When I am embroidering on my crafty projects, I often need to make a little 3D ball or bubble for eyes, centres of flowers, doorknobs on house designs, or tiny apples on trees. This is when the bullion knot, sometimes called a french knot, comes in handy. (In fact, this is an essential technique when making Waldorf doll heads.) As an adult crafter, a bullion knot is one of my seven essential embroidery stitches, along with blanket stitch, back stitch, gather/straight stitch, lazy daisy stitch, stem stitch, and whip/saddle stitch. Pop it in your essential crafty know-how too! (P.S: More stitches can be found in the stitch dictionary here.)
Here is the step-by-step guide to make a bullion knot.
1. The first thing is to thread your needle with cotton, remembering to tie a knot about one inch away from the end of the thread to stop it running away! Bring your needle up through the material.
2. Pull the thread right the way through. Then, on the front face of the material, push your needle through and out again, right at the spot where your thread comes through.
3. Using the loose thread, wrap the tip of the needle about 5-6 times, depending on the size of the knot you want. Experiment.
4. Use your finger to push these wraps down the needle.
5. Hold this with your thumb and gently pull the needle through and out the fabric. You may need to jiggle and adjust the knot as it goes.
6. Pull the needle to tighten up the knot.
7. Then poke the needle back into the original hole to complete and secure the stitch.
You can also make bullion knot roses using the same technique, just by wrapping the needle a few more times and returning the needle into the fabric in a new spot about 1/2 cm away from point of entry, and repeating this style over and over again in a spiral.