can get the hang of this.  I moved the hook to what had now become the front of my shuttle… another problem:  it's not easy to make the join using that side as the thread gets caught around the bobbin and the hook.  No, that's no good either.  I still need to have the bobbin in front but perhaps I can move the hook to the back.



Try again.  Yes, that works surprisingly well!  I have to get used to a new way of handling the shuttle but having an open end around the bobbin means that it's easy to hold it tighter or looser between your fingers so that you can very niftily unwind thread as you need it, without having to stop tatting.  It doesn't take me long either to get used to using the hook from the back of the shuttle.  It's practically as quick as if it was in the front.  I'll have to make a video to demonstrate.



I've now modified this prototype again so that the bobbin is held in place with something similar to the dimples as they are in an Aero and removed the peg.  A peg can be problematic as it stays in place by friction only and because the plastic of the aero is quite thin, there is not much for the peg to hang on to.  So a "dimple" works much better.  It's also much quicker to change/refill the bobbin without a peg… and there's no peg to lose!

There is something else genius about this design… (are you still with me? I don't know if you've made it to here in this long blogpost!)… I have always found that the only thing I'd like to improve with Aeros is that it takes a bit too long to wind the thread back onto the bobbin when moving from a ring to a chain. Unwinding is instant and it's so easy to unwind thread from an Aero as you tat, without stopping.  But winding back takes a bit longer.  I've always wanted to come up with a solution to this and have had an idea under my hat for some time. This idea has yet to materialise but I have inadvertently found another solution with this design.  You can just roll the bobbin along on a surface to wind the thread back - SUPER SPEEDY!  I'll have to make a video demonstration of this as well because it probably doesn't sound very clear the way I've described it.  I LIKE IT!

Right I'm off to tat some more and will make the next row of my Jan Stawasz piece with my new shuttles to see how I get on.  As with anything new, it takes a bit of practice but so far so good!  

If this works out, I could even decorate these!

… to be continued.


Best wishes,
Frivole

40 comments:

  1. Does your library have a 3D printer? If so, that might be an option, as well. Most of them use FOSS software to plan things out.

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  2. Great experimentation & thought process ! So glad it finally worked out, & now we have a new shuttle design - turned right round it's head !!!
    Thanks for sharing all this (gives me courage to try some tinkering of my own), although I was Aghast at seeing the old Boye shuttles battered so ;-( It was my favourite tatting companion for decades ;-)

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    1. I know, sorry, I was a bit cruel to that Boye… :-)

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  3. I don't know that I'd have the brain power or the patience to try and create my own perfect shuttle, but it sure looks like you're on a roll! I love your new rewinding technique!

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    1. Well, it's still far from perfect! But it's an interesting process. Not sure still if I'll end up with a working model yet but we'll see… more work needed!

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  4. Looks interesting! Looking forward to seeing more of your shuttle experimentation :).

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  5. Wow- you are so amazing!! Once you have the design, you could try printing it with 3D printer instead of starting with aeros and deconstructing, then constructing.

    I LOVE the idea of the quick wind up. I'll be first or second in line to buy one of these!

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    1. Thanks Michelle! As I said above, it's far from perfect yet and I don't know if I'll ever end up with a "finished product"…. but your talk of 3D printers (and Garpu's above too) has got my brain cells going! I don't know where there is one but I'll try to find out.

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  6. What's interesting is how much work goes into the designing of a shuttle. I think we sometimes take them for granted. Thanks for showing us all the steps you took. I'd also like a quicker way to wind up.

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  7. Larger bobbin for more thread and the quick rewinding method and still have hook on shuttle. I'm liking this.

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  8. You know what this looks like? - those wooden "half" shuttles with the bobbin - I have one, but I just can't remember who made it, someone will know. It's exactly like your coboggorated version, in wood. I wonder if he, whoever he is would make you one? - you could always ask.

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    1. I've just remembered who it is: Oldtymeantiques Here's a picture:

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/8-Lovely-WOODEN-Tatting-Shuttles-w-Removable-Bobbin-Handmade-Unique-Design-/251834063963?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3aa27adc5b

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    2. Thanks Maureen! Checking it out.

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    3. Mmmm, interesting… but no hook though. I must find a solution with a hook. Although I suppose you could add one to the back of that one.

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  9. Bravo à toi!!!!! Quelle persévérance!!!!!!!!!! Tu es un génie de la navette!!!!!!
    Amitiés

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    1. Tu es trop généreuse Charlette! Je bricole, je bricole mais de là à savoir si ça va vraiment bien fonctionner… :-)

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  10. Genius! Thanks for showing us all steps. My favourite shuttles are post and very little, but this is interesting, love your idea.

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  11. Oh, my goodness. Can't wait to see your video!!!!

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  12. Wonderful to see the creative process, and it looks better than areo brand with your new rewind idea that was one of the reasons I never used that kind of shuttle the rewinding took too long!

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  13. I think you have come up with a new idea and something which you might find many tatters asking for. I think you have started a new trend without even thinking about it. Somewhere in the back of my mind I have seen a little machine that winds bobbins for sewing machines, would it work for your tatting bobbins.
    Margaret

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    1. Hi Margaret, I'm not sure what you mean with your machine… do you mean just something to wind the bobbins, or something I could incorporate into a shuttle design?

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  14. Hope this new shuttle idea works really well for you!!! :)
    I totally understand what you are saying about rewinding by rolling!! :)

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  15. Very interesting! Am a self taught tatter and I do not like winding the shuttle back up either. Also I've never been able to figure out the part of getting more thread to work with. I need to stop tatting and pull the thread from my hand. Have never been able to just slip it from the shuttle.

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    1. Hi Margie, do you use bobbin shuttles? That's a giant plus for me with bobbin shuttles: if the tension is just right (as I hope it is on my shuttles), you can just pull on your shuttle as you tat to let thread out of the bobbin, without having to stop tatting. So much quicker.

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    2. No I've never used bobbin shuttles, but this makes sense. Guess I will need to find one and try it. I'm still learning!!! Thanks

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  16. I was getting worried when I saw all the cutting going on but glad you have found a solution. I tend to use post shuttles as they are easier to obtain. The thing I like about bobbin shuttles is that you can load up a few bobbins ahead of time. Looking forward to more of the creative process.

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  17. Wahoo, superbe idée! J'ai bien hâte d'admirer les videos. Et en plus tu songes à les décorer! Si jamais l'idée te prend de vendre ces nouvelles navettes, je suis preneuse.

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    1. Merci Hélène. Pas encore rendue à un modèle que j'oserais recommander à d'autres mais on sait jamais… :-)

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  18. I'm bedazzled by this post! Such patience, perseverance and ingenuity - plus some cut fingers! Reinventing the wheel, so to speak - pun intended!

    I was delighted to read the last part about rolling the shuttle on a hard surface, because I've been doing that for 25 years! I call it my 'choo choo' wind. :-) I never wanted to mention it because I anticipated criticism for it. (It's bad enough that I use the 'crochet hold'!)

    It means that I always have to tat with my hard-case tatting box on my lap, which has a 'mouse' pad on top of the case, taped down with craft tape. (The reverse side of the mouse pad has a 'rougher' surface to give the right friction, but is soft enough to not damage the edges of the plastic bobbins.) ,

    I not only retract the thread that way when going from a ring to a chain, I even wind my bobbin from scratch that same way. I never have to remove the bobbin at all to wind the thread on the Aeros, Aerlits and even the Pop A Bobbins. I did have to practice to get the right tension on the thread when winding a new bobbin.

    I'm so glad you've thrown the idea out there! I always hesitated to do so!

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    1. How interesting Kathy! You should have shared before, I sure can't see why you would get criticism for rolling your bobbins that way! I like to hear about any and every ingenious idea! I thought of using a mouse pad... and I've also been using a piece of craft foam, that works well too (or my thigh!). I must admit though, until working with this new shuttle design, that I'd never thought of trying to roll my Aeros. I'm going to go and try it now! Instinctively, I'd think the tension would be too tight to let it roll… my new shuttles bobbins are held more loosely…
      I shall report back!

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    2. My gosh you're right!! It works absolutely fine with a standard Aero! What a revelation! :-))
      Let's share this news with the world!

      I have to say though that Jeanie reminded me of another way that avoids rewinding… I'd used it before on a doily that had lots of small rings and short chains and therefore a lot of reversing work and rewinding shuttles but for some reason I kind of forgot to carry on doing this afterwards: and it is to tat rings with flipped stitches, NOT reverse work, and tat chains with unflipped stitches. That's pretty efficient too.

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    3. Kathy & Frivole, here's a great big hug to both of you . You have made loading a bobbin shuttle So much fun - quick & easy, including size 40 thread !
      Once I got the bobbin spinning smoothly on my Pony shuttles, rolling the shuttle to load it was so easy that I've been using it ever since. And it works on almost any surface that has a solid base & the barest of matte texture - paper, rexin (diary cover), leather, .........whatever is lying close to me !
      I was thinking of sharing this link with a couple of pics on how to, when I read that you have a video in mind - please do make it, Frivole :-)

      One thing though. Doesn't the wedged tail of the Aero shuttle fit nicely into the bobbin hole to turn it round for winding ? That's what I remember reading in InTatters once - the serrated edge of the tail is supposed to be used to wind the bobbin. Check it out ...
      Pony shuttles have that tail only for show! It doesn't fit inside the bobbin, hence of no use to me.

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    4. Hi Muskaan,

      Glad you are enjoying this new method - I am too! The other advantage is that it doesn't add a twist to the thread as you wind. This video is very first on my list to make, I might even try to make it today!

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  19. Super interesting!! Do keep us posted of your adventures with the frivoshuttle!!

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  20. I just got a shuttle from a friend in Russia that would be an excellent starting point. It is plastic but I think you could easily modify it to fit a large bobbin. Problem is it doesn't have a hook....

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  21. Elite Creation on Etsy makes shuttles that take large bobbins. https://www.etsy.com/listing/222184658/lovely-zebra-wood-tatting-shuttle-with?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=tatting%20shuttle&ref=sr_gallery_48 is an open in the back bobbin shuttle that can be modified to take a large bobbin. https://www.etsy.com/listing/281040186/tiger-wenge-wooden-tatting-shuttle-with?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=tatting%20shuttle&ref=sr_gallery_16 has some shuttles that are big enough for a large bobbin (but not always). Banyek also makes bobbin shuttles that come with a small bobbin, but can be modified to hold a large one. Good luck!

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    1. Hi, thank you for your message. I now own an Elite shuttle and a lady kindly sent me a Banyek shuttle too to try. It is very large but does hold a large bobbin. Not found my "perfect" large bobbin shuttle yet but I'll keep looking. Thank you for the information.

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  22. I have been playing with a 3d printer making shuttles. I have had this same idea in the back of my mind for a while. I just figured out a one piece construction for standard shuttles. I love seeing other's ideas on shuttle design.

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    1. Hi Pat, thank you for your message. I've been thinking about a 3D printer for a long time! I don't have access to one but I would just love to have a shuttle made to my specifications. Hopefully you'll come back to tell us about your experimentation!

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