When you think “knots” in embroidery, does your mind automatically fly to the French knot? Or perhaps the colonial knot is more Your Knot Thing?
It seems that, when it comes to knots, French knot is the best known knot stitch, followed by colonial knot, which some stitchers prefer to the French knot.
But there are other knot stitches and knot-like stitches out there, and if you’re keen to add a lot of texture to your embroidery, you might try a few of them. They’re all super fun, and, with the linked tutorials, you’ll find it easy to add them to your stitching projects!
So, here they are – twelve knot stitches to add to your embroidery repertoire! Try them!
For the sake of clarity, I’m dividing these knot stitches into two categories: isolated knot stitch and knotted line or band stitches.
Isolated Knot Stitches
Isolated knot stitches are stitches that create knots (of a sort) that can stand on their own as an isolated stitch.
But they can also be worked in bunches and clusters for areas of texture, most of them can be used as highly textured filling, or they can be strung out in lines to create highly textured, knotty lines.
The French Knot
Well, it’s no surprise to find the French knot on the list!
French knots are generally smaller knots, though you can vary the weight of them by using heavier thread or by adding more wraps on the needle. Normally, more than three wraps can become unwieldy, though, and knots made with more than three wraps can be displaced and loosened over time by laundering and use.
Here’s a list of tutorials and stitching ideas relating to the French Knot:
French knots as a line stitch – using French knots for lettering
French knots as filling on a monogram, worked on printed fabric.
The Colonial Knot
Pretty much anything you do with a French knot, you can do with a colonial. Some stitchers find the colonial knot easier to work than the French knot.
Here’s a video tutorial for the colonial knot, if you’d like to give it a try!
The Chinese Knot
The Chinese knot can be worked isolated or in lines, or in lines to fill an area. You can vary the length of the little “tail” on the knot, to create a perfectly round knot. You can also work the knot loosely, to increase the textural and visual aspect of it.
The Bullion Knot
The bullion knot creates more of a little “worm” or “slug” on your fabric, depending on how long you make it. Bullion knots can be used to create all kinds of textural and floral elements.
Beginning stitchers might be a little intimidated at first by the bullion knot, but once you get it, you’ll have it forever! It’s like riding a bike! With a little bit of practice, it’s worth conquering.
Here are some tutorials, tips, and ideas for bullion knots:
Bullion knot video tutorial
Needles: How to Choose Them & Use Them (with information on the milliner needle, best choice for bullions)
Bullion Stem Stitch Line
Buttonholed Bullion Buttonhole Wheels
Bullion knot flower petal
Bullion knot rose bud
Technically, I don’t think oyster stitch falls in the “knot stitch” category, but, as isolated stitch that involves kind of pretzeling itself up, it tends to look like a nice, fat, flattish knot stitch. So I’m including it!
And here’s a tutorial for oyster stitch on a line, worked as small flower buds.
Turk’s Head Knot
The Turk’s head knot stitch is a whopper of an isolated knot stitch! It’s the largest, roundest isolated knot stitch you could probably dream of working, and it is a little complex, but the results, if you’re trying to create a round, secure, interwoven isolated knot on your embroidery, are fantastic.
Knotted Line & Band Stitches
There are many knotted line stitches and knotted band stitches (and knotted variations on other stitches) that work great for adding texture and interest to embroidery.
This is a list of my favorite knotted stitches that are worked on a line or in a band.
Palestrina stitch is my favorite all-around knotted line stitch. It’s easy and fun to work, and it works up quickly once you get into the rhythm of the stitch!
Here’s a video tutorial for Palestrina stitch.
This tutorial will show you how to work Palestrina stitch on the edge of anything, to create a decorative, knotted edge.
And of course, you can bead a Palestrina stitch line, for some extra sparkle.
Coral stitch is a line stitch (it can also be used as a filling) that involves tiny little knots along the line. It’s used a lot in Schwalm whitework. Sometimes, it might take a little practice to get the spacing right, but it’s an easy stitch!
Here’s a video tutorial for coral stitch, and that article will also show you different ways you can use coral stitch.
Scroll stitch is similar to coral stitch, but the line produced is almost scalloped or wavy, depending on which way you work it. It’s a fun stitch for decorative frames around other needlework – and it works great, too, for textured, stylized waves (think: ocean).
Knotted Pearl Stitch
Knotted pearl stitch is similar to Palestrina stitch, but reversed. It often involves arms, which you can work long or short, depending on the look you want. You can further embellish the arms, too, or use them as the foundation for other composite stitches.
Here’s a video tutorial for knotted pearl stitch.
Portuguese Knotted Stem Stitch
An easy textured line stitch! The stitch isn’t so much “knotted” as it is wrapped, but it produces a line that is a bit bumpy, like a knotted stitch.
Knotted Diamond Stitch
Knotted diamond stitch is a decorative band stitch. It works great for borders, stitch sampler lines, and crazy quilt seam embellishments. It just begs for further embellishment, too, so it’s a fun stitch to play with!
You can find a video tutorial for knotted diamond stitch here.
Knotted Chain Stitch
This is just a variation of chain stitch, but it’s nice! Fun, easy to work, and plenty of room for further embellishment!
You’ll find a step-by-step photo tutorial for knotted chain stitch here, with ideas on how to embellish it.
Looking for More?
You can find heaps of stitch tutorials here on Needle ‘n Thread! You’ll find over 75 stitch videos here, and, under the Stitch Fun! index, you’ll find step-by-step photo tutorials for exciting variations, more obscure stitches, and just some fun fiddling with needle and thread.
Hope you enjoy them all!