Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

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10 February 2006

Rant, Hopefully Brief, but Probably Not!

One of my pet peeves is when manufacturers don't understand how their product really works, and make changes that mess up the function.

Prime example: the metal Boye (now Wright) tatting shuttle. This is my cheap, workhorse shuttle. When I first started tatting, they even sold them at Wal-Mart. (Not anymore, at least not at my local one.)

When this shuttle was first patented, it had three holes in a row on the side of the shuttle. The idea was that the tatter would run the tatting thread out through that hole to help control the thread tension. It didn't work, but that was the idea. These days, if you contact Boye and ask, they have no idea what the holes were supposed to be for. Tatters know, because it was on the patent application. But the manufacturer has no idea.

You can see the continuation of this "no idea" problem in other features of the shuttle. It has a metal hook at one end. This is supposed to be for pulling the thread through picots, to make joins. So the hook needs to be small and smooth. Over the years, the hooks have gotten bigger and rougher. Sometimes they are so rough they cut the thread. Probably it was hard to make the small hook in the factory. So with no idea why it had to be small, they made it bigger. And now it's pretty much useless. It has a hook shape. But it doesn't do what a tatter wants it to do.

Another feature of this shuttle originally was that you could fit the hole in the metal bobbin onto the other end of the shuttle, as an aid to winding the bobbin. Are you surprised to read that the end of the shuttle is now too wide and fat to fit into the hole of the "#3 bobbin"?

Here's another: at the base of the hook, the shuttle has two metal tabs that fold down to hold it together. These tabs need to be smooth and flattened tight so they don't catch the thread. I have never bought a shuttle that came this way. I have flattened all of mine with a pliers.

And one more: also at the base of the hook, the hook flares wider as it joins the shuttle. This "shoulder" part needs to flare out smoothly, with no rough spot to catch the thread. Hands up, anyone who thinks they come this way.

And all of these flaws because the manufacturer doesn't really know what the shuttle does or how it functions. They could send me a test-shuttle and I'd be happy to tell them!



Blogger tatt3r said...

I totally agree! The problem with the shuttles is worse if you are using size 80 thread or quilting thread, which I know you prefer. I don't use the metal shuttles very often, but the last time I did, my picots were all stretched out whenever I made a join. I prefer my plastic Clovers, they have a nice sharp point. They really need to find a tatter to 'test drive' their product.

11:48 AM  

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