Mary Corbet

writer and founder


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

Contact Mary

Connect with Mary



2024 (64) 2023 (125) 2022 (136) 2021 (130) 2020 (132) 2019 (147) 2018 (146) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (352) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

French Knot Video Updated


Amazon Books

I promise I won’t write a special post for each and every hand embroidery video that I update on Needle ‘n Thread in the future! But just to let you know what I’m doing behind the scenes, I thought I’d point out the update to the video on how to make a French knot. It’s the first of many updates to the Embroidery How-To Videos that will be rolling out in the next month or so. I plan, by the end of December, to replace many of the current videos. Most will be completely re-recorded, but the filming on a couple of them can be salvaged, I think, and just re-edited and re-processed. (If not, they’re out, too!)

French Knot How-To Video

But back to the French knot video. I love French knots – and though they’re not always easy for beginners, I’ve found that, with one-on-one instruction, most stitchers pick them up pretty quickly. So the point of the video is to serve as that one-on-one instruction. Reading a diagram from a book is helpful with lots of stitches, but actually seeing a French knot worked out makes the process so much easier!

There are magnificent stitchers out there who use French knots in ingenious ways! I’ve seen incredible “needle painting” (of a bumpier nature than regular needle painting) with French knots. They’re amazing! And little mini “rugs” made out of French knots…. and brooches… and all sorts of other incredible pieces! I generally seem to use the little things for the typical ho-hum usage – I’ve used them for lettering, for typical flower creation and fillings, for general stippling around other embroidery… for eyes, for noses, for texture. Yep. French knots are great little things!

I’m enjoying working on the videos. They do take a little bit of work and a lot a bit of time, true, but they force me to slow down and really work through a stitch and think about it. And I like that. I also like the fact that it’s taking me back to the “beginnings” of Needle ‘n Thread – helping me to refocus on why I originally started the site.

So far, I’ve had successful “takes” on quite a few new stitches to add to the collection, and on quite a few of the stitches already in the collection. Now, just to edit them and put them together and get them online. Wish me luck!

And finally, here’s your opportunity to make any requests. If I can film a stitch for you, just leave a comment below with your suggestion. I’ll do my best to accommodate your request (though I can’t guarantee a specific time frame).

I’m hoping that you enjoy the new video, or at least that you find it useful. If you already know how to work the French knot, then it might not be for you – but who knows? Maybe you’ll meet other stitchers some day who struggle with the French knot. And if you do, feel free to use the video to help them learn.


Leave a Reply to Alicia Doris Egas Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(29) Comments

  1. Hello Mary,
    In fact the French knot is like the Egg of Columbus, after see is easy:)
    Apparently you went and got ice cream once again doing an excellent job.
    a great day!

  2. The french is one of the first stitches I learned as a child from my grandmother. So, I do have a fondness for it. Thanks Mary for the videos and your commitment to NeedleNThread.

  3. Mary,

    I’m just terrified of the Cretan stitch. I see it used a lot for crazy quilt seams…but I’m never sure how to mark for it’s placement and to stitch it uniformly. I hope it will be one of your new videos!


    1. Thanks for your comments, all!

      Kathy, as a matter of fact, I’ve got a remake of the old cretan stitch video in the queue, and a new one for open cretan stitch. I didn’t think to show specific points on spacing, but that’s an excellent idea. I’ll try to work something in!


  4. Hello Mary, I’m new to your site, the video’s are so wonderful for me because I’m also new to the craft of embroidary. Please don’t take the video’s off. I sometimes watch them over and over before I get it…. heheh

    Your site has been a blessing me to me. I have it saved to my favorites and look at it everyday. So far you site is the best that I have found. Again, please don’t do away with the video’s. Even if they are old to you, they are new to me!

    Have a great day my friend! Many blessings to you!!!!

    1. Hi All! Thanks again for your comments…. some replies:

      Irene – Actually, I think I normally bring the needle up behind the thread and wrap it the from front to back, too. I got to thinking about that after I did the video. I don’t think it makes a difference, really, though it could affect the way the thread twists. I’ll have to try that out and see if it affects the thread noticeably, now that you mention it.

      Rhonda – no worries, I’m not taking them away – just re-working them, so that they are clearer!

      Marva – glad you like the videos – I’m really interested in seeing the stitch, so do send a photo!


  5. Mary, you just made my day with this video. I am about to start stitching “Blackwork lady” and it has French knots left and right!!! Later on, I will be sending you a picture of a stitch (I don’t know the name of it in English); I hope you can help me!


  6. I enjoyed the French knot video – I’ve been wrapping mine backwards all this time (more years than I care to count). The thread you used was very pretty – was it an overdyed thread?

    1. Tricia! No, you probably aren’t doing it backwards. I just sat down, cleared my head, and said to myself, if I were doing a French knot, how would I do it? And yes, I do normally do it the opposite way, too.

      But after consulting four books, I found the consensus split – in two, they start with the needle in front of the thread and wind the thread in the direction I did on the video, and in the two, they have the needle behind the thread, and wind the thread the other way. I think it does make a difference in the twist of the thread, but because the stitch is so small, it really isn’t noticeable.

      So I’ve decided to leave the video as it is, but the stitch can actually be done either way to good effect.

      I just LOVE damage control!!! I think I should do a “blooper” video.


  7. Funny, I came here *just now* to see your video on the french knot. I’m trying it for the first time as an edging & wanted to get it right. THanks for the great timing, Mary!

  8. Hi Mary! I learn so much from your videos. I would be lost without you. One stitch I have heard of but is not easily found in books is the UP AND DOWN FEATHER STITCH. Could you show us that one? Thank you for everything your site has to offer.
    Veronica G

    1. G’morning, all!

      Barb – yes, that’s a possibility. ­čÖé

      Kath – I’ve seen a bullion-chain combination, but the bullion usually makes up the anchor stitch?

      Veronica – I’ll definitely look into it!

      Thanks for your comments, requests, suggestions, etc…!


  9. Thank you for creating your website. I frequently look at your videos and projects; learning every time. You are a great inspiration and teacher.

  10. G’day Mary,
    Have been enjoying all your stitches posts, thanks.

    There is a bullion chain stitch I can’t get my mind around. I don’t know its proper name. Perhaps just that, ‘Bullion chain’. It has a bullion stitch only on one side of the chain. As far as can remember, the illustation I saw was worked from left to right and the bullion part of the chain was on the bottom.

    I would love to be able to do it, so if you know the one and have the time, a video would be great.

    Many thanks, cheers, Kath.

  11. I have a rather old-fashioned stitch request…a how-to for the Plaited Braid Stitch as it was used on those Elizabethan embroidered jackets in the V&A Museum in London…maybe?

  12. Mary, I’m out ‘bush’ again. The granddaughter is 18 mths now. Phew, Nanna must be getting old, me thinks. Such a darling red-headed little monkey-mischief that loves cuddles!
    I might be able to lay my hand on the illustration when I get home next week. Hope I can as am interested to see if it’s like I remembered. If so will photogragh it and try to email it to you.
    Thanks again, Kath.

  13. Mary, when I viewed the french knot lesson there was a delay in the audio,I think this is called buffering, that wasn’t there with your old videos. Why is that and what can be done to eliminate it.

    1. Hi, Hannah – I think once it’s buffered and played on your computer, it will probably go away. Maybe let the whole thing buffer before watching? That might help! ~MC

  14. Help me, please. I have made a MESS of two beautifully colored vintage irish linen handkerchiefs trying to hand embroider a monogram. I am using a satin stitch, but they are so DELICATE it seems that my needle and thread are pulling holes! (Even though they aren’t really holes, the threads are just pulled away leaving what looks like a gap between the body of the letter and the rest of the fabric) What type of thread, strand count and needle size would you suggest? And should I use like a fabric stabilizer, although on a handkerchief the backside will be seen … suggestions? thank you in advance for any help you might offer

    1. Hi, Cass – Well, I’d start with changing to a finer thread and needle, and then I’d be very careful with the tension of your stitches. You want the stitches to lie on the fabric, not pull on the fabric. But I think you’ll find a big difference right away if you can work with a smaller needle. I don’t know what thread you’re using, but if you use just one strand of floss, you can get away with a size 11 or even 12 crewel (or embroidery) needle. Go tiny!


  15. Dear Mary , Have been recieving your blogs for only a short while but have learnt so much in that time that I would like to say a big THANKS for all the info&your tutorials are just great . I am a member of the Embroidery Guild of NSW Australia & love hand embroidery . Thanks again . Doreen

  16. Jestem twoja fanka i wielbicielk─ů. moja mama nauczy┼éa mnie cierpliwo┼Ťci. Tak ja Ty jestem samoukiem szycia, haftowania, szyde┼ékowania, robienia na drutach – o ile czas pozwala. pozdrawiam z Polski. Ela
    (I’m your fan and admirer. My mom taught me patience. Yes I am self-taught sewing you, embroidery, crochet, knitting – if time allows. I greet the Polish)

  17. bonjour MARY?
    sauriez vous me montrer dans une vid├ęo la peinture a l’aiguille et notamment le point
    de Helenn Stevens “opus plumarium” je n’arrive pas a trouver de video merci pour toutes vos chroniques que je lis et relis avec plaisir
    à bientôt

  18. Hola Maria, mis mas sinceros saludos y felicitaciones por tan bello trabajo que haces; soy nueva en este blog tuyo, pero ya he estado practicando algunas de tus puntadas que me parecen fabulosas; te quisiera preguntar como hago para hacerme a los hilos seda y a las agujas que tu muestras porque aca en Colombia no los he podido encontrar las agujas que se consiguen son de ojo peque├▒o y si las hay con ojo grande pero con punta y no sirve, te agradeceria me colaboraras en esta parte gracias y QUE DIOS TE BENDIGA Y TE PROTEJA


  20. I like French knots too — but for a project that involved lots of them (candlewicking — it came out great), I used the more uniform (less fiddly) colonial knot. Do you use that one?

More Comments