Simple Stitches that Surprise: French Knots

What would we do without the French Knot? Throughout this series of simple but surprising embroidery stitches, the French Knot awaits in the wings for its glamour shot. And here it is.

What a difference that pop of orange color makes when you scatter French Knots between the spikes of the Fern Stitch! I’m using a size 12 Oranges thread that gives high contrast with the green background to liven up the design.

The lower parts of my design are stitched and I’m moving on to the upper part. It was so entertaining making up stitch combinations and playing with color, pattern, and texture using thread. Stay tuned to see what I have in store!

Simple Stitches that Surprise: Lazy Daisy

The Lazy Daisy stitch is often used to create flowers but it has the potential to create pattern on the surface of fabric too. Here you see rows of the Lazy Daisy separated by lines of the Stem Stitch. I’m using a size 12 Lettuce thread. Lettuce is a fresh green, turquoise, and chartreuse variegated thread.

If you make the loop of the Lazy Daisy stitch wide enough you can fill it in with a French Knot. This builds even more pattern on the fabric surface. These knots are made with a size 12 Oranges thread that offers high contrast with the dark green background fabric and fresh greens in the Lazy Daisy stitches. Isn’t this a beautiful pattern created with the Lazy Daisy stitch?

A Note about Fusible Web

The fusible web I’m using for all the silk fabrics in this design is Misty Fuse. Misty Fuse fusible web is a very lightweight mesh of glue. When you apply it to shear fabrics the glue does not penetrate the silk and appear on the other side of the fabric like the heavier fusible webs used on cotton fabrics.

Misty Fuse does not come with paper. So you must use silicone release paper or parchment paper to transfer it to fabrics. (Please test parchment paper before using.) An added advantage to using Misty Fuse is that it is easy to stitch through. I recommend it highly.

Simple Stitches that Surprise: Chain Stitch

Now here’s a simple embroidery stitch you can’t live without. The Chain Stitch builds bulky lines on your fabric. Lines that lift off the fabric and say “Look at me!” Using a size 5 embroidery needle, I’ve added curved lines of the Chain Stitch using a size 12 pearl cotton thread called Oranges. (Notice how the True Blues French Knots in between the rows really set off the orange thread.)

In another field on my silk design, I’m making small arcs of Chain Stitches. When you stack offset rows of the arcs, it makes an ogee pattern. This size 12 thread is a lovely green named for your favorite beverage, Pickle Juice. The blue straight stitches in each ogee are also stitched with a size 12 thread. It’s called Ocean. Each time I pick up a size 12 thread to make a Chain Stitch, I use a size 5 or size 7 hand embroidery needle.

A Note about Needles

hand embroidery needle has a long eye and sharp point. Choose a needle that is too small and you can’t thread the needle. Or even if you can squeeze the thread through the eye of that small needle, it will not make a hole large enough to pull the thread through easily. Choose a needle that is too large and you make a giant hole in the fabric that the thread doesn’t fill.

Above is a basic chart to help you choose your needle size for pearl cotton threads. Please note that needle brands vary. A size 3 embroidery needle in one brand may be slightly longer or have a larger girth than a size 3 in another brand. It seems that even the needle industry can’t cooperate.