As with anything new, it takes a little practice. This is how they work for us.
Note: There is a top and bottom to the shuttle. The slot screw goes in the big hole on the bottom and the decorative screw in the smaller hole on top. The thread must come out of the shuttle on the rear right side when looking at top of shuttle.
Do not overfill bobbins. The thread will fall off the bobbin, become entangled between the bobbin and shuttle and will interfere with the screw action.
|1. While tatting hold shuttle between index finger (top) and thumb (bottom). Thread coming out shuttle into palm. When you need thread, follow the procedure.||2. Turn the shuttle point up. Bottom facing towards you. Keep the thread to the left hand taut. Keeping the thread taut helps control the shuttle.|
|3. Place the thumbnail in the slot of the screw while holding the top flat screw with index finger.||4. Place the middle finger at the tail of shuttle.|
|5. Push out the tail of the shuttle. This turns the slot screw and loosens the tension. Pull the thread to desired length.||6. Reach out with the middle finger onto tail of the shuttle.|
|7. Still holding the screws, pull the tail of the shuttle back towards the palm, tightening the screw.||8. Reposition the shuttle into the tatting position. Resume tatting.|
By pulling the thread and simultaneously tightening the bobbins with your fingers will help adjust the tension of the bobbins against the screw. When perfected, there's a fine margin for tension adjustment on the screw. Generally, between 1/4" - 1/16" turn of the screw, but can be as slight as 1/32" on some shuttles.
In essence, hold the screw in place and turn the shuttle around the screw. By keeping the thread to the left hand taut, it helps stabilize the shuttle and manipulate thread tensioning.
To remove bobbins, The thread must come out of the shuttle on the rear right side (when looking down at the top of shuttle) in order to turn the screw in the correct direction when thread is being pulled from it. Insert top screw, turn shuttle over and hold same as removal, in left hand with index finger on decorative top screw. Insert bottom screw and gently turn counterclockwise until screw clicks, setting screw threads. Turn screw clockwise until snug. Do not stress fingernail. Snug with the fingernail should be just about right for the correct tension of the bobbin. Position shuttle in right hand for tatting. Pull thread to check/adjust tension. Adjust tension as described in above shuttle operation if needed.
Using a small screwdriver should speed up the process of changing bobbins.
If the screw is too tight to loosen in the above manner--hold the shuttle with the slotted screw facing up and back-twist (counter-clockwise) the bobbin. Back-twisting is turning the bobbin quickly in the opposite direction the bobbin turns when pulling thread from it. The bobbin should be turned counterclockwise when looking at the bottom of the shuttle. This will loosen the screw then proceed with the above instructions for adjusting the tension.
2. Twist (or roll) the bobbin counterclockwise by pushing the thumb towards the point of the shuttle and pulling the index finger towards the tail. The screw should turn counterclockwise.
1. Hold the shuttle bottom towards you with the point up. Place thumb and index finger on bobbin with the thumb near the tail of the shuttle and the index finger towards the point.
3. Continue twisting the bobbin through the entire length of the shuttle. This should have loosened the screw against the bobbin. Sometimes the motion needs to be repeated.