Stitch of the Month
November 2008: French Knot

by Lois Kershner

November’s stitch is the last in our series of stitches featuring circles, our theme for the 2008 Stitch of the Month. This month our stitch is the French Knot, certainly one of the smallest stitches to form a circle. Put them together into a cluster and you can form a whole circle of French Knots. The French Knot can also stand alone as a singular stitch, often representing a small flower.

French Knot Cluster

The traditional French Knot is made by wrapping the thread one time around the needle before taking it down in an adjacent canvas hole, as illustrated below.

Single French Knot

The chart below illustrates making a French Knot. Bring your needle up at “A”. Wrap the thread around the needle once, then take the needle down in an adjacent canvas hole at “B”. Pull the thread gently so that the loop is wrapped snugly but not too tightly around the needle at the surface of the canvas. Now pull the thread to the back of the canvas, gently closing the knot.

Notice that the chart below shows the needle in an adjacent hole to the right of the thread. It could also be directly above or in a diagonal canvas hole. If you wish the angle of the knot “tail” to be in the same direction, then be sure to always take your needle down in the same adjacent direction.

French Knot Chart

If you wish to have a larger knot, use a thicker thread or use more strands of thread in your needle.

You can take the needle down in the same canvas hole, but if your tension is tight or the thread thin you might pull the knot all the way through to the back of the canvas.

Variation on a Theme

A contemporary style of canvas embroidery shows making a “loopy” French Knot. It works up nicely in a floral overdye to create a lovely cluster of flower petals or green/brown overdye to represent lichen on rocks. To make a loopy French Knot wrap your thread around your needle but leave a little slack in the thread, or “loop” at the surface of the canvas before taking your needle down. Vary the size of the loops for interest.

Loopy French Knot

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