View Full Version : How do I tat with wire?
08-01-2010, 03:24 PM
I bought a very thin wire that has decent flexibility and I want to try and tat with it as the thread. After giving it some thought I don't think that the traditional shuttle tatting I usually do will work. I don't think it would be a good idea to try and flip the wire. But this makes me wonder how on earth I am suposed to tat with it. LOL Have any of you done this before? How is it done?
I thought I could do the tatting witht the ball thread so I don't have to flip it but that won't work for rings. Maybe I could do mock rings. I don't know. I figured before I tried to do it I should ask for advice from anyone who might have done it before.
So, what do you think? Any advice/tips?
08-01-2010, 07:29 PM
Well, having tatted wire, I can share my experience. I find it most profitable to think of a single wire as one ply in a thread, so I use practically "no see-um" wire in multiple plies that works very much like thread. The wire size I use is AWG 42 and the type of wire is a nickel compound. The nickel doesn't fatigue as quickly as plain copper, so I can flip DS.
I wouldn't try to flip tat with copper wire larger than a size 34. Again I would at least double it. But direct tatting (like a split ring) is quite a bit easier to do.
Unlike thread which you don't want to handle more than is necessary, smoothing wire with your fingers as you are working is very helpful. The warmth of your skin and the ability to feel the state of the wire with your fingertips is very helpful in keeping the wire in a usable state.
The biggest issue with flipping a knot with wire is to prevent kinks, which means you need to find a comfortable method to "encourage" the wire loops to stay open right until the DS is formed. I find the effort is a little tiring, so I limit wire tatting sessions to a couple of elements at a time. I would tat you some samples, but right now my right arm is in a cast!
08-01-2010, 09:03 PM
Thank you Patty D for your response. It is very helful. My situation now is that it seems I've bought the wrong kind of wire. I wasn't originally planning to tat with wire in the near future, though the idea has alwas sounded interesting to me. I went to Joann's the other day to get some supplies because I am making myself a new bag to carry my tatting in. I like the one I have but I need more features. More pockets mainly. So I went to get zippers and a needle strong enough to do the job along with what I would need to add a strap because that was the greatest deficiency of my current bag. I can't tell you how many times I've almost lost my tatting somewhere because I had to keep it in my hands rather than hanging like a purse. When I saw the dark green wire at Joann's I talked myself into buying it because I thought the bag I was making would look neet with a simple motif made from the green wire attatched to one side. I havn't chosen a pattern yet.
This wire that I bought is a dark forest green color (my favorite), 26 gauge copper wire. So I've obviously chosen wire that is too large and more likely to have fatigue problems based on your comment above. I didn't see any size choices at Joanns. Is there a way to make the wire I have work or would it be best to try and find something else. Can you get the nickel wire in a dark forest green color? Where would I look for this wire? Obviously it would be nice if I could make what I already have work since I've already spent the money on it.
I'm wondering what kind of shuttle you use with it or if you even use a shuttle? I was thinking it would probably be best to not try and wrap it around the bobbins of my current shuttles. plus I wouldn't want to kink it in any way so the non bobbin shuttles don't seem a good idea either. I thought about using an empty thread spool but that would be rather cumbersome. It might be better at that point just to tat with the coil of wire without any type of shuttle. What do you think?
08-01-2010, 09:33 PM
I use my regular shuttles - Clovers, you may develop a preference for a different shuttle. Can't recommend tatting with a coil of wire because wire is slick and very quickly you will have a mess. You were very wise to jump on dark green wire, it is relatively rare. I look for fine wire in electronics surplus stores (the things we do for our art!)
This is kind of silly. Send me your address and I'll send you some. I have tons of the stuff. I will send you a selection of greens from my stash.
08-01-2010, 09:45 PM
This sounds like fun - I would love to look at what this looks like. Do you have a picture you could post?
09-01-2010, 12:03 AM
I just uploaded some samples,
09-01-2010, 12:41 AM
:blink: What? Tatting with wire? :omg:
:ohmy: You are so very COOL!!! :cool:
09-01-2010, 01:02 AM
Oh my gosh tatting with wire, no way! I wanna try!
09-01-2010, 04:59 AM
I just gave it a try with my 26 gauge wire and I'm not loving the experience. I think I need some thinner wire.
09-01-2010, 09:30 AM
I almost forgot!!!!! When winding plied wire:
1. Have each ply wound on a separate spool. I put my spools on a pencil or some other rod (tinker toys are good!) and then put the rod through holes in a suitably sized box. If the box is too light, weight it down with something (I like canned vegetables.)
2. Unlike thread where we don't want to introduce extra twist and therefore walk the shuttle up the thread and hang the shuttle when extra twist intrudes itself, we DO want to induce a little twist on the group of separate plies, SO wind the thread onto the shuttle or bobbin. Can't recommend a Lady Hoare shuttle for wire since it would crease the wire. Each time you wind the plies around the shuttle you add a twist, which in the case of the wire helps it to hang together and makes it easier to tat.
3. Also unlike thread, the wire needs to be handled and smoothed often. I run the plied wire over the handle of a crochet hook with enough pressure to smooth it (my crabby arthritic hands aren't up for the job.). My tatting rhythm becomes: unwind, smooth, flip, repeat.
09-01-2010, 03:25 PM
Try using a needle instead of a shuttle--you can work directly off the coil (which you will want to unwind and rewind--for some reason they design coils to tangle halfway through), so it won't get work hardened as easily (also saves the trouble of winding wire onto a shuttle. *shiver*). The more wire is bent and manipulated, the sooner it's going to break. Also, don't even try to make the stitches as tight as you would with thread, unless you're using incredibly thin (i.e. like 40g) wire. I find 26g works pretty well for me, actually. As for metals, speaking from a jewelry standpoint, nickel tends to be kind of tough to form and move. Copper isn't too bad, but if you're having trouble with it, I'd try aluminum before nickel--it's softer. And, of course, if you've got some extra pennies, I'd also try fine silver. Pricey, but it tats very smoothly.
09-01-2010, 04:00 PM
On silver wire note (which I agree is a dream to work with), if your lucky like me and have a jewler working close by, sometimes (once you befriend them) they can either order for you at a much lower cost then us reg's can get it, or even be willing to give you a small amount to toy around with. Specially if it's something that they think might be sellable in their shop.
09-01-2010, 05:58 PM
I've been experimenting with tatting with wire too.
What I've done is make a small motif and left a long piece of wire free which I bend and use as a hook to add small seed beads to picot joins in my tatting.
The wire makes beautiful jewelery motifs too and gets lots of compliments.
12-01-2010, 12:08 AM
Those pictures are incredible and so is the process. Is there some way we can save this topic as a tutorial so I can find it again? I don't have time to delve into this right now - but I would like to come back to this a bit later and give it a go if I can find some of that wire.
12-01-2010, 01:43 AM
I would like to come back to this a bit later and give it a go if I can find some of that wire.
this past weekend while at Michaels, I saw lots of colored wire in different gauges. do you have Michaels (http://www.michaels.com/art/online/home) in your area?
12-01-2010, 05:47 PM
So I tried to tat with my 26 gauge green copper wire but it didnt' go well. the green started scraping off fairly quickly. So I bought some silver 34 gauge wire. I'm not sure if it is actually silver or just silver tone. I didn't like working with that wire either. It hurts my hands, It kinks too well. It's a nightmare trying to tat with more than one ply they kept tangling as I tried to pass them over/under. I didn't get the stitches as tight as I would like. Long story short I'm putting all the wire away for now. I guess its just not for me. At least not right now. I think I'm going to look into metallic threads. LOL
14-01-2010, 11:28 AM
For those interested, Fire Mountain Gems has Copper wire in a variety of colors with guages all the way down to 30 at very reasonable prices! Their website is www.firemountaingems.com (http://www.firemountaingems.com) The wire is called Zebra Wire.