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Bullion Knots

Bullion knots are made by winding thread around itself, then anchoring it down.

They're great for adding texture to your embroidery: they're commonly used to create hair, foliage and insect bodies.

Here's a video tutorial on how to do them - you'll find the step by step instructions below the video!


1. To start, bring your needle up at one end of the stitch (the lines here indicate how long my Bullion Knots will be).

2. Then, come down at the other end of the stitch. Don’t pull the thread tight - leave it hanging loose.

3. Poke your needle back up through (or very close to) your first hole - but don’t pull it all the way through. With one hand at the back, hold the needle halfway through the fabric.

4. With your non-needle hand, take the loose length of thread, and start to wind it around your needle. It can help to periodically push the coils toward the base of your needle, to stop them falling off the top! You want the coils around the needle to cover the stitch length when they’re lying flat. Make sure that the coils are snug around the needle (but not too tight!) and aren’t overlapping each other.

5. Now, it’s the tricky bit! Keeping your hold on the needle at the back, take your non-needle hand and pinch your stack of coiled thread.

6. Keeping the thread pinched, move your other hand to the front and pull your needle all the way through. If you’re having trouble pulling it through, loosen your pinch and give it a little wiggle.

7. When you’ve pulled the thread almost all the way through, let go of the pinched thread. The coils should now be wound around the thread.

8. Pull the thread, and use your needle to rearrange any coils that have overlapped or moved. Use your needle to coax the stack down to the base of your thread, then pull the thread tighter, so the knot is lying flat.

9. To anchor the stitch, bring your needle to the back at the end of the stitch.

10. Repeat! I’ve gradually increased the knot lengths here - the longer the knot, the trickier it is to keep the coils in place! Bring your needle up to start the stitch; then back through, but leave the thread hanging loose. Poke the needle halfway up through your first hole, and hold it with one hand at the back. Take the loose thread, and wind it around your needle - making the stack of thread big enough to cover the stitch length. Push the coils down if they start to spread out along the needle. Pinch your thread; and use your other hand to pull the needle all the way through (the pinch is to keep the coils in the right order!). Tighten the thread to flatten it against the fabric; and use your needle to shuffle the coils into place. Bring your needle to the back, to anchor the stitch.

Tips: It can be tricky to keep all of the coils on the needle - so keep pushing them down toward the base of the needle, to keep them in order.

Try not to pull too hard while winding the thread (it’ll make it harder to pull your needle through!). If you have trouble pulling your needle through, try to loosen the coils by pinching less hard and wiggling the needle a bit - it can take a bit of practice!

Bullion Knots: sorted!

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