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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Weekend Stitching: Lots of Knots


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What are your weekend stitching plans? Will you have time to embroider this weekend, to indulge in hours of Needlework Bliss? I hope you will! Here’s what I’m up to this weekend…

I’m making lots of French knots. LOTS of them! This whole crewel rooster project has me more involved in making French knots than any other project I’ve ever done. Oh, sure – I use French knots here and there when I embroider. One here. One there. A few in that cluster, a small bunch thither and yon.

But I don’t think I’ve ever packed in this many French knots in one project in my whole stitching life!

My plans for this weekend involve lots of knots. Come Sunday night, my goal is to have the rooster project completely finished. There are about a million (or a gazillion) French knots between me and that goal.

Crewel Embroidery: Flowers in French knots

Each petal in both flowers on the rooster project will be filled with French knots. Plugging away last night on some of the knots, I asked myself, “Why? Why did you do this? Why not just some quick filling stitches? Why not satin stitch? Why French knots? Are you NUTS?”

Crewel Embroidery: Flowers in French knots

For each petal, it takes 34″ of crewel wool to fill the petal with French knots. In fact, I use two and a half 16″ strands of wool, but I’m taking into account the thread lost at the beginning and end of each strand – so it roughly works out to about 34″ all told per petal. I’m using Renaissance Dyeing wool for the flowers. I like the colors of crewel wool I’m using, but the flowers are ending up darker than I realized they would be.

So why French knots?

My answer:

Why knot?

Enjoy your weekend!


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(14) Comments

  1. Oh Mary!

    I think the French knots are beautiful. I also think you're a lot like me in your stitch choices and ambitions! (But you seem to finish more… Hmmm. Need to work on that!)

    We are snowed in here in the Triangle area of NC, so I'm going to be stitching the weekend away. Making a fleece jacket for myself, but also working on a cross stitch project and getting the design finalized for a new crewel piece. 🙂 Much fun here.

  2. My weekend stitching plans are rather knotty too. But mine involve an exhaustive search for a misplaced project. (So exasperating!) But I'm seriously considering devising something else to stitch or picking up an old half-done project of guest towels. Maybe I'll even pick it all out and re-select colors and re-consider stitches. (Now just satin and back stitches, a little boring.)

  3. I love the French knots Mary. Really nice! I'm going to try to start a quilting project this weekend. I've had an idea to do some sort of fabric piece with embellishments, painting, etc., in tribute to Gustav Klimt. I'm not quite sure where to start though! We'll see if that happens.

  4. This is off the topic of french knots – I am inspired to embroidery a poem after seeing your tutorial from Oct 09. I have some old linen cocktail napkins ("All Linen" "hand thread drawn" is on the box). Are these the same as plain weave linen that you recommend? Or is it too fine for embroidery? How does one figure that out? Thanks very much. This blog is a great resource!!

  5. Hi, All – Glad you like the knots. Couldn't resist the pun, Melissa! You know you chuckled…. well, that half-groan, half-chuckle? Quarter chuckle? A wince that could be mistaken as a chuckle?

    Dorothy, I would imagine that the cocktail napkins would be find for stitching on – just make sure you're using a fine thread. I would use no more than one strand of DMC, for example. If it ends up looking "lost," try two strands, but I bet one will suffice. You'll also need a small needle – #10 or higher.


  6. I love french knots, grin. I can remember years ago groaning everytime I had to do now, now I use them in lots of things that didn't call for them, so why knot??? grin! BarbM

  7. Mary, it`s about time we heard this rooster crow! Love the French knots.They do resemble the tight center of some flowers.But I do think he`s ready to go.

  8. I love the Frenvh knots Mary….so textured! *groans at the pun*

    This weekend I am stitching on a couple of different projects…just started one of the blocks from Houses Of Hawk Run Hollow on 40ct lambswool. Not impressed with the fabric quality i`m using though, so i`ll see how it goes. I am also going to go study your tutorials on embroidering letters…a friend volunteered me for stitcing over autographs on a quilt project to raise funds for Haiti, so I need to brush up my freehand skills.

    Have a "knotty" weekend!!

  9. G'day Mary,

    I really like what you're doing with the french knots and colours at close range.
    Will be interesting to see how they look in the whole picture.

    Once before I commented on the flowers as the hens and the stamens as the chicks.
    Am interested to see what you do with the 'chicks'. Only small but you will be considering them as carfully as any other part no doubt.

    Cheers, Kath.

  10. Really Why knot??? They are so pretty!
    My weekend has been with my grand daughters at home… so… only theirs stitching and drawings and some walks outside…
    Have a great Sunday!

  11. Hi there Mary,

    We all know that you will finish Ricky Rooster this weekend. He is looking fantastic, far more resplendent than the ones I see across the road from me everyday!!

    I have to admit, mine hasn't been a stitching/sewing weekend, but it has been a pattern drafting weekend………..So, hopefully, next week really will see the start of some smocking and embroidery. Fingers crossed!

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