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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French Knots – Lots of Knots – on a Wattle


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Thanks to Gill, freezing over there in the UK, I now know that the fleshy, bumpy stuff hanging from a rooster’s chin is called a wattle. And I’ve over-French-knotted the wattle on this guy. I decided to fill in the wattle on the crewel rooster entirely in French knots in two colors of red.

Unlike the stitchin’ and a-pickin’ I did on the previous parts of the rooster, I’ve decided that whether or not you like this coagulation of French knots, they are staying. If you don’t like them, feel free to say so! But I don’t think you can twist my arm enough to pick out this many French knots!

(Ok, if you tell me it’s downright horrible, and that my entire reputation as even a moderately knowledgeable stitcher will go whizzing down the drain if I don’t remove them – I might remove them. But even then, at this point, I kind of doubt it!)

French Knots in Crewel Work

Besides, I am a great lover of the French Knot. I love the texture French knots give to embroidery. I love the way they just slip into their knotty circles as you stitch with them. I love French knots.

French Knots in Crewel Work

And I will admit that these are rather messy French knots, crowded and packed into their wattle-space like … bumps on a wattle. But I still like them. And even if I’ve over-done it with the French knots, the mere fact that they are French knots makes me very happy with them.

Because I …. Love …. French …. Knots.

I briefly considered finishing the entire rooster in French knots.

Onto another subject: I do believe tomorrow I will break from the rooster momentarily (I can hear the collective sighs of relief reverberating all over the globe!) and Give Away another Trish Burr CD. So stay tuned for tomorrow’s post!

For other posts on this crewel rooster project, please visit the following links:

Free Hand Embroidery Pattern for The Crewel Rooster
Setting up The Crewel Rooster Project
Choosing Threads for The Crewel Rooster – and the first flower
Crewel Design Books
Stem Stitch Filling on Flower Stems
Scalloped Feathers on the Rooster’s Body
The Beginnings of the Rooster’s Tail


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(23) Comments

  1. Mary, the French Knots are perfect (in MHO) for the wattle. I too LOVE French Knots, and wool makes the best ones, vs. cotton floss or floche. I've used them in wool on a little lamb and the little thing looks just like a wooly lamb. So, yes, perfect choice of French Knots for the wattle, and you do not need to pick them out! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your work and pictures – they are helpful.

  2. G'day Mary,

    Wattle be will be eh!

    I, too, love French Knots and think lots in a group look boring if 'perfect'. I know that seems I am agreeing yours arn't perfect but it looks great. So wattle there be knot to like?

    With The Tale of the Tail (love the detail in de tail), I was interested to see how effective the simple application of Backstitch over Chain is. I don't think I've noticed this done before.
    Also I really like the green feather.

    Good on you.

    Thanks again and bye for now, Kath

    ps, I accidently wiped out my comment (I think) so if 2 come through….!

  3. I agree with everyone else. The French Knots are perfect for this! I cannot think of any other stitch that would work. I always struggle with my French Knots but when I watched your tutorial it made things so much easier! I am loving this little rooster!

  4. I went out and really LOOKED at the wattle and comb (the waggly red bit on top) and darned if it isn't textured like tiny French knots! 🙂

    You might also want to give him proper ears…and tufts! 🙂

  5. Love the French knots, and I think the texture of them is perfect for his wattle. May I suggest that you do the comb (the fleshy appendage on the head) in the same manner. If I'm remembering correctly, the look, texture, and color of the comb and wattle are very similar if not identical on a real rooster. And you do love French knots, or so I've heard….

  6. I looked at the picture first and saw all the French Knots and immediately had a sinking feeling that you were going to say you were taking them out. Phew! Glad to see I was wrong!

  7. I think they look cool – but what wool did you use, and how did you like working with it in the French knot? And what size and type of needle are you using for this project?


  8. I love the French Knots…I feel they give a lot of texture to his waddle. Keep it up…I enjoy watching you make choices and reject them…You a least take the time to remove what you don't like rather than abandoning the project which I have been known to do.

  9. Wattle you care if someone doesn't like your french knots, what matters is that you love them, I might add I love them too, I love doing french knots, BarbM

  10. All the French Knot lovers are coming out of the woodwork! I, too, love them, and just did a bunny tail all in French Knots, and three Colonial, which allowed the tail to taper down slightly in height.:)

  11. Hi Mary,
    As usual, I think what you do is gorgeous – and this wattle is soooo beautiful. Have you noticed that when you show a piece of embroidery done with French knots to people, they just have to touch. Would you believe me if I said that I love French knots?
    Yes, I admire the way that after such a long time spent on doing something, you unpick if you're not happy … I just throw it in a corner.

  12. Hi Mary – the french knots are beautiful! I love to look at them but they are my least favorite stitch – I can't ever get them to all look the same! You did a great job!
    Kathy in Kenai

  13. Mary, I echo what others are saying, and add, that it's YOUR rooster, so how you intepret the design is up to you. You are brave to pull out all your stitching on the tale; that is when I get discouraged and put the item to one side. This means, I have lots of unfinished items 🙁

  14. Love em and LOVE the rooster. I'm having a love affair with crewel right now – although I have much to learn from you! (grin).
    I can't wait to see it finished!

  15. G'day Mary,

    Just an extra note on French Knots and Wattle.

    When I saw the heading, my first thought was of Australia's national floral emblem. The Wattle tree.
    It's clustered, yellow, fluffy flower balls are most often embroidered in French Knots.
    Just one or a very few for each 'ball' on smaller clusters or branches or quite a number for each close up larger 'ball'. Shading then is particularly effective.

    Flowering in late winter / early spring it's a glorious sight scattered through other trees on a hill side.
    I have a vision in my mind I will never forget. About 25 years ago, driving along a country road, I saw a lone,large wattle tree in full bloom on the brow of a close by grassy hill. Inky dark storm clouds were behind it and the late afternoon sun was shining only on the tree and a patch of grass.
    I still get shivery thinking of that picture.

    Bye now Kath.

  16. While I read the post yesterday, I thought it didn't look quite right. However, I went ahead and did it (yes, I'm just a follower at heart) and it looks completely different when you see it live.

    Wow, Mary! Great idea!!!

  17. I am very new here and so happened (happily) to come across your Crewel Rooster project.
    I just have to say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the wattle made in French Knots!!! Sorry that I wasn’t here to encourage you when it was still a work in progress. Can’t wait to see more & thank you for your inspiration, Mary!


    1. Thanks, Barbara! I’m so glad you like it! As a matter of fact, I’m getting ready to resurrect the rooster, in a different project, a little smaller, with other threads. Once I get going on it, you’re most welcome to encourage me through it! -MC

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