There are quite a few different types of tatting shuttles out there, which sometimes makes it difficult to choose which one to go with. To help ease the labyrinth of shuttle styles, I’ve decided to write up a little review of the shuttles I use. They’re all easy enough to use, although there are some major differences between them in practice, with their own pros and cons.

Susan Bates shuttle

The first shuttle I ever used was a Susan Bates bought from a local craft store. I started off with just this one shuttle, some white thread, and some simple patterns.

Susan Bates shuttle

Susan Bates shuttle

The Susan Bates shuttle is made primarily of a plain cream-colored plastic. It also has small metal crochet hook on the end of it. The hook makes it easy to pull up threads through picots without the need for an external hook. At 3 inches (7.5 cm) from the tip of the hook to the end of the knob, and about 3/4 inch (2 cm) wide, the shuttle is diminutive.

The great thing about the Susan Bates shuttle is the removable bobbin at its center, which makes winding smooth and easy. You just pop the bobbin out and wind it by hand or machine. Conversely, you just pull the shuttle to have it unwind automatically, since the bobbin spins freely inside the shuttle.

Pros:

  • Freewheeling center bobbin makes winding a breeze especially since you can use a sewing machine to speed things up.
  • Crochet hook for easy thread pulling without the need for an external hook.

Cons:

  • Quite a bit smaller than some other shuttle types, so may be harder for some people to hold.

Handy Hands Starlit shuttle

As I got better at tatting I came to realize that I needed more shuttles for more projects, especially for more complicated patterns requiring the use of two shuttles. I decided to go bulk and get a six-pack of Handy Hands Starlit tatting shuttles.

Starlit Shuttle

Starlit Shuttle

At 4 inches (10 cm) long and 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide, these are somewhat bigger than the Susan Bates shuttles, so are easier to hold. The Starlit shuttle sports a pointed plastic tip at one end; I don’t use it since I prefer a small crochet hook for joins.

Unlike the Susan Bates shuttle’s bobbin, the Starlit shuttle has at its center a set post 3/4 inch (2 cm) wide. In the middle of the post is a small hole to manually tie and wrap your thread. Other than the post in the center, the two sides of the shuttle don’t meet, which allows the thread to unwind from the post.

Pros:

  • Large dimensions make it easy to hold, so great for beginners.
  • Comes in a variety of colors, which makes it easier to tell which thread is which for your project.

Cons:

  • Post design meansĀ  that thread unwinding requires the entire shuttle to be rotated.

Handy Hands Aerlit shuttle

The last shuttles I bought were a pair of Handy Hands Aerlit tatting shuttles. These are almost identical in design to the Susan Bates ones. However, they also come in come in different colors and have a second bobbin. I love the availability of an extra bobbin since I can switch one out and do a different project with the same shuttle.

Aerlit Shuttle

Aerlit Shuttle

I am also fond of colors, not just for keeping track of which thread is which, but because they’re prettier. And since the Aerlit, like the Susan Bates, also comes with a hook, it’s become one of my favorites to use. Its dimensions are identical to that of the Susan Bates.

Pros:

  • Comes in a variety of bold and attractive colors for easy project identification.
  • Having two bobbins makes for easy thread switching between projects.
  • Crochet hook for easy thread pulling without the need for an external hook.

Cons:

  • Diminutive size may make it harder for some people to hold.

Verdict

Although all three shuttles are differentiated in a number of small ways, I ultimately like them all, and would purchase more of any of these. Each plays to its own strengths, and I find that the best approach for me comes in using all three types. They’re usually easy to find, and are pretty cheap to boot.

Do you have any favorite shuttle brands that you swear by? Drop a comment below to let me know!

 

Note*: This post contains affiliate links.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save