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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

School Holiday Project: Embroider A French Knotted Heart

My niece pitched up with a carry-case of craft materials that a friend had given her for her birthday. She suggested we do something with it and promptly handed me the case to figure out the details. I unpacked everything with her and paid close attentions to the bits she was obviously dumbfounded by. These were the ones she would need most help with and these would be what I concentrated on. In today's blog I show you how I introduced her to the art of embroidery by teaching her to make French knots.


This is the carry-case I was presented with.


I needed a dressmakers pencil and an embroidery needle that was not included in the carry-case.


From the carry-case, we pulled the square of denim cloth and the embroidery thread.


I told my niece to pick a design with simple lines and to draw that on the denim using the dressmakers pencil.


She opted for a very predictable, but delightful heart. In the process she learned that drawing on fabric was a little more tricky than drawing on paper. The textured surface of the fabric pushes the pencil point in unintended directions.


I then showed her how to use a needle threader to thread the thick embroidery yarn through the needle. Push the wire loop through the eye of the needle. Then pull the yarn through the wire loop. Bring the two ends of the yarn together.


Pull the wire loop back through the needle, pulling the thread through the eye of the needle as you go.


Once the short end of the thread is through the needle's eye, remove the needle threader. Easy as pie!


I then showed her how to push the needle through the line of the heart from the wrong side of the design.


The first French knot was my own, showing her step by step how to do it.


Let me teach you as well. Push the threaded needle through the fabric from the back.


Loop the yarn over and under the needle as shown.


Twist the needle around and over the thread.


Now twist it back, going under the thread.


Pull the knot tight around the needle and push the needle back through the fabric as close as possible to the entry point.


Pull the thread all the way through, and your French knot should be perfect. This takes a little practice, so be patient with yourself and your young one.


It was slow going, but my niece was adamant that she would master the skill. She loved how it looked and was amazed that she had not seen this done before. As was I!


Progress was slow, but steady.


At this stage she was in a hurry to finish the project.


And finally it was all done. I told her to get permission from her mom to sew it onto one of her jeans. I hope she manages this, as it would be an inspiration for future projects.


Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy my books here:
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