My initial idea for this rendition of Jane’s SSSCH spider (link to pattern in previous post) was to make a small hourglass of red delica beads to insert in the middle.  Then I was also going to experiment with different legs. In the heat of the moment, all that got tossed out the window.

Indeed, the truly remarkable thing about this spider is not its crystal center, but rather the way in which the floating chain legs were formed. Terry Nimmer, the brilliant man behind the SSSCH/floating chain, took the whole process to the next level by coming up with a method which allows the entire leg to be formed from a single thread! Yes, you read that correctly: the tail of working thread that forms the chain is first used as the shuttle, and then as puller. The mind does boggle a bit. The implications for free form tatting are tremendous! Any time a tatter wishes to toss out a floating chain (legs, whiskers, flower tendrils, etc.), the whole operation can be performed with a single thread.  Terry has put together an excellent photo tutorial to illustrate the technique.  Try it!  I think you will find it both fun and useful.

ETA:  I had not yet thought ahead to branching floating chains, but Terry has: “If you try to make a floating chain on a floating chain, the first one needs to be done with the core thread or a separate thread loop. The working thread loop can only pull the last chain. If you do it wrong, you will know right away.”  I’ll have to try that next!