How good your tension is may very well determine the end quality of your tatting work. While various tensions are used for different aspects of tatting and even within the same piece, itís important that it be uniform within the same type of circles or rings. While itís usually imperative that the tension of all of your rings be snug, you may opt, at time, to make some loose; so as to give a slightly different look. And, of course, although you may want to have the stitch tension vary from chain to chain, itís a well known thought that, as a rule, your chains ought to all be equal as well.
To have your stitch tension varied, within your tatted piece, may cause your item to look sloppy: and, with all the hard work you put into even the smallest piece, you donít want your artwork to be thought of in anything less than a professional manner. So, you can see the importance of developing an even tension from the very start of learning to tat. Or, if youíve been tatting for a while but realize that you have a tension issue going on, then now is the time to work on correcting this problem.
So, how does one develop good habits with the tension? Itís quite simple, really. While needle tatting, once youíve put each half stitch onto your needle, itís important to pull your thread snug. Mind you, this doesnít need to be so tight that you wonít be able to pull your stitches over the eye of the needle. Yes, it needs to be snug up against the needle so that you can see how uniform all of the stitches look on the needle. If you are a shuttle tatter, the best way to control your tension is pretty much the same as for needle tatters, except youíre going to snug your thread against the Ďcoreí thread before pushing your half stitch against your previously worked stitches. Again, itís extremely important that this is only snug and not tight. If your shuttle tatting work is too tight, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to pull your rings tight to form a complete circle. And, with uneven tension, whether shuttle or needle tatting, when you form your rings and circles, you might find your stitches overlapping one another and causing a less-than professional finished product.
So, practice these methods until you get the delivery down pat and are able to consistently produce even tension. In doing thus, youíll find that youíll be much happier with your tatting skills and your completed pieces.