Tips and Tricks for French Knots and Fractionals (The F Words of Cross Stitch) | S3E13

In this post/episode, I am sharing some tips and tricks about how to do French Knots and Fractional Stitches in cross stitch.

You can listen to the episode below or scroll down to read the blog post.

French knots and fractionals are not something I have spoken much about here before, but I thought it was about time I did as I get asked about them all the time!

These are just a few tips, but if you want to the full how-to with video tutorials you can watch over and over again, check out my mini-class directly from my signature how to cross stitch course.

3 Tips for French Knots

1. Practice makes perfect (well nearly anyway)

No one gets the hang of French knots the first time. Or the second. Or even the third.

This takes so much practice and you will still mess them up. But that’s OK!

When I was creating my How to Cross Stitch Course, the part with the most do-overs was the part about French Knots, and I actually enjoy doing them.

Just get some aida and have a go before diving into a pattern that has them on.

2. Use a hoop when stitching them

The key to French knots is keeping everything tight and taught, and it is very hard to keep aida or evenweave tight without using a hoop/frame/Q-snap etc.

Using these free up your hands to guide your needle through the knot better and just give you a little more control.

3. Stitch them last

Stitch them when the rest of your pattern is complete or after you already have stitches close by where the French knot will be.

The question I always get about French knots, in particular, is how to start them. And I actually show you 3 different ways in that mini-class, but if you are close to cross stitches you have already done it makes it much easier to start because you can anchor onto those stitches at the back and you can come under them to tie off when the knot is done.

tis-the-season-cross-stitch-hoop
An example of some French knots on my ‘Tis the Season Cross Stitch Kit

3 Tips for Fractional Stitches

1. Know the terminology

A 3/4 fractional stitch takes up 3/4 of the square, so this will be a half stitch and a small stitch in one of the corners of the square. A 1/4 fractional is just that corner part, with no half stitch.

2. Look at the symbol

This will tell you which corner which colour will be in and which direction to stitch in.

Usually, you have to decide which colour is the 1/4 and which colour is the 3/4 when stitching fractional stitches. Sometimes the pattern will have it wrote on the instructions though.

If there is just a 3/4 stitch in the square you can actually just do a half stitch instead if you are struggling with the quarter part; it won’t make that much difference.

3. Stitch the 1/4 part first

That 1/4 stitch goes from the corner of your square directly into the middle of the square. This makes them easier on evenweave or linen as there is already a hole in the middle of the square, and it can make it difficult on aida, but not impossible.

So that’s your 1/4 done, then if it is a 3/4 fractional you just have to do your half stitch over, so just corner to corner.

I recommend doing the smaller, 1/4 parts first because then you don’t have that thread from the half-stitch in the way when trying to go into that middle hole.

Extra Cross Stitch Resources

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How to do French knots and fractional stitches in cross stitch

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