Sunday, May 21, 2017

How tight is tight enough when it comes to chains???

A few of weeks ago I bought two patterns from Renulek. The current Wiosna 2017 and a pattern called  "Snowflake".                                                                                            

The big doily I am having zero issues with and am up to round 9 so far.....the Snowflake doily however is frustrating me to the point that I am questioning every piece of tatting I have ever done!

I tat with a mediumish tight (definitely not loose) tension  that is pretty consistent however EVERY attempt on this doily has given me issues and bowled.

After 5 attempts to get past row 3, using different thread, different size thread, different tension, I just cannot get it to sit for me. So in desperation I searched everywhere for someone that had completed the pattern and didn't have any success (unusual) so I wrote to Renulek. Her answer was that perfect tension on this doily is essential, I am not tatting tight enough and that I need to pull my chains a lot tighter. "As tight as you close your rings". (Although being referred to as a beginner did ruffle my feathers slightly)

TRY AGAIN and this time TAT TIGHT...(ohhh my aching fingers!!)

 A tad tight but workable...

 Flattened out ok.

Chains pulled up so tight I broke the thread and cut into my finger.


This is not going to end well......


No recovering from this one.....

Hmmmm.... on the pics above,  I thought I was pulling the chains up as hard as I could but it still didn't sit for me!! Really worried about breaking the thread all the time too.

So - how tight is "tight enough"?


  1. I saw Renulek's latest post and my thought was that if one has consistent tension through a project, then whatever one’s style (tight, medium, loose) should not matter.
    Your trials show that theory (I thought it was logical ;-P) does not hold !
    I often struggle with the question you ask, and haven’t found any answer, except to look closely at the original tatted model and try to follow along.
    I do feel that, given the diversity in threads, tatting tensions, etc., it may be a good idea for a designer to include the size of project after each additional round/row, to serve as some guide for tatters.
    So far I have tatted 4 of Renulek's doilies and they lay flat. So this one is intriguing.

    1. That is my thought too..... I have never had an issue as long as my tension is consistent throughout the project (or close enough to consistent). I read her post and did her "test" and broke the thread twice trying to get it that tight. This pattern just is not for me I guess. If I have to cut my fingers and keep breaking thread all the time then there is no joy in it.
      I have done all of her ones so far and all have been fine.But as she says - they are not critical tension where this one is.

  2. Hate to say this in 'public' but I think this is indicative of a 'not so good' pattern. The stitch count would have to be changed. I would say that the chains in the first round could be made quite a bit smaller - by 4ds on each chain (2 each side of the picot) and the chains on the next round larger by (probably) 4ds (2 each side of the picot). I've downloaded the picture and enlarged it to see what's happening. Nothing to do with tension as tatting is a very 'friendly' fibre art - tension wise!!!! LOVELY to see you back, Jenni.

  3. Liyarra you can only advise to reduce the number of knots in chain.

  4. I might have some insight into this issue. She's not talking about how tight you make each knot but about how much you snug up the stitches after tatting them. Often people pull their rings tighter than their chains, which starts to matter when you have more chains. Do you snug up your chains as much as your rings? As in do you push the chain stitches together a bit? The stitches on rings get pushed together when you close them. Are you chains really floppy and your rings stiff? Instead of trying to make tighter knots try snugging them up at the end of each chain.
    Hope this helps.

    1. The stitches are tight and they are pulled up so close to one another that is where I broke the thread. I pull my chains up as tight as my rings (or I thought pretty close to it). My tatting generally does not need stiffening after finishing the pattern if I use good quality thread.
      I actually wasn't making tighter knots, I was pulling the chains so hard the thread broke or cut into my fingers.

  5. In my opinion, it isn't so much about "perfect" chain tension as it is about imitating the designer. Some designers tat very loosely, like Ben Fikkert, and Renulek tats very tightly. I don't believe that there is one correct way.

    For this pattern, it looks like you'd really have to go out of your way to imitate what the designer did. That includes tightly pulled chains, long joining picots between the little Round 3 flowers, and blocking (I thought I saw Renulek mention using an iron before, but I could be wrong).

    Even with that, you might find that you still need to make adjustments to the stitch count to suit your tatting style. I guess it depends on how much time you want to spend on this pattern versus other things. Either way, good luck!

  6. You are more patient than I am! I can't imagine doing this many samples, and incurring injury! I am very amazed that she is tatting with such tight tension on this one! I just want to relax with my tatting - not pull hard constantly! She must never have seen your blog and viewed your gorgeous work! You're certainly not a beginner!!! It seems that changing the knot count is an answer, but I think I'd just abandon the pattern! Renulek is an excellent designer, and many tatters finish her patterns (although I have never tried any) so this is a real mystery.

    1. I love her patterns and have done all of the ones she had on her website. I have never had an issue with one before so this one came out of the blue. (and probably hurts more because it is a paid pattern).
      To be honest, if I have to start mucking around changing stitch counts on a pattern I would just as rather go and find something else. Life is to short to not enjoy what you are tatting

  7. Looks like you have given it a wonderful try!!! :)
    I would possibly suggest lowering the stitch count in the first round chains since that seems to be what is causing the trouble. Maybe 2 or 4 stiches subtracted from the count to keep it even?? Just a thought.

  8. I didn't see that your tension would be to blame, I have tatted over forty years and have done some of Renuleks patterns, and never have I had too much trouble with tension, I have had ruffling which has ironed itself out as the mat grew. But I have never heard you have to tat tight, I am sure your usual tension would have been ok, I am a medium tension tatter, in other words my tension is not so tight to pulls the tatting in and not too lose that it is floppy. I really don't know the answer, pulling the thread so tight it breaks would be bad for the thread and in time the thread would break anyway with use, I really don't have an answer to your question apart from try again with your usual way of tatting and don't worry about tension and see if it looks better. I feel if it's too tight it will roll up, and a light press usually fatterns it out.

    1. Thanks Margaret. I have had a few goes at this one in various ways of tatting and tensions. Nothing is working for me so I think I will give this one a miss.
      I am currently working on her Wiosna 2017 pattern and it is tatting up beautifully