French Knot // Hand Embroidery Stitches

French Knot // Hand Embroidery Stitches

Three groups of three french knots in 3 different colours and sizes.
A series of grouped French knots in different sizes



French Knot
aka: French Dot, Knotted Stitch, Point Noué Stitch, Twisted Knot Stitch




Knotted Isolated


basic crewelwork ribbonwork stumpwork surface whitework


Embellishment Filling Powdered Filling Shading

Variant Stitches:

Colonial Knot Pistil Stitch

Watch this video on YouTube.


Despite being considered one of the simplest knots, the French knot is often perceived as one of the most challenging stitches to master. Consequently, beginners may develop an aversion to it. However, with practice, it becomes more manageable.

A bold raised knotted dot used for decorative purposes giving texture to the surface of the material. They can be used singly or in closely packed groups or scattered. French knots can be utilized to create small flowers or as a filling stitch for small circles and flower centers. When closely packed together, they can produce a textured, "woolly" effect.


A lot of people find they need to practice their tension with this knot on a spare piece of fabric before attempting on a final piece. Don't stress; you will get the hang of it with trial and error!

Step 1
Bring the needle up through the fabric where you want the knot to sit.
Step 2
Take the thread around the needle once or twice to form a spiral.
Step 3
Place the needle into the fabric, very close to where it emerged; not in the same place you emerged, however.
Step 4
Draw the knot down to where the needle enters the fabric.
Step 5
Keeping the thread taut at all times, pull the needle through to complete the knot. Don't pull so abruptly as you might accidently tug the knot through the fabric.


French knots make an appearance in various historical embroidery pieces. They can be found on the Butler-Bowdon cope, an opus Anglicanum piece from the 14th century, although they were not commonly used in this tradition. Additionally, they adorned a notable piece of Swiss/south German ecclesiastical embroidery from the 16th century. By the following century, French knots had become prevalent in Jacobean crewelwork and raised work, often depicting foliage or hair.

In the 19th century, French knots were employed across different embroidery traditions and regions. In Britain, they embellished silk needle paintings at the century's onset, created geometric designs for Java canvas work, and were used in the 1870s and 80s to cover large areas of ground fabric in 'etching embroideries.' In Eire, they served as a key element in Montmellick white work, while in Portugal, they were part of the Guimarães embroidery tradition.


Here are some projects you can complete that include this stitch!

Reference: RSN Stitchbank

Stem Stitch // Hand Embroidery Stitches
Woven Wheel // Hand Embroidery Stitches

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Hi, I'm Kate 👋

About the author

In a previous life (AKA: pre-kids), I was a web des/dev & photographer who loved to dabble in numerous arts and crafts. Now, I'm a cross-stitch & embroidery pattern designer and full-time mum to Charlie & Alex, with adult-diagnosed ADHD. Closet nerd, self-proclaimed hermit and professional procrastinator. I have a secret crush on modern architecture, brush calligraphy, sweets, pretty nails and pastel colours.

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