A French knot is a knot stitch made by wrapping thread once or twice around the needle and pulling through leaving a small and beautiful knot on the surface of the fabric.
This is that one stitch every embroiderer should be learning early in the learning process but most of the first timers have a dread of this stitch – which is not at all warrantied. It is easy to do this stitch – like any other hand embroidery stitch.
And the beauty of french knot – I donot have to elaborate. They look like a rose embroidered on its own . The unparalleled texture given by a mass of french knots to your embroidery work is beautiful.
It is one of my favourite filling stitches, be it filling the whole design or as gap filling stitches
Uses of french knots in embroidery
As a filling stitch inside the petals of flowers
To make cute animals in embroidery
or the cute lamb embroidered on the easy to make baby dress ( tutorial & pattern)
As an embroidery border design
To fill the gaps in embroidery
Filling for center of flowers
How to make a french knot easily and beautifully
You need a thin needle with a small eye to make the french knot. Like what you use for making bullion knot stitches. Thread your needle with two strands of thread. Catch the two tails and tie a knot
Keep the fabric taut on a hoop/frame.
Come up from behind the fabric ( where you want the french knot to be). Hold the thread to the left . Keep the needle on top of the thread slightly to the back of where you came up.
Wind the thread twice ( or once or thrice – though twice is best).
Twist needle to the right two thread away from where you originally emerged. Ensure that the thread is still taut on your needle. If they are not you can use your left hand to tighten them around the needle. Not too tight that all the loops disappear – you need some volume for the french knot. You may also be twisting your fabric in the process – just don’t worry about this at this point of time. it will be corrected.
Insert the needle into the fabric and push down slowly
Now reach under the fabric and pull the needle through the wraps. Hold on to the thread till almost all the thread is pulled to the back. A perfect french knot will be formed
You can make beautiful ribbon embroidery – french knot stitches with thin ribbons
How many wraps are right for a french knot
This depends on you an the effect you want with the french knots. You can even get away with a single wrap if it is a thick enough thread like a wool yarn or if you want a small knot in a specific place in the design ( like the top of the ear in the cat design above).
The usual practise is to do with 2 wraps around the needle. Increasing the number of thread in the needle will give you a fluffier french knot. For a very fluffy french knot you can even use the full 6 strands
You can mix small and big french knots so that there is variation in the texture of your embroidery work.