Part 2: The french knot and more blending

In my last installment, I went into detail about how satin stitches may be used to fill canvas areas and how to blend colors when using satin stitches. This time I would like to further explore blending thread colors using various other stitches.

French Knots

  • Bring needle up at 1.
  • Hold thread taut with other hand and wrap the thread twice around end of the needle.
  • Gently pull the thread so that the wrapped threads tighten and while holding it taut, insert the needle next to 1. Pull thread through onto the backside until the knot is formed and lies securely on the surface.

Illustration of French Knot technique. DMC website

Illustration of French Knot technique. DMC website

*This description and diagram were copied directly from the DMC web site.  It is a wonderful resource for the various stitches. 

I like to use and blend many different colors into my stitching. I am particularly fond of French Knots.  I employ French Knots because they add texture and depth.  They also lend themselves to blending because they are small, almost like pixels.  I start by filling in with one color thread.  After I establish that color and am ready to blend the next, I begin to randomly intersperse another color with the first color. (I use two needles.) By the time the color transition is complete, I am using only the second color.  I keep doing this with more colors until I reach the end of the area to fill.   The caution here is to divide the area into the appropriate sections for the number of colors you intend to use and how you want to blend them.

laufert fench knotThis is an example from one of my projects using blended French Knots.  Notice that there are three different colors in use.  Also, don’t feel constrained to only wrap the thread twice around the needle.  I like to vary the number – single, and triple knots work well and can add more texture.  It all depends on the thread you use. I usually use six (6) or three (3) strands of DMC cotton floss or a single strand of Persian wool, but don’t let that stop you from experimenting with various other threads and thicknesses.

Long and Short Stitches

I have used long and short satin stitches to fill small and large areas.  How you use them will depend on the design.

  • First I work a row of alternating long and short Satin stitches along an even line.

    Long and Short stitches from DMC website.

    Long and Short stitches from DMC website.

  • If you are blending colors, the second row should be a different color.  Place a long stitch in gap of long and short stitches in the first row.  Place the stitch through the tip of the short stitch.
  • Proceed with long stitches until the last row.  These should be short stitches.

Below, I created the Lotus blossom using long and short stitches.

 laufert long and shortIn later articles, I will continue write about my favorite stitches, and how I use them.  Of course, my current focus will be on colors and blending.





Readers may recall from an earlier article where I mentioned that inspiration for designs might come to you through your travels.  This is a design I created from my travels to Rome.  While it may not be so obvious, it is my interpretation of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.  Some of you may also notice that I used this stitching to illustrate how to blend colors with satin stitches.  I filled the sky with satin stitches using three strands of various shades of DMC cotton floss.

 laufert church

Happy Stitching,

George Laufert