How to stitch the perfect French knot

How to stitch a French knot

When might you need a French knot?

French knots can make lovely additions to a cross stitch project. Patterns may use them for eyes, flowers or to create other details. Stitchers often shy away from French knots as they look hard to stitch, but it just takes a little practice. 

Top tip - when stitching French knots it is your non-dominant hand that does the most important work!

Things you'll need

  • Your cross stitch fabric 
  • Coloured thread
  • An embroidery hoop
  • A needle
  • Some embroidery scissors 
French knot materials needed

    Step one - starting off

    Thread your needle with the number of threads suggested by your pattern. You can stitch French knots with one, two, three or more threads. The greater the number of threads, the larger and chunkier the knot will appear. To begin, bring your needle up through your fabric where the pattern shows that you need a French knot and draw your thread through.

    Bring your needle up through the fabric

    Step two - wrap the thread

    If you are right handed, hold the thread with your left hand and take it behind your needle. Reverse instructions for left handed stitchers.

    Take the thread behind the needle

    Now keeping your right hand still, move your left hand around the needle to wrap the thread around twice. Keep the thread taut.


    Wrap the thread

    Step three - completing the knot

    Keeping the thread taut with your left hand, push the needle back down through the fabric close to the hole which you came up but do not use the same hole (when using aida as pictured, push the needle back through the fabric itself, when using linen or evenweave, push the needle back through an adjacent hole).

    Push the needle back down close to your original hole

    Keeping the needle steady with the right hand and good tension with your left hand, slide the knot down the needle until it reaches the fabric.

    French knot - final stage

    Again, keeping the thread in your left hand taut, draw the needle all the way through the fabric, letting the thread go at the last moment to create a nice neat knot.

    Finished French knots

    Try experimenting with the number of threads you use or the number of times you wrap the thread around the needle - all will create a different look with the knot.

    Ready to practice try our Christmas wreath bauble kit or downloadable pattern.

    Christmas cross stitch



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