Come the evening, though I feel exhausted, I still enjoy sitting down and picking up my hand stitching. The rhythmical movement of the needle and thread through cloth is soothing and calming; in these uncertain times it's just what I need.
Today we are going to tackle a French knot which is a great little stitch that can be used to fill an area like seeding, arranged in drifts or in more formal blocks.
- Bring the thread to the surface.
- With the needle in your sewing hand hold the thread taut with your other hand and wrap it once, twice or three times (no more) around the needle, pulling gently to tighten the loops - do not let go of the thread!
- Maintaining the tension, insert the needle back into the fabric close to (but not through) the hole where the thread came up. Pull the needle down but don't let go of the thread as you need to keep the tension to avoid the knot falling over and unravelling.
Open, loopy French knots make great textural elements and the way to make them is easy - you just let go of the thread when you pull the needle through the fabric! Some people think the loopiness is a mistake, but I call it a design opportunity!
Once you've got the hang of making French knots you can then become more adventurous and start combining knots with other stitches to make patterns and textures. Above I've given you a few examples and I'm sure once you've tried a few you will soon coming up with combinations of your own!
There are lots of blogs and stitching ideas on the web, here are just a few I enjoy:
Tanglewood Threads - written by Penny Berens, Nova Scotia, Canada. Take a look at her daily Scratchings for fantastic stitch ideas.
Sarah's Hand Embroidery - A comprehensive 'how to' section of many stitches makes this a website to keep tabs on.
double trouble - are Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. Internationally acclaimed textile artists, authors and books, they both work in hand and machine embroidery.
Richard McVetis - British artist-maker, Richard is best known for his meticulously embroidered drawing and this week he is the fourth artist on the TextileArtist.org community challenge.
Sue Stone - Sue's use of hand stitch to tell a story is beautiful as well as inspirational and you can join her (we hope!) in November for a two day workshop at InStitches
Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to email or post comments on social media saying how much you are enjoying stitching along with us. We love hearing from you and read each and every one. As we enter our fourth week of lockdown I am sure you are missing the company of and social interaction with other creative people. Perhaps, like me, you may live alone or maybe your stitching endeavours go unappreciated by those around you, so why not show us? We would really love to see how you are getting along with your stitching!
Use your phone to take a quick snap and post to Instagram and use the hashtags: #institchescreative2020 and #institches2013. If you follow both us and the hashtags you will also get to see what everyone else is creating too!
On Facebook reply to the relevant week's post with your comments and images. And don't forget to actually follow InStitches on Facebook to see what everyone else is up to.
Stay safe, stay creative and we will see you again next week,
Hazel & Terry