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How To Stitch Colonial Knots And Secure Them

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Colonial knots are so versatile and I use them a lot in my embroidery. They look great in clusters of knots. But at the same time can add delicate details as single knots to all type of designs such as flower centres or to dot your I’s.

how to stitch a colonial knot

Colonial knots look like French knots. Most people looking at them won’t see a difference at all. I find Colonial knots slightly tighter and solid compared with French knots. But opinion varies. The main reason I prefer Colonial knots over French knots is the technique. Colonial knots are stitched in a figure of eight. This gives the stitch a smooth flowing movement and I love it.

Securing Your Colonial Knot

When Colonial knots are used close to other stitch elements it’s easy to use standard holding stitches, provided the holding stitches will be covered by other surface stitches. I have described the holding stitch in a previous blog post.

But when we use isolated knots there is very little space to hide stitches. If you have a dense fabric that is not see through you could trail the thread at the back. Here the thread length should not be much longer than 1cm. Otherwise you could end up with a mess at the back and it could also affect tension of your stitches.

how to secure an isolated colonial knot

To secure your thread for isolated knots, I tend to place a waste knot and then stitch a tiny triangle to secure the thread. Then stitch the colonial knot right on top of the triangle. This will hide the little triangle underneath.

Stitching your Colonial Knot

stitching a colonial knot

Stitch 1 – After you have secured your thread bring your needle up from the back to the surface where you want to place your Colonial knot. If you use the little triangle to secure your thread bring the needle through the middle of your little triangle, as seen in the image above.

how to to stitch colonial knots

Stitch 2 – To begin your Colonial Knot form a little loop with your thread to the right (or left if you are left handed) of your stitch and push your needle under the thread. The thread will now lie over and under your needle.

how to to stitch colonial knots

Stitch 3 – Then change direction and bring the thread over the needle.

how to to stitch colonial knots

Stitch 4 – Change direction again and bring the thread under the needle completing a figure of eight.

how to stitch a colonial knot

Stitch 5 – Now point your needle next to the stitch where you came up. Pull the thread gently to tighten the loop and push the needle to the back. Keep tension on your thread until you have pulled needle and thread through.

I have shot a quick video to pull it all toghether:

Finishing and securing your Colonial Knot.

If you have other stitches in close vicinity, thread your needle through 3 or 4 stitches at the back of your work.

how to secure your embroidery thread after stitching a colonial knot

If you have a single colonial knot, first cut off your waste knot at the front of your work with a pair of sharp embroidery scissors.

Then turn your work over and weave your thread a couple of times under the existing stitches at the back. Make sure you cover the waste not thread in the process by bringing it across your triangle. It will then be caught by the loop  you create when you weave your thread under existing stitches. Cut of the thread with sharp embroidery scissors.

I hope you found these steps helpful.

If you have a question or comment leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Stitching!

You might also find the following tutorials useful.

How to Stem Stitch By Hand

How To Split Stitch By Hand

how to stitch colonial knots and secure them

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8 Comments

    1. Hi Wendy – give them a go. I really like stitching them and they are so versatile. Happy Stitching!

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