Hello and welcome to another stitch tutorial! Today we are going to be looking at one of my favourite stitches ever, The French Knot. I know some people strongly dislike it or aren’t inclined to try it, but it’s really easy once you get the hang of it! And it’s SO useful. Not only does it add texture, but it’s also perfect for small details such as eyes or flower centers. I use it in nearly every project I make!
Last week I shared a raspberry embroidery project, where I combined French knots and beads to create the berries. The effect was wonderful, I thought! It made the fruits very dimensional, and the French knots are quick and easy to work. And this is coming from someone who struggles with hyperhidrosis and has a lot of trouble with bullion knots. I wrote a good hack for that one in my post Awesome Bullion Knot Hack. 😉 So anyways, the French knots are your friend! Even if your thread gets all wet like mine because of sweaty hands, they are still very manageable. (Right, so it’s very unpleasant to stitch with hyperhidrosis sometimes, but it’s doable!!)
Without further ado, let me show you how to work those fabulous French knots! First, you will begin by threading an embroidery needle and hooping your fabric. Then, anchor or knot your thread and you’ll be ready to begin.
For tips on how to start and end your stitches, check out: How to Start and End Embroidery Stitches
I used 3 strands of floss for this tutorial.
French Knot Tutorial
Bring your needle up from the back once it’s threaded and anchored.
With one hand (I’m right-handed so I’ll do this with my left hand because my dominant hand will hold the needle), hold the thread up a little, slightly above where it came up the fabric. With your dominant hand, hold your needle behind the thread, perpendicularly.
Wrap the thread twice around the needle. For best results, you always want to wrap only twice. If you want your knot to be bigger or smaller, reduce or add the number of strands you work with. Wrapping more than twice usually only creates a mess. You can wrap clockwise or anti-clockwise, it doesn’t really matter.
Pull the thread to tighten the wraps a little. You want them to be tight enough that they both rest against each other, but loose enough to be able to move the needle.
While still holding the thread with one hand, let your other hand guide the needle to go through the fabric again. Position the tip of the needle just beside the point where you first came up. You don’t want to be in exactly the same hole, or the knot won’t hold, but you want be as close as you can get.
As you angle the needle upwards to go through the fabric, relax your hand holding the thread just a little, allowing the loops to slide down the needle.
When they get to the bottom, hold the thread tight to tighten the loops against the needle shaft again, and keep holding the thread! Usually at this point, I like to use one finger to hold the thread down against the fabric to make sure those loops stay wrapped tight around the needle.
While you hold the thread, pull the needle through. It will go through the loops and the fabric. Hold on to the thread with your finger until the needle goes through completely. You can let go once the needle is fully on the other side, and just keep pulling the thread all the way.
Once the needle is pulled all the way, you end with a beautiful, tidy knot like this!
You can repeat the steps to create as many knots as you want, all close together, or further apart depending on what you’re stitching.
When I worked on my raspberries, I wanted my French knots to be close enough together, with a few spaces for adding beads later.
There are so many possibilities with this stitch, and I think you will have a lot of fun with it if you try it and practice a few times!! I know it sounds a bit convoluted when detailed out like this (this is a stitch that is very quick to make, but writing it out makes it seem a bit long!), but it’s really not as bad as it might sound. A video tutorial would probably be best suited for this stitch, and I hope to make one someday soon! I’m not very equipped for making videos at the moment, but it’s something I’d be interested in trying if there’s enough interest. Let me know if you think that would be helpful for you!
I hope you enjoyed my tutorial, and please let me know if you give it a try! If you already know how to do it, do you also really like it? What other stitches would you be interested in learning? Let me know in the comments!
In the meantime, check out my other stitch tutorials!
You can find all stitch tutorials under the “Tutorials” -> “Stitches” section in the menu, or by clicking the images above.
Happy stitching my friend, and I hope you have fun with the French knot!