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More and more people are taking up embroidery and sewing, including millennials. This points to a growing desire for people to reclaim the simple pleasures that humanity lost when we invented machines.
Before sewing and embroidery machines came onto the scene, people embroidered and sewed by hand. And many are returning to that form of embroidery.
But before you can claim to be a master embroiderer, you must first learn how to make different types of stitches.
In this article, I want to shine a spotlight on one of the more difficult stitches out there: the French knot. How to make it? Keep reading to find out.
The French Knot
The French knot is one stitch that even seasoned embroiderers dread due to the difficulty of learning how to make it. At the same time, it is cherished by those who have mastered the technique of executing it.
You can work them individually, in loose or dense groups, or along a line. You can combine them with other types of stitches to make innovative, unique designs.
If you are creating a design that includes a face, you can use the French knot to stitch the eyes. You can also use it to create a center for a flower when you are working with lazy daisy stitches.
French knots are rather difficult to unknot and often require to be cut away. If you have not yet mastered the French knot, it’s prudent that you start a new length of thread before you begin working on the knots.
In this way, you will avoid messing up your other stitching should you need to cut out some of your poorly done knots.
- Thread the needle using a piece of thread that is approximately 12 inches (30cm) or three strands of embroidery floss.
- If you opt for the three separate strands of floss route, deal with the tails of each floss separately. That means you should tie a knot close to the end of one of the tails and not the others.
- Ensure the knotted tail is of slightly longer length than the other two. It is this strand that shall be the anchor of the knot while the other two provide the bulk.
- Poke the needle up, through the fabric, coming from the back side.
- Ensure you draw the floss/thread through as this brings up the strand’s full length.
- When using several strands of floss, the knot will draw the one strand taut while the loose strands come through.
- And if you are working on an embroidery type piece, you can work the thread through a few stitches so as to anchor it on the back of the piece.
- Pointing the needle downwards, wrap your thread around it thrice. Poke the fabric with the needle a thread or two away from the place it poked up from the back side. Pull the string taut around the needle’s base so as to form the beginning of the knot.
- When working on a large weave fabric (for instance, aida cloth), go back in slightly to one side of the original hole to ensure you don’t pull the knot through to the back.
- Pull the strand so that it comes down through the fabric of the doubled wrap.
- Ensure the needle is pointing back into the fabric at the point where it initially came through.
- As you are pulling the strand through, hold the thread tight using your left hand with a slight loop held by your thumb to ensure it does not tangle. The threads will knot themselves into the appropriate shape.
- Remember to maintain the tension on the strand all the while. The idea is for the knot to start forming even before the needle is through. When done right, the double wrap forms a tight little bud at the point where the needle was inserted, and this is what is called a French knot.
- Something else you must keep in mind is that you must never yank the strand. Instead, you should pull it through gently; otherwise, the strands might get all tangled.
- Anchor the thread on the back.
- For the sake of prudence, the fabric is sitting on a firm surface – for instance, a book or a magazine; otherwise, you might end up poking the needle into your knee by accident.
- Create more knots by tying them off or anchoring them in the existing stitches,
- Anchoring the knots is a way of ensuring that they do not unravel.
- And that’s how you make a French knot.
Things to Remember When Making a French Knot:
- When making a French knot in fabric, it is best that you use a sewing needle that has a big eye.
- Choose a color that complements the project you are working on. For instance, if you have sewed a pattern, choose a color that is in the fabric so as to avoid color clashing.
- It’s best that you wrap French knots only once or twice.
- You can adjust the size of your French knot by changing the number of strands.
- Another way to change the size and look of your French knot is with tension. A knot that has perfect tension will be taut. Loosening the tension allows for loopy, soft French knots – such knots are perfect for creating tiny flowers that have a unique texture.
- French knots are difficult to unknot. If you need to undo one, you might have to simply cut it away.
YouTube video of how to make a French knot:
As I said earlier, many people have taken up embroidery, which is quite surprising considering most of them thought it was a dying art after the machines came in and revolutionized the clothing industry.
Mastering embroidery is a great way to attract attention and receive the admiration of friends. When you show off your embroidered outfits that you did yourself, your friends will marvel.
However, among seasoned embroiderers, you will have to prove your mettle, and one way to do this is by demonstrating you have mastered the technique of making a French knot.