Knots Français

French Knots...those naughty knots, causing embroidery angst even in English-speaking countries.

A few days ago, I showed you my embroidery and acknowledged that it included quite a few French knots.

Time and again, French knots will bring on admissions from readers that they have trouble with them. Today, I'm going to show you how to make one. The secret is keeping your floss tight against your work. So, this being the week of Halloween, it seems a good time to shed your fear of the dread French knot. Here goes. You'll have to uncover your eyes first.

There happen to be a few more French knots on this pink gumdrop, and so I've enlisted the help of the Resident Engineer turned Camera Man to help me with this. You'll need both hands to make a French knot. You're going to see images from two different knots here...don't let that confuse you. Think of it as proof that it works first time, every time.

 First, bring your needle up through the fabric at the spot where you want your knot.

Now make the required number of wraps. Every knot requires at least one wrap of the floss around the needle. The more wraps, the bigger the knot. In this case, I'm using three wraps.

Now comes the secret to success when it comes to French knots, but it isn't difficult. For one thing, you'll want to poke your needle right next to the first hole, but not through the first hole. If you use the original hole, there's a good chance you'll pull your knot straight through the fabric. I try to place it a thread or two away from the original hole. 

Now, here's the tricky part. If you remember nothing else, remember this: You must hold your floss tight against your fabric as you pull the tail through. So, after you've made your wraps, let them slide down the needle as you poke it back through the fabric until they are tight against the fabric, and hold that tail tight as well. 

Keep holding the tail tight as you pull the floss through the fabric.

Keep pulling, and keep holding it tight.

You'll find that you can let it go as you pull the last of the tail through the fabric, and Voila! One French knot perfectly made and perfectly placed.

Got it? When someone tells me they can't make a French knot, I always figure it's because they're not holding the wraps against the fabric. If you fail to do that, you'll get a nice knot somewhere along the length of your floss, but it won't be against the fabric where you want it. I hope that helps.

Yesterday was another day of amotivation, but I did manage to finish the quilting on the Blushing Aspens table runner.

For that, I quilted leaves randomly all around the outside border. 

Here's how it looks from the back.

Today I'll get the binding sewn on. I'll be using that same green/blue batik for the binding.

Also, I'm going to get to work on the next block for the Live, Love, Teach quilt. Today my goal will be to make the block and take it to the hand embroidery stage. If there's any time left, I'll get a start on Smitty's portrait. That will be fun.

Anything fun going on in your sewing room today?


Lisa said...

I just bought the Crab-apple Hill "The Mystery of The Salem Witches Quilt Guild" pattern and I was wondering how you transfer your patterns? lisamcgriff @ Hotmail . com

Dana Gaffney said...

Really nice add with the leaves on the aspen leaves, I keep looking at how the motion flows and the border just calms it all down, does that make sense? Anyway, I really like it.

SJSM said...

Nice tutorial. Today I continue on the LIGHT pink princess dress. "Can you you make it light pink and have sparkles", says the 5 year old next door. So it shall be. Finished the bodice and sewed the lining and skirt together. Next comes the 5 layers of pink tulle and the sparkly organza layer on the top. All need to be gathered sewn and of course a zipper sewn in. So that is my project today.

Lyndsey said...

Nice tutorial and to be different I like stitching french knots. I like the aspen leaves, a great project. My project for the day was buying fabric for my kitchen curtains. I found just what I wanted at a nice price but I still need to get the lining before I can start sewing.

Amanda Best said...

I always have trouble getting my french knots even, when there are multiple ones in the same area. Thanks for the tips and great photos. I always love your blog.

gpc said...

I have always been a french knot failure, to the point that I stopped doing any embroidery that required them. You make it look so easy, maybe I will try again -- not with confidence, exactly, but with a glimmer of hope. :) Can't wait to see Smitty's portrait!

Andee said...

One think I can do is french knots..back from my counted cross stitch days! Your work is beautiful!

Kate said...

I've always liked making French Knots. I'm not sure where I learned how, maybe from my Grandmother. Yours look nice and neat. The table runner is looking good too.

Celtic Thistle said...

I have just joined a new embroidery class and have been tackling Bullion knots, trying to pull the needle and thread through 25+ wraps is not as simple as I hoped it might be :) French knots will now seem like a doddle in comparison!

kc said...

Ahhhh, seems like I do remember you saying this way back when. I'm sure it'll get easier with practice, but it sure is intimidating to get started after so many failed efforts. So, here goes nuthin! I say that in the spirit of "nuthin ventured, nuthin gained..." Hugs & thanks!