green french knots on white fabric with title.

Knots

If you’re looking for a special touch for your embroidery project, knots are a beautiful embellishment. They add lots of texture and interest to otherwise two-dimensional pieces.

Knots are fancy and elegant. They are like the perfect piece of jewelry that finishes off an outfit.

When to use knots

Once you start playing with knots, you will find a lot of places to add them to your embroidery projects. Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • polka dots
  • flowers
  • snowflakes
  • little bursts of colour
  • eyes
  • candy
  • jewelry
  • filling in areas with texture
  • curly hair (eg. person or sheep)
  • bugs
flower embroidered with French knots
stitching french knots as flower centres.
flower motif embroidered with French knots

Types of knots

French Knot

The most common knot used in embroidery is the French knot.

This basic knot can be tricky for beginners, but once you get it, it’s easy to do. If you have challenges, try wrapping the needle around the thread instead of wrapping the thread around the needle. This is often helpful.

French knots can be made larger or smaller by changing the number of strands of thread you are working with or changing the number of wraps you make.

For variation, French knots can be stitched on a stem.

Bullion

aka: worm stitch, caterpillar stitch, coil stitch, roll stitch, post stitch, knot stitch

Bullions are another classic and versatile. embroidery stitch. They can be straight or curved, alone or in groups, as fillings or as raised lines.

These are easier to stitch if you use a needle that is long and thin, like a straw needle.

They are commonly used in groups to make roses and rose buds.

Colonial knot

aka: candlewicking knot

The colonial knot is larger than a French knot. It is usually used alone as an accent, or in a row to give the impression of a line.

Chinese knot

aka: Peking knot, forbidden knot, blind knot

This knot is sometimes used as filling. It is flatter than a French knot.

Scroll stitch

aka: single knotted line stitch

This stitch is made up groups of knots on a line. It is great for borders.

Coral stitch

aka: knotted stitch, German knot stitch, beaded stitch, snail trail

This stitch is also a group of knots on a line, but the knots are more predominant than on the scroll stitch. It has the impression of beads on a string.

Spanish coral stitch

aka: crested chain stitch

This stitch has lots of texture. It is made by combining a chain and a row of coral stitches. It is great for wide borders.

Double knot

aka: Palestrina stitch, tied coral stitch, Smyrna stitch, old English stitch, single Danish knot

Double knot is a row of knots worked closely together.

Knots in Embroidery Projects

Check out the knots in these embroidery projects.

embroidered flower picture.
flower motif stitch sampler
embroidered tea towel with title.
close up of embroidered garden with title.

Be sure to #epidastudio when you share your own embroidery projects on social media!


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Elizabeth DeCroos

Elizabeth DeCroos

designer, teacher, speaker

Elizabeth enjoys doing all types of sewing and needlework and teaching others new techniques. For more information or to have her speak to your group click HERE.

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