9 important Knot Stitches in Embroidery

Learn how to do the 5 beautiful varieties of knot embroidery stitches - French Knot, Bullion Knot , Four legged knot stitch, Turk's head knot & Danish knot

knot stitches

Knot stitches are special embroidery stitches formed by wrapping the thread around itself differently. The ones described here are primarily detached stitches (stand-alone), but there are also continuous knotted stitches like the Turkey stitch.

They are used as filler stitches and give a three dimensional look to the embroidery work with their raised and textured appearance.

One main thing to remember is to use an embroidery hoop when doing these stitches. These stitches are best done with a needle with a small eye.

Most popular knot stitches in embroidery

French Knot

 french knots

French knots are best done inside an outline stitch to give it definition. The 3-dimensional look this stitch gives to your design is delightful and hence a favourite of all who do embroidery.

How to make a french Knot

Step 1
Bring the needle from the back of the fabric at point A. Keep the thread tightly in your left hand.
Step 2
Keep the needle near the fabric and wrap the thread around the needle once or twice.

wrap the thread one or two times on the needle
Step 3
Gently pull the thread so that the wrapped thread is tightening the thread wraps with your left hand and pull the needle to the back. A knot is left behind, which looks absolutely beautiful.

insert the needle near the point A

Checkout the post on French knot for more details and to know its many uses in embroidery

Bullion Knot (Bullion Stitch  or Bullion bar)bullion stitch rose

BUllion knot stitch is a beautiful stitch that can be used to fill outlines and make flower designs. A perfect rose flower can be made with this stitch alone by slightly curving the stitching and arranging it in a round shape.

To make it look better, use variegated yarn ( shaded yarn). Leaves made using this stitch also look good.

Checkout the post on Bullion stitches & 3 easy to do bullion  stitch embroidery designs.

bullion stitch

How to do a Bullion Knot Stitch.

Step 1.
Bring the needle to the front of the fabric from the back. Use a long needle used for general stitching ( not an embroidery needle, which has a large eye)
Again Insert the needle into the fabric at A, near where the needle came out, and come out a small distance from there at B. Keep the needle in that position without taking it out.

Make a stitch very clse to where you inserted the needle
Step 2.
Wrap the thread from behind the needle around the tip of the needle several times
Ensure that you are wrapping neatly and compactly.
Make enough wraps that approximately equal the distance between A-B.

wrap thread a number if times around the needle tio
Step 3.
Using your forefinger keep the wraps in place. Now gently take out (ease out) the needle (the thread wrap should stay there) from the wrap.

Make several bullion stitches around a point to form the rose
Step 4.
Flip the thread wrap to the other side (A) where you started.
Step 5
Insert the needle to a point very close to A to the back of the fabric. Secure thread there.
Step 6
Make sure that the stitch is to your liking. Or else use your hands to arrange the coils to perfection.

Pistil Stitch or Long tailed French Knots

pistil stitch with a knot at the end of straight stitch

The pistil stitch is a french knot stitch with a leg. Check out the post on Pistil stitch

Four legged knot stitch

four knot

This stitch resembles a cross with a knot in its center.
Step 1
Make a straight stitch down and then  go to point c half the distance of the cross from the center, all in one go

take a stitch a little far from where the needle came up
Step 2
Hold the thread with your left hand somewhat tightly
Step 3
cross the first straight stitch

Bring the needle under the threads from the right side top diagonally as in the picture. Bring up the needle, making a knot. Hold the loop gently but firmly with your left hand, and pull the needle with your right hand.

If you do not continue holding the thread from the left side while tightening the loop, it will be very loose and spoil the look of the stitch. You need the knot in the center of the stitch.
Step 4
Now complete the cross by going to the other side halfway of the straight stitch at D and insert the needle into the back.

Make the 4 knot stitch

Ghiordes knot (Turkey stitch)

Ghiordes knot stitch is a stitch resembling the carpet pile. Loops are made continuously, mostly in multiple rows.

turkey stitches with a loop and knots

Colonial knot (Figure 8 knot)

Keep the thread in the shape of a loop near the fabric.
Keep the tip of the needle inside the loop. 
Now twist the thread and wrap the needle once more. Pull the thread towards the left to tighten the ball formed.

Carefully insert the needle with the twist on it, to a little to the side just like you do for the french knot.
The knot which is formed is as attractive as the french knot.

Gordian Knot (Braid stitch)

braided knot stitch

Danish Knot

danish knot stitches

Step 1
Bring needle and thread to the front of the fabric through Point A. A little in front, take in and bring out needle through point B and C.

knot stitches
Step 3

From C bring the needle under A-B to the left ( making a triangular shape).

Step 4

Again bring the needle to the right and bring the needle under A-B once more.A danish knot is formed.

This is mostly used as a filler stitch.

Turk’s head knot

This is a knot made with yarn , cord or string and can be stitched on to your work for an interesting 3 dimensional element. Checkout the tutorial to make a Turk’s head knot

You may also want to know how to make similar knots – they are very useful in sewing and other crafts. Check out the post “10 basic knots ” for more details like how to make them easily.

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

2 thoughts on “9 important Knot Stitches in Embroidery”

  1. I am looking for what it was called when you did a pillow and it was a picture on the fabric all done with white thread on white fabric made with just knots, what was that called

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