Hand Embroidery Samples 7….. French Knots

This is another stitch I have used many, many times in my own work, but had always stitched it using two strands of DMC and not thought about the difference it would make just by varying its size and density – so it was therapeutic to set time aside to experiment with it. This sample was created on Irish Linen fabric and using DMC cotton thread working with one strand and building up to six.

This experimental sample was created on 100% wool plaid upholstery fabric using DMC stranded embroidery thread, creating the variegation in stitch by using 1 –  6 strands. The sample has French Knots and Bullion Knots. I love the contrast in textures from the softness of the wool with the sheen of the stitch.


I hope you are inspired to have a play with thread yourself.

Mark Making and Printing – Experiment and design your own work

I knew very little about mark making and its importance before starting this embroidery course. Anything that involves paint and making a mess has to be good in my books!

I will share with you what I have discovered. Mark making can be achieved with anything that leaves a mark or impression on a surface – eg. paint or pen on paper, drawing in the sand at the beach, or even playing with string as it falls its own way onto a flat surface. The original ‘mark’ created is an original form of source work perfect for a future design.These are some designs made using bits and bobs I found in my kitchen. I found it very effective using white paint onto black paper. Also I liked using black and white rather than specific colours because I found they created a neutral, unbiased design.

Design sheet 1:


Design sheet 2:



These are a selection of marks evoking movement and emotion.


The Staccato design was developed further into a homemade stamp that was then embroidered.



The one thing I have discovered is that anything goes, and that all designs – especially the ‘mistakes’ are useful. I keep mine in a pile and sift through them occasionally when I need some ideas – it may only be a small section of an image that fits the bill. Have a go yourself!