Updated September 23, 2022.
Over at The Owl Stitchery Blog Mary Waldsmith has a post about when Tent is absolutely the correct stitch to use.
She’s absolutely right about that. Every canvas should have some areas of Tent on it.
There are lots of other reasons for when Tent is the right choice:
You want to learn how to control your tension. Practice is the key to improving tension, and Tent is perfect for this. I got good at this by stitching mini-socks, abovee, on my daily commute for a year, all in Tent. I still have them 38 years later and they still look great.
The canvas is highly detailed. Often areas of the canvas, such as faces, get stitched in Tent because there really isn’t room for other stitches. Often Tent is your best choice for canvases like this.
Except for the knots in the flower center, this kimono is stitched in Tent using a variety of threads.
The canvas has mostly small areas. Many canvases feature a detailed focal point against a solid background or no background at all, such as the kimono at the top of the post. These canvases work great with a Tent focal point and a textured stitch background. The details on the focal point keep it at the center of attention.
The piece requires shading, especially in small areas. Shading in Tent Stitch shouldn’t just be reserved for skies and such. You can use shading to create striking effects using even the simplest stitches, as I did with the Patt & Lee kimono, above.
You want a vintage look. One of the main characteristics of older needlepoint is that it was stitched almost entirely in Tent using wool. Adding textured stitches gives needlepoint a more modern feel. But sometimes you want that classic look. Using Tent Stitch, especially on larger mesh canvases (13-mesh and larger), will give you a vintage feel.
Even if Tent is the only stitch you know, you can still create lovely needlepoint.
Don’t ignore this very helpful stitch!