Pistil Stitch

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The Pistil Stitch is a relative of the French Knot only taller and sassier. Making a Pistil Stitch is very similar to making the French Knot except you extend where you return the needle. So, rather than sticking the needle back down into the fabric almost where it came out, you stick the needle about 1/4″ away from where the thread originally exited the fabric.

Here’s how to make the Pistil Stitch:

pistilstitch5With the thread on top of the fabric, grasp the thread with your left thumb and forefinger. Hold the needle parallel to the fabric. Wind the thread clockwise around the needle 3 times. (The more you wind, the looser the knot.)
pistilstitch6Hold the wound thread in place on the needle with your right index finger. Pull the thread slightly with your left hand to tighten it up. (Don’t pull the thread too tightly.)
pistilstitch7Insert the needle tip 1/4’’ away from where the thread initially emerged from the fabric. Insert the needle halfway into the fabric. Continue to hold the thread in your left hand. Move your right hand to the back of the fabric and pop the needle through the fabric.

pistilstitch8Slowly draw the thread through to the back of the fabric. Place your left thumb on the threads near the knot to keep them from tangling.

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Coleen’s Calling Birds #14 (detail) by Laura Wasilowski


Pistil stitches are not only for flower pistils. I use them for little bird wings and tail feathers as well. This is a detail from Coleen’s Calling Birds #14 made with hand-dyed silk and stitched with Size 12 threads. Don’t they look fetching?