It seems so funny — I really never thought I would get into embroidery, yet I’m constantly considering even the simplest designs I can do quickly when I start working on a new project.
I’ve been purchasing embroidery supplies, and now I’ve added another.
What is knotting?
Knotting came before tatting, and is actually different. They both use similar shuttles, but the shuttles for knotting tend to be bigger (about 4-6 inches).
You take your thread or cord, wrap it around the shuttle, and then you knot the thread to create texture. You then take the knotted thread and attach it — called couching — onto embroidery. It’s great for outlining or filling in spaces.
Smiling Fox Forge
I was looking around to see who had a larger shuttle, but most seemed to be too small. My husband, Christopher, did a search and found Smiling Fox Forge. They list their shuttles as being about 4 inches. I had never used them before, but I figured why not?
Their ordering process was different. They do offer PayPal, but I don’t use that service. They also take credit cards and money orders, but you have to wait until they contact you with the shipping added to the total.
There were a few emails that let me know my order had been placed, and this is what was going to happen next, so you’re not left out of the loop.
I had ordered Sunday, and early Monday morning I received the email for the shipping total as well as the PayPal email if I wanted to use that service. I gave them a call to let them know I wanted to use an alternate payment, and I got a very nice lady on the phone.
I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous about this system — I am usually nervous when I first try out a new company, much less a different type of ordering process — but the lady on the phone was so nice and thorough that I got over my nerves. In fact, she sounded so nice I was disappointed that I live in entirely the wrong area for 18th century, and will never get to attend events and meet some of these suppliers in person. Oooh, what fun that must be to be able to shop and see some of these items in person. Talk about a shopping spree!
Anyway, she told me that I would receive my shuttles in two to three days. They were shipped on Monday, and I received them Wednesday. Since the shuttles are so small, they were carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and shipped in one of the smaller, sturdy Priority Mail boxes.
I ordered two shuttles, just in case I needed a second. A friend might want to try it with me, or I might need to change projects without unwinding and putting new thread on. Plus, who knows if one might break or get lost.
The shuttles are bone, and each one is different. One has a few darker markings in the coloring, as well as a little bit of a notch in the edge that might catch the thread if I’m not careful. The other is slightly longer (both are around four inches long), but one end seems a little more pinched together (see photo below).
They feel very nice in my hand, and although they’re still a little smaller than I would have liked to try, I think they’ll work nicely.
I’ve already started trying to get used to knotting and figuring out a project to use knotted thread on. I think the obvious choice would be to do an embroidered work bag. The shuttle is held in the right hand, and a bag would be tied around the left wrist to put the knotted thread into. It would also be nice to keep everything together when I’m not knotting.
I am practicing with some DMC cotton floss that I had sitting around. I don’t think that is what I would normally use, so I will be getting something a little nicer. I read on one website that crochet thread was recommended. I’ll look around and see what stands out. I’ve actually never tried couching before, so I’m not sure what will be best on the embroidery itself. More research!
Something to do at events
Women in the 18th century would work on knotting often. It showed off the wrists and hands in an attractive way. It was almost used as an accessory, like a fan.
I also considered it because there will be times at events where I would love to work on something, but it might be too dark for me to work on embroidery or hand sewing. Knotting might be just the thing for me, and there is less to haul around. Plus, as I mentioned, it is an accessory and accessories really add to the costume 😀
Another good purchase for me!
I’m glad I decided to buy another embroidery tool. I’m sure I’ll still need some practice, which seems funny when you consider it’s just knotting thread, but I want to make sure my spacing is nice and even.
I would also order again from Smiling Fox Forge. I’m very pleased with the service and my shuttles.