Sunday, January 6, 2013

French Knots

I just love French knots, because there are so many different ways you can use them. You can bunch them together, scatter them across the background, use them as a filler, etc. A French knot is an embroidery technique in which the thread is knotted around itself. Here are a few examples...

Here, I have used French knots as a filler (totally bunched together) to make a heart and spaced a bit further apart to represent flowers on one of my more primitive pieces.

Here is a close up of the heart. I love the textural look (and feel) the French knots give to this heart.


Here, I have used French knots to fill in the background of a part of this design. When people view it, they can't believe how many French knots are in this piece. (As a matter of fact, all of the design elements in this part of my piece (except the checkerboard on the far right, the yoyos, and the black circle on which the yoyos sit) are made from simple embroidery stitches--French knots, stem stitch, blanket/buttonhole stitch, and satin stitch.)
French knots are pretty easy to make. Bring the needle up where you want the French knot to be and wrap the thread once or twice around the needle. (The number of times you wrap the thread around the needle depends on how big you want the knot to be.) While keeping some tension on the thread, take the needle back down into the fabric very close to where you first brought the thread up. (Don't go back down in the same hole. Your knot will most likely pull through the hole if you do.) Hold the knot in place as you take the needle back down into the fabric. With just a little practice, you should have a really nice knot.

Here is as close as I can get to drawing an illustration of the making of a French knot.
I know, I know...this is a sad rendition of a French knot illustration, SO...here is a great visual. Sarah Whittle has given me permission to link to her post "The Perfect French Knot." She does a really good job of explaining how to do it and photographing the steps. Check it out at The Perfect French Knot.

Tomorrow, I'll show you how I use the buttonhole stitch to embellish my quilts. 

I have yet another giveaway to announce. I contacted Larkin Van Horn about giving a copy of her book to our blog readers, and she graciously said, "I'd be happy to donate a book for your giveaway." (If you remember, I mentioned Larkin's book as being one of my favorites in my first post this month.) I also asked for a little information about her. She said, "As for information about me, I suppose you could say I have been beading since 1972 (wedding dress - not the way I'd recommend anyone start beading). I also add beads to wearable art, fabric vessels, beaded dolls, and nearly anything that will sit still long enough to get beaded. My purpose in writing my book was to present, as well as I could, stitches and techniques that would keep the beads on the fabric as securely as possible, having had a disaster in that area (which I included in the introduction of the book)."
SO...the process is the same as before...add a comment to this blog post (and, again, I'd love for you to become an official "Follower" of this blog (if you are not already)--just click on "Join this site" right under "Followers" to the right of this post). I will draw a winner on January 27. Good luck!

Stay tuned...I have another great giveaway tomorrow and a special treat (in the form of a YouTube video debut) later this month.



24 comments:

  1. French knots are one of my favorites. Your heart is gorgeous! And Larkin's book is top notch.

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  2. I love French knots, but they are so time consuming. If possible I do them while watching a movie :-)

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  3. Beth, these have been great tutorials! I enjoy using beads, sequins and embroidery on my art quilts, and even though I have done these techniques before, it is always great to see how others incorporate them into their work. Thanks for putting these together for the blog!
    Judy

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  4. Beth, Beautiful work. I've not done a lot of beadwork and absolutely love your work here. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book.

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  5. Beth, I just recently added French knots (to serve as quilting) to the entire background of a wall hanging. Amazing the visual and tactile effect! This would be a great reference book. Thanks for the great lessons.
    Ann

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  6. I like french knots! but I definitely need more practise to get them more uniform!
    Thanks!

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  7. French Knots are like little kisses!

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  8. I have always loved the texture f French Knots!!

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  9. Beth you have written another lovely & informative post! French knots are so functional for a variety of different looks on fabric. Different threads give different looks and certainly liven up the surface! Larkin's books are so complete, an excellent writer. I never tire of going to her website to look at her works. Best to you, Ani

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  10. I LOVE how you added the French knots to the zentagle-like quilting! Stupendous!! LOVE what Larkin does - thanks for the opportunity!

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  11. I'd love to win Larkin's book. Thanks.

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  12. Love Larkin's art! And I think your illustration is GReat!

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  13. I'd love a chance to win Larkin's book! I also love the French Knot heart you did! I have used them as flowers and buds, but hadn't thought of using them packed together... Nice!

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  14. Once your finished, I join your tutorials in a PDF, it's great and so inspiring!

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  15. Thanks for all the tutorials. The book is a great giveaway...and I would love to win it.

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  16. I have tried French knots without much success but I think I was putting the needle back in the same hole! Duh! Thanks for the great info on this. Book looks good also.

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  17. Very good tutorial on the French knots...one of my favorite stitches.. one time did an entire design in French knots...piece was only about 12 wide by 8 tall..a rose, and it was lovely. Larking Van Horn is one of my all time favorite artists who work with beads. I would love to win her book. Please add my name to the drawing. I am a regular follower of your blog.
    Kristin

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  18. Lovely french knots you have made. I definitely need more practice with them and I really like filling my thread stitching and couching projects with them. Thanks for these great tutorials!

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  19. I do lots of embellishment on my work and would enjoy this book. Thanks!

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  20. My French knots never look so disciplined.

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  21. After I saw this wonderful book at a friend's house I looked for it for 5 years. I was fortunate to find one at the library. It is the best dictionary of fancy beading stitches.

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  22. I love your tutorials Beth and I guess I would even learn more from the book . So I hope to win.

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  23. I'd love this book as well! I'm really interested in beading and embroidery on handwoven fabrics.

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We would love to hear from you and even better have some links to your work!