Oooh la la! French knots – so very fancy – and so very frustrating. When you don’t know the trick to them, that is.
For years I had a love/hate relationship with them. I loved the effect – there’s nothing quite like it for teeny polkadots and nubbly texture. But I hated their unpredictability. Sometimes they worked, but most of the time they didn’t. Every time I stitched one I held my breath to see if it would hold. If it did, I did a little happy dance. If it didn’t. . . well, let’s just say there was swearing while I picked out the bad stitch and rethreaded my needle.
For a long time I thought it was just a French knot thing. They have a reputation for being tricky. But then one day I had an epiphany. I realized the problem wasn’t the French knot – it was me. I blame it on my inability to read those cryptic stitch diagrams. You know – the ones with NO ACCOMPANYING TEXT to tell you about things to be careful of/look out for. All this time I simply had my needle pointed the wrong way during the thread-wrapping part of the knot. That’s it! Once I figured it out I was set and I haven’t had a failed French knot since.
Right now some of you are probably laughing at me because you’ve been successfully doing French knots since you were a kid. But I guarantee that some of you have a certain light in your eyes and you’re staring at the screen thinking, “Is it really that simple? Is that really what I’ve been doing wrong all this time?” And you’re itching to grab a hoop and see if it really works. I know this because that’s been the response in every class I’ve ever taught. Go grab your hoop, my friends. Watch the video. You’ll see. And you will LOVE French knots. There’s nothing else quite like them.
Want some practice?
There are a few French knots decorating this pretty bird.
And here’s a totally insane practice project.
Yep – those flowers pants are all French knots. She’s from the Misfits monster embroidery pattern.
Here are my lessons for the four most basic embroidery stitches I recommend for beginners.
- How to Backstitch
- How to Stitch a Lazy Daisy (or Detached Chain Stitch)
- How to Stitch a French Knot
- How to Satin Stitch