Getting tied up in knots is NOT what you want to do as you learn this very useful embroidery stitch. French Knots can look rather challenging, but like everything in life, following simple instructions and practicing will always give you the perfect result.
What can the French Knot be used for?
French knots are very useful for little bits of texture that can be added to any embroidery design. They can cluster together or stand alone. Their bobble effect makes them ideal for designs of small furry animals and my favorites – starbursts and dandelions.
How to do French Knots
Preparation: Have your fabric held securely in an embroidery hoop as this will make it easier to get nice tight knots.
Step One: Start the French Knot with your needle and thread coming up from the back of the fabric.
Leave a ‘tail’ of thread hanging behind under the fabric that you will work in later, or work a back stitch to hold the thread to keep the stitch secure.
Step Two: The start of the knot requires two hands to get the tension and spacing right, so be prepared to use one hand to hold the needle and the other to hold the thread.
Put your needle in front of the thread you are holding on the right side of the fabric. You will be winding the thread to make the knot but if you wind from the front the knot will not retain its shape.
Wind the embroidery floss around the needle two or three times. Wind it on with your non-needle hand. Keep the thread taut as you wind it and keep the needle still.
The more times you wind, the larger the knot.
Step Three: Keep the coil wrapped around the needle taut as you insert the needle into the fabric. Insert the needle close to the original entry point.
IMPORTANT: Do not go back into the same space because your knot will unravel.
Step four: Your non-needle hand is holding a length of floss. Pull that length of floss down towards the tip of the needle This will pull the coiled thread down the needle and as it tightens it makes a little bundle of thread bunched at the bottom.
The coil of thread should be firmly at the bottom of the needle next to the fabric. Pull the thread right the way through the fabric to the back.
You can vary the size of the knot by the number of times you wind the thread around the needle.
Start the next stitch close by for a filler stitch, or in the pattern of your choice, using the same techniques.
Here the French Knot has been used as a center for a Lazy Daisy.
The French Knot adds lovely detail and accentuates your embroidery.
The French would say this stitch is ‘tres bon’ – very good!