Texture It With Knots! The French Knot and the Colonial Knot

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We will begin today to learn a series of knots which we'll later use to embellish appliques to purses and garments. We will embellish a heart, a dragonfly, a flower, and maybe some other things. Not in that order! But first we need to learn two different knots. You will find, as you learn how to use them, that later on, you will venture out on using in other ways than these (I want to encourage you to use your imagination and creativity, that's part of the joy of crafting!) As you get more familiar with embellishing, and more secure at it, you will branch out to use these techniques to come up with your own designs and enjoy it thoroughly!

You can use these knots as we will in these tutorials, but you can also use them to form other things. For example, if you are working on a baby bag or on a baby blanket or baby cardi, and you would like to add a dolly applique to the item, you can work the dolly's hair with these knots. If you want to make an A B C or a 1-2-3 bib, you can crochet the letters, and sew them as appliques and then embellish them with these knots, either by edging them with the knots or actually filling the crocheted letters with them, to give them texture and originality. You can also use the knots in stripes every 2 or 3 rows. If you are making a shopping tote, and would like to add clusters of grapes to it, you can make those wonderful Irish-crochet leaves and then form the grape clusters with these knots. Little lambs, the centers of sunflowers, lilacs, fluffy clouds, raspberries, mums, and many other things can be "shaped" with these knots. Really, your imagination and creativity is really the limit!

Today, we will learn the French Knot and the Colonial Knot. You can choose to learn both knots or jsut one of them. They can be used interchangeably for your projects, or you can use both at the same time to embellish our projects!

The French Knot
This is the most common of the two knots we will be learning. This is the knot that first comes to mind when people think of making something with knots.
To practice these two knots you will need the foillowing:

A piece of crochet of a comfortable size for you to hold (a solid sc granny square block would do)
1 blunt needle if using yarn or an embroidery needle if using Pearl cotton or embroidery floss
pearl cotton or worsted weight yarn in your choice of colors
A pair of scissors

I will be showing you the stitches in yarn because they will show larger and you will be able to see them better, but even if your item is made in yarn, you can make these knots in embroidery thread or in pearl cotton, or even in crochet size 10 cotton, to create an effect and a contrast in textures. It is all up to the idea you have in mind.

To make a French Knot, thread your needle, bring the needle to the front of the crocheted fabric, now, hold the thread up with the opposite hand (the one not holding the needle), place the needle right under the working thread and wrap the yarn or thread around the needle twice. Push the needle into the crocheted fabric back down as close as possible to where you came out, (not in the same spot, just as close as possible to it.) Now, holding on to the working yarnor thread, pull your needle through the center of the knot, guiding the yarn or thread as you go so that it will not tangle, until you have almost no yarn or thread left. Then, let go of it and let it all desappear on the other side. You don't want too much tension on the thread, jus enough to keep a good shape on the knot and so that the needle can pass through the center easily, without having to force it down.

We will also learn another knot, the Colonial Knot. This is also a pretty knot to use in may ways. You can exchange the French Knot for it or
viceversa in any project you want to embellish.

The Colonial Knot

To make a Colonial Knot: Thread your needle with either yarn or thread. Come up through the crochet fabric with your needle. Now, form with the working yarn or thread the shape of a backward letter "C", ley your needle down against the "C" just formed with the working yarn or thread, wrap the working thread around the needle to form a figure "8", then, while holding the yarn or thread down, bring the needle down into the crocheted fabric very close to where you came up (not in the same hole, just right next to it), keep a soft tension on your working yarn or thread as you push the needle through to the back side of the crocheted piece.
pull through the center of the knot, hoding on to the working yarn or thread until only a little bit is left, let go and make it disappear down the center of the knot.

If there is time, later, I would like to teach you a couple more knots that you can also use together with these two or interchangeably in place of these two.

But for now, practice these two knots until you get them down, and we will move on to embellishing with them!

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  1. I used to do a lot of 'candlewicking'. I never thought of doing it on a crocheted project. Thanks

  2. You're very welcome, Valorie! I thought it would be an easy way to change the appearance of a pattern that it's easy for you to make over and over again. You just change the embroidery on it!