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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Video Tutorial: Coral Stitch


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The coral stitch, also called the coral knot stitch or coral knot, is a line stitch made up of knots. The knots created by the coral stitch can be spaced close together or far apart, depending on what you want your line to look like.

The coral stitch is worked from right to left for the righty and left to right for the lefty, although in reality, it can be worked from either direction with either hand, especially if you stab the stitch (taking the needle all the way to the back of the fabric and pulling through) instead of sew it (working from the front only and scooping up the fabric with each stitch).

Coral Stitch

The coral stitch is a kind of “self-couching” technique – you’re basically tying down the working thread with the working thread, by forming knots over the thread.

You can work the coral stitch on straight or curved lines. The stitch looks best when the knots are evenly spaced.

Coral Stitch

You can also use coral stitch as a filling, by working rows of coral stitch close together within the area to be filled. To do this, you stagger the position of the knots, so that they fit between the knots on the line before.

Coral Knots in Schwalm embroidery

Coral stitch is an integral part of Schwalm embroidery, a type of whitework that employs coral stitch and chain stitch to outline areas of drawn and pulled thread fillings.

Coral knot in drawn thread embroidery

The coral knot can also be used in drawn thread embroidery, to gather threads into bunches.

Here’s the video:

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(27) Comments

  1. Thanks for another great tutorial, Mary. My favorite part of the video was the little “huh” you uttered when discussing the name of the stitch 🙂

  2. Another great video, Mary! Thank you!

    I like this stitch. Not long ago I, in order to practice various stitches, created quilt blocks with large heart shapes, and then filled in the hearts with all sorts of different stitches, in a crazy quilt sort of fashion. This was a great stitch for outlining the hearts. I love the chain of little triangle shapes it creates. – Jeannine

  3. Mary – I didn’t think it was a “I just said something really dumb” moment … rather it seemed to me that something made you stop and think, that’s all … a very human moment which I love.

  4. Thanks, Joey! Someone suggested to me that I use a “script” when I do the videos, but that just doesn’t work for me. It sounds too…. artificial and formal!

  5. Oopsie! My bad, Mary! It was the Pearl Stitch that I was talking about that made the little triangle shapes, outlinging the heart that I did. Sorry about that!

  6. Thankyou Mary. I’ve just spent half an hour getting confused by a book.
    Occurred to me that you might have a video on it, and voila! And I understand now!

    Look out for it’s appearance in my sampler shortly. I’m going to use it as a filling, as well as a leaf vein.

    Yay Mary!

  7. Hi, Zenia –

    As a filling, you work the stitch in close rows, alternating the placement of the knots. Hope that helps!


  8. Thanks, Gals – hopefully, over the Christmas break, I can work up a few posts on embroidery supplies! That's "part" of my plan, anyway!

  9. bonsoir
    je viens de trouver votre site ou je n'ai vu que de belles choses pour m'instruire !
    il n'y a pas longtemps que j'ai appris quelques points de broderie,mais souvent dans les livres c'est difficile de comprendre.
    et là avec vos vidéos c'est magique on comprend tout de suite ce qu'il faut faire,même si il faut recommencer plusieurs fois avant de faire le point parfait !
    alors merci mille fois,je vous met dans mes favoris,et je reviendrai vous voir.
    bon week-end à bientôt

  10. Hi Mary. You were wonderful. But I tried it and I have a small issue. Whenever I am starting this stitch, it looks like one of the running stitches and when I am continuing with the same stitch it doesn’t go in the straight line it automatically goes lower. I am left handed.

  11. Thanks Mary for the simple clarity of this tutorial. It is very helpful to a beginner embroiderer. I also love the work you are currently showing – alphabets and secret gardens. You most thoroughly demystify the process involved in embroidery yet develop an understanding of its artistic dimensions. I love it. Eve

  12. I know this is an old post but I wanted to thank you for leaving this video up so that people can still access it and learn new stitches. I’ve just used your video and this stitch to make a border around a thimble pip that I am embroidering.

  13. Thanks I found your site last year (2014) and have used it many times. Most helpful and clear instructions!
    Ilona Pietermaritzburg KZN South Africa

  14. Thank you. I learned basic embroidery when I was a young girl. I have taken it up again and want to learn more. Your website and the video tutorials are wonderful.

  15. I love these videos of how to do the stitches. I am a visual learner and it helps me so much. I can take a sample piece and do the stitch as you do it. Thank you so much you don’t know how much this helps me as a visual learner.

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