I first came across the bullion knot while trying to figure out how I wanted to cover a rather large mend I had made to a favourite shirt. I knew I wanted to add flowers but was dissatisfied with roses and daisies. I finally settled on clover – something I remember from my youth picking them in the village green across from my childhood home.
I scoured the Internet for a stitch that even remotely looked like those sweet bundles of tubular flowers. I finally settled on a cluster of bullion knots, which when gathered tightly together give the look of a clover flower.
The bullion knot is a great way to add depth and texture to your embroidery and with practice can be expanded to a whole bunch of interesting designs.
Bring your thread up through the fabric at the “top” of your knot (a).
Without pulling the needle all the way through go down through the fabric at the “bottom” of the knot (b) and up again through the “top” (a). Hold the needle in place as it’s poking through the fabric.
Using the slack thread wrap the tip of the needle for at least the same length as the distance between (a) and (b). The wrapping should be solid but but too tight (see note on wrapping below). I like to hold my finger behind my needle to help keep the stitches in place (as pictured).
Lightly grasp the wrapping and pull the needle through. this part can be tricky – if you find it too hard to pull your needle through your stitches you can twist the wrapped thread slightly to loosen it.
Continue pulling until the knot beings to lie flat – it will naturally pull back towards (b). Continue to hold the wound thread until it is mostly flat against the fabric.
Adjust the way the knot lies before bringing the needle back down at (b).
Note on wrapping
If the needle hasn’t been wrapped enough the fabric can pull or pucker. Wrapping it a greater amount will cause the knot to bow up from the fabric and add more depth (if that’s what you want).
Here’s a little picture of the clover I did for my mending project. I really love how it turned out.