Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Chinese Knot Video Tutorial


In the world of hand embroidery, there is quite a variety of isolated knot stitches. The Chinese knot is yet another knot stitch that can be added to the list. The Chinese knot is often illustrated worked as a line or filling.

Chinese Knot Stitch

In this tutorial for the Chinese knot, I’m demonstrating the version that is found in many stitch dictionaries today. The fact is, there are other stitches that are called the Chinese knot, and within those Chinese knots, there are variations. In this video, the one I’m illustrating is the one worked in a line, and it has a little bit of a tail to it. You can, of course, eliminate the tail and make a perfectly round knot stitch. You can also work the stitch in isolation, and you can also leave the loop of the knot more open, for a different look. Down the road a bit, we’ll look at some variations.

In the meantime, here’s the video. I hope you enjoy it!

(If you are receiving this blog post via e-mail, please visit Needle ‘n Thread to view the Chinese Knot Video Tutorial.)

If you are interested in learning other embroidery stitches, feel free to check out my collection of embroidery how-to videos here on Needle ‘n Thread, where you’ll find over 75 videos available to help you with your hand embroidery.

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(15) Comments

  1. I’ve never heard of this. Looks pretty simple once you remember which way to twist your finger and when the needle goes in or out of the thread loop. Sometimes my French knots have a tail because I move the needle over a bit so I don’t pop the knot through the fabric. But it’s not intentional like the Chinese knot. 😮 Thanks for sharing this. Always happy to see something new.

  2. Is this stitch similar to the “wool” stitch that is talked about in the Lucy Vaughan Hayden Mackrille book “Church Embroidery and Church Vestments” on page 32? This is the stitch that she talks about for the filling to imitate the fleece of the Agnus Dei. In the description, it sounds slightly different in the formation of the Chinese knot stitch. I’ve been trying to find a stitch dictionary that shows the wool stitch, but have not found it in my limited library yet.

    Thanks for any help you might offer with this.

    1. Hi, Carrie – I think you could work wool with this stitch, and get the same effect, if you leave the stitch open in a circle.

      Have you seen the wool on the Agnus Dei lamb I did? I like the “curly wool” effect better than the knotted variety. You can find it under the Agnus Dei project, in the first section under Tips & Techniques. There’s a post in there that shows the wool close up.

      But if you want to stick with the knot look, you can really use any knot for wool – in Lucy Mackrille’s book, I think she leaves the knots open in a circle, but I think it’s essentially the same idea as the Chinese knot, or one of the variations, anyway…


  3. Thank you, Mary. You are really busy adding to your library of stitches 🙂
    I’ve seen this stitch before, just not in the video and it’s an interesting one, but… it looks a bit ‘detached’ to me… if you know what I mean. Perhaps it can be worked as “connected”…

  4. Love your ideas on embroidery stitches. I have downloaded many of your newsletters for my embroidery catalog. I won Second Prize at our Texas Grange Contest in Poteet this year. I purchase my embroidery design “Cat in the Window” from Jack Dempsey Art Designs and Finca Floss from Zweigart in New Jersey. I will be teaching basic embroidery at our Mission Trail Library and Wesley Senior Center starting in Sept. I will be using your needlework in my class. Give you credit to Seniors who use their computer. Have a good day, keep the great newsletters my way, Pat

  5. Hey Mary, thanks for this amazing tutorial you always help me this stitch will be perfect for the purse I’m making!

  6. I forgot to ask ! In the picture you show the stitch it looks connected but in the video there are gaps inbetween? How do i make it without gaps??
    Thank you,

  7. Oh wow. I just tried this one and I am so bad at it! The knots are terribly uneven. Think I’ll go practice some more. 🙂 Thanks for posting the video. I’m really enjoying learning new stitches!

  8. Dear Mary

    Thank you so much for this lovely Chinise knot stitch, it certainly would make a lovely border line or on it’s own, love it. Thanks so much for your time in showing us the How to stitches and stich play wonderful.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  9. Hi Mary,
    Your video on the Chinese Knot is awesome.Thanks a lot .This is one stitch I was finding difficult to nail.I went from site to site got the know how but with a tail.As I saw your video I took my needle and thread out and I tried it .It was perfect.I must try again with a thicker thread to make the fellows fat to sit snugly together.Thankyou.

  10. greetings from Mexico! thanks a lot for all your very useful videos, tips and links! and you you it for free, that is pure love for stitching

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