Today we are going to look at the two most used knots – the French knot and my preferred –the Colonial knot. People do these knots in many different ways so I will show you how I do them - take it or leave it – if your way is better, feel free to keep doing it and if its really really better then share it with me.
Firstly, as always – I cant do them without a hoop – you need two hands to do the knot so you need the hoop to hold the fabric taut.
Okay, bring the thread up from the back and hold it tight in your left hand (of course if you are right handed)
Place the needle under the thread
with the left hand bring the thread over the top of the needle, underneath then back over the top – that is, wrap the thread once around the needle
Place the tip of the needle back through the fabric just one thread (of the fabric) away from the hole you came up through – don’t go down in the same hole or you could just pull your knot straight back through
now, very important this bit – pull the knot – or the wrap – down close onto the fabric so its firmly around the needle (this stops loopy knots from forming because the knot forms up the thread instead of hard against the fabric)
Then while holding the thread on the fabric with the left hand, take your right hand under the hoop and pull the needle through.
Ta da – your first french knot
Now I was taught that a french knot is only ever one wrap and if you want a bigger knot you need to use a bigger thread or more strands –BUT I have to admit that I am guilty of doing up to 3 wraps when I want some a bit bigger and cant be bothered changing threads and as long as you pull them tight onto that fabric it generally works.
Now the French knots Colonial sister – this is traditionally used in the technique of Candlewicking which was worked with the white candlewick thread onto white or cream fabric. I prefer this to the French knot as because of its twist it sits much more nicely on the fabric. The thread goes down through the middle of the knot and anchors the stitch straight on to the fabric right where you want it. French knots sometimes tend to lie down or tip over after a hard night and are then not so consistent.
so, here’s how we do it – just a little bit trickier until you get it..
Bring the thread up and again hold it tight with the left hand. Place the needle to the left of the thread
then take the needle under the thread and back over the top
place the tip of the needle back through the fabric one thread away once again from where you came up.
Pull that knot tightly onto the fabric as before.
hold the thread and pull the needle through to the back.
So, here is the Colonial knot at the top and the French knot down the bottom - both with one wrap and the same thread.
Knots such as these are used in many places – of course great for eyes and dots on letter ‘i’s , but also for accent, as an outline, as a filler stitch – the uses are endless.
here are a few from around my home:
This was an Inspirations project – in a very early issue – see the coloured french knot fillers – then the white on white to form a subtle oval shape.
You can see a lot more inspiration and ideas on my pinboard here
Now a variation to the knot is the pistol Pistil stitch. This is worked in exactly the same manner (you can use the French or the Colonial knot) EXCEPT you put the tip of your needle down a distance away from where you brought it up – this makes a straight stitch with a knot on the end. I have to say Colonial knots are best for this as then the stitch stays exactly where you wanted it to be.
And we are going to try it in our page today! You can download it here. Download Frenchandcolonialknot
I have stem stitched the heart outlines, chain stitched the circle and then whipped it. Outside the circle is pistol Pistil stitch and everything else is done with knots – you can choose which knot you prefer and use either.
happy stitching – hope you enjoy this one!
hugs for today
PS – apologies for my gardening fingernails – If I had a personal manicurist and a few more hours in the day they would be stunning…