Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Stitch of the Month: French and Bullion Knots

This month's stitches are French and Bullion Knots, which work well either in isolation, or in combination with other stitches.

French Knots
French knots form little round dots on the surface of the fabric; for some good instructions see Sharon B's Stitch Dictionary - French Knots.

They look good massed into a group, like this, this and this lovely rainbow:
french knots
(From Thetangledthread on Flickr)

These two gorgeous samples explore colour mixing and pontillism really well:
french knots

colour blending
(Both from Lovefibre on Flickr)

French Knots can be used effectively to build up a design, as in this lovely floral picture:
French knot detail
(From Follow the White Bunny on Flickr)

They also look really nice in whitework, like these two examples: on Stitchin Fingers and Flickr, or worked in amongst beads for interesting texture, like this. You could also try varying the type and number of threads you stitch with, to produce larger or smaller knots.

A little tip for you - if you struggle to work French Knots, try Colonial Knots. They look very similar to French knots, but are less prone to disappearing to the back of the fabric!

Bullion Knots
Bullion knots are longer knots, often known as caterpillar, grub or worm stitches for a good reason:
Craftster Hoopla Swap R4 To Kanawinkie (4)
(By Heather - the Bullion knots are the blue and green squiggly sections, e.g. below the blue button)

Don't let the names put you off, they are a great stitch to work, and as the above example shows, they look great massed into heaps making big textured piles of stitch. To work a Bullion Knot, see these instructions from Sharon B's Stitch Dictionary.

They look good worked in a range of different threads, as in this example, with very high sheen thread, or these thick wooly knots. By adding a lot of wraps they can be made to be very tall and loopy

As with French Knots, Bullion Knots also work well to build up a design, lending themselves to textured floral designs:
trèfle
(From Coeurdefreesia on Flickr)

As they are comparitively long, Bullion knots can also be worked in between other stitches, and contribute well to highly textured pieces, as in the top left corner of this lovely piece of Moon-inspired embroidery:
High Texture Hand Embroidery of the Moon - Detail
(From average_jane_crafter on Flickr)

I hope all these lovely images have left you inspired to try out some French and Bullion knots - I look forward to seeing what you've come up with at the next session, or pop over to our Facebook page and share your thoughts.

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