I’ve been experimenting with various tarp configurations recently and putting a few important knots to effective use. Also known as the midshipman’s hitch (tied slightly differently), the taught line hitch is an adjustable loop knot that’s useful for holding a line under tension. You know those little plastic bits included with modern tents to tension the guy lines? This knot does the same job remarkably well.
This is a good opportunity to describe “turns”. A turn, or a “single turn,” is when the working end of the line is wrapped once around either an object or the standing part of the same line (see Step #2). Notice how it just barely encircles the standing part. A “round turn,” on the other hand, completely encircles the object or standing part of the line (see Step #3). It’s useful to recognize this pattern in knot tying, even when it’s not explicitly called out in the descriptive text.
The knot is completed by passing the working end to the outside of the round turn and forming a half hitch in the opposite direction. Pull the knot tight so that it will grab the working part of the line when you put it under tension. Then slide the hitch to shorten your line and put the configuration under tension, which will help hold it tight.