Monday, July 8, 2013

Tatting! Susan Bates Plastic Tatting Shuttle with Removable Bobbin

This is a Susan Bates plastic tatting shuttle with an end hook and removable bobbin.
The Easy-to-Use Susan Bates Tatting Shuttle
I have recently started tatting.  I began by using the shuttles I found in my grandmother's craft supplies, a metal shuttle with a bobbin and flat hook, and a plastic shuttle with a post and pick.  I was having difficulties using the metal shuttle because of how difficult it was to turn the bobbin and pull more thread while tatting.  It was also difficult to grip and a bit heavy, tugging on my thread and work when I dropped it.  On the other hand, the plastic pick at the end of the plastic shuttle made it difficult to join rings through picots.

I looked at alternate types of shuttles online and was intrigued by the plastic shuttles with bobbins and tiny crochet hooks at the end.  I wrote to the Coats and Clark company in North Carolina, and they agreed to send a Susan Bates tatting shuttle for me to test and review.

Part of enjoying a new craft is to use the right tool for the task, and I feel this Susan Bates tatting shuttle is the right tool.  After putting this shuttle to use on some rings, picots, chains, and folded joins, I can definitely recommend it to beginner tatters like me. 

Best Features

Attached hook
Bobbin is easy to remove
Bobbin turns freely
Bobbin clicks
Small, easy to grip shape
End can be used as a picot gauge

The Susan Bates plastic tatting shuttle with removable bobbin, model number 14278, has made tatting much easier than with the other two shuttles.  It is 3 1/8" long, and the bobbin, the widest point of the shuttle, is 7/8" wide.  The bobbin is easy to remove, it turns freely, and it is lightweight.  The shape of the shuttle makes it easy to grip and to slide over and under the thread.   It's narrow enough to fit between my thumb and forefinger easily.  The hook at the end of the shuttle makes joining rings together through picots much easier than having to switch between the shuttle and a tatting pin or crochet hook, and the opposite end, shaped like a Phillips-head screwdriver, can be used as a handy picot gauge.  Additionally, I do enjoy the clicking noise the shuttle makes when thread is pulled from the bobbin.  The clicks make it possible to hear how much thread has been pulled without looking.

The Best Feature is the Attached Hook


This shuttle is the right tool for tatting!


Possible Improvements

Although there is nothing about the shuttle that makes it difficult to use, there are two improvements that would make it easier to use.   First, having a shuttle come with multiple bobbins would make it easier to keep full bobbins handy, whether or not the bobbins were for multiple colors of thread.  I would be willing to pay more for an additional bobbin or two, as I have already purchased a second of these wonderful shuttles!  Secondly, making the center of the bobbin just large enough to fit over the end of the shuttle, the end shaped like a Phillips-head screwdriver, would make winding the bobbin much easier.  As it is, winding the bobbin requires winding around my fingertips.  Again, the shuttle is by no means difficult to use, but these improvements would certainly make it easier for a beginner.

Copyright Amy Lynn Hess. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.
Special thanks to Cynthia Schnall for sending me this product for review.


  1. You might wish to go to the Handy Hands website (also sold at Hobby Lobby craft stores) to purchase one of the new Aerlit shuttles, which were specifically designed to duplicate the very popular and prized Aero shuttles made in England (which, sadly, were discontinued when the factory closed in the 1990s) . They have the correct size 'tail' for winding the shuttle and come in fun colors, and you can also buy extra bobbins. I agree that bobbin shuttles with hooks are the most efficient for tatting.

    A VERY special handmade, wood shuttle with plastic bobbin can be purchased from Jane Eborall's Etsy shop. It's called a 'Pop A Bobbin' and was ingeniously designed to hold the same plastic bobbins as the Aero and Aerlit (and possibly the Susan Bates) shuttles. Each one is made by hand out of beautiful and different kinds of woodstock and also has the tip of a quality metal crochet hook on the end. It is a very quiet shuttle in that it doesn't have the ratcheting sound. Some tatters prefer the smooth, quiet action of this beautiful shuttle, and they also like the feel of wood in their hands.

    Welcome to tatting! You might wish to check out the blog called 25 Motif Challenge, which is a central site for tatting enthusiasts!

    1. Thanks, Kathy! I did request a few other shuttles to try for review purposes, but I received no response as of yet. Having the pin on the end of the shuttle sized to hold and wind the bobbin is an excellent idea, so I am sure I would very much appreciate and also recommend the Aerlit. I would love to try a wooden shuttle or even a pick-less bone shuttle, too. Even if it's more difficult, it's something I'd love to try!