The French Knot embroidery stitch always impresses! It can be a little tricky to master, but once you have it down, you will go back to this stitch again and again.
It’s a classic in heirloom embroidery projects. Delicate when stitched with a single thread. Bold or whimsical look in modern projects when stitched with multiple strands in cheery colors.
The French Knot is part of the knotted family of embroidery stitches. It can be used singularly or arranged in a group to provide great texture to a piece. The twisted knot sits slightly raised from your embroidery piece. Stitch them in rows for lines, massed together for fillings or singly for powdering. When using this stitch for a line, stitch from right to left, or whatever direction feels easiest. We recommend using a hoop to hold your material, so it stays taut.
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The French Knot can fill a space on its own. It is also a great combination stitch to use with other stitches to add texture and interest.
Some people are scared to try the French Knot. Once you get the hang of it, it goes quickly and you’ll love it! The trick is to hold your thread tightly around the point of your needle once you’ve made your two wraps of thread.
Here is our French knot tutorial:
Here is a quick video showing you how to do this:
Why does a French knot pull through?
There are several reasons why a French knot might pull through from to the back of your work.
First, be gentle pulling your thread to the back when forming a French knot. Stop as soon as your knot looks like you want it to.
Second, if you don’t have a thread or two between where you brought your needle up and then take your needle back to the underside of your design, there is not much holding the knot to the top of your embroidery design.
Thirdly, if you are using too big of a needle, you might be making a too-large hole on your fabric that it is easy for your knot to slip through.
How many strands of floss are needed to make a French knot?
Whatever you’d like! That is the fun part. Play around with one to six strands on a scrap of the fabric you’ll be using for your embroidery design and see what you like! Also, play around with different sizes of Perle cotton embroidery thread, even some yarns! Have fun and make it yours!
What are ideas for using the French knot?
- Use several small knots as flower centers.
- Use them as decorative elements with them lined up in a row, as a circle, or scattered.
- Janice Gatti used lots of French knots in her Sisters piece below.
Is there a perfect French knot?
My opinion is every one is perfect! The first time you make one it might be a bit wonky. It will show the hand of the maker! Just like with everything else, with a little practice, your embroidery skills will improve. You’ll find your perfect knot, and it will be all yours!
Susan uses French knots to add visual interest to the border of this small embroidery piece. Enjoy more of Susan’s work in her interview on Create Whimsy.
See my favorite 10 Easy Embroidery Stitches to Embellish Your Projects.
Check out all of the hand embroidery projects on Create Whimsy.
Browse through more stitch tutorials.