The result is sufficiently similar that you can use one or the other regardless, but the method is quite different – which one has your vote? If you don’t care very much for French knots, try your hand at Colonial knots!
Let’s have a look at French knots first, as they are more commonly used. (I’m using 4 strands here, to get a knot that’s big enough that you can see its shape)
1 Twist the thread around the needle 3 times:
2 Tighten the thread around the needle and keep it tight with your left hand (or right hand if you’re left-handed), then push the needle down through the fabric 1 strand of fabric away (diagonally) from where you started the stitch (don’t go through the initial hole otherwise your knot might get dragged through the fabric).
Now let’s look at the Colonial knot, which is actually easier to stitch, once you’ve got your head around it (still using 4 strands, here):
1 (You can see the finished French knot on the left.) For the Colonial knot, you need to create a bridge with the thread, and place your needle under it (that’s the bit that’s likely to mess with your brain, if you’re used to French knots! Notice how the thread twists to the right rather than the left, so you cannot twist it around the needle. That’s why you’ve got to create the curl first (the “bridge”) THEN put the needle through it. This way, it’s a piece of cake!):
2 Then twist the thread around the needle once, in the opposite direction, creating a figure of 8.
3 As for a French knot, tighten the thread around your needle and keep it tight with your left hand, while you push the needle down through the fabric just next to where you started the stitch.
Here they are side by side, French knot on the left, and Colonial knot on the right:
You can’t really tell the difference, can you, except that the Colonial knot is possibly slightly neater. Definitely MY favourite! What about you? Let me know how you get on with these pesky knots 🙂
If you found this tutorial helpful, feel free to share it!
A few design ideas you may like, for which you can use Colonial knots instead of French knots: