Which Stitch is Which?

20th July 2018

Over the past few months we’ve been working on updating the Inspirations Magazine Index, which is a publication that catalogues and indexes all the projects across every issue of the magazine into one easy to look up book. Essentially, it’s the ultimate search tool for all things Inspirations Magazine and this new edition will be out in October to coincide with the release of issue #100.

The updated Index revealed that by the time issue 100 is out, we will have published step-by-step instructions for 200 different stitches. Now if you’re trying to work out which stitch to use for a specific project, with that many to choose from and more, it’s ok if you’re feeling a little unsure or even overwhelmed!

This week we’re taking a look at one of the quirkier stitches from the repertoire, known as Ghiordes knot. It sounds obscure, but you might be surprised to learn step-by-step instructions for it have appeared 12 times already in the magazine over the years and it is actually a very useful stitch.

Ghiordes knots are used to create velvety pile that is formed by leaving every second stitch as a loop that is later cut and combed.

Most effective when worked in cotton perlé, it’s the perfect stitch to create the top of a thistle, add grass in a meadow or give a bumble bee a fuzzy behind!

When working an area of Ghiordes knots, you will find that the closer the stitches are to one another, the thicker the plush will be when cut and combed. Regardless of the shape to be filled, Ghiordes knots should be worked in straight lines which helps to avoid the stitches becoming tangled in the previously stitched loops.

‘Hint of Spring’ by Jane Nicholas – Inspirations #77

As you work, hold the loops out of the way with your thumb or finger. The direction you choose to fill a shape may depend on the finished effect you require as the upper edge of a row of knots has the securing stitches exposed.

Ghiordes Knot is also known as single knot tufting, or Turkey work. You can imagine how useful this technique might be when stitching a design of a turkey and re-creating the magnificent tips of it feathers… but actually the noisy and extremely tasty bird has absolutely nothing to do with the name!

Image courtesy sarahlynndesign.com

Ghiordes Knot / Turkey work is actually the stitch that was used to make Turkish carpets and is first and foremost a rug making technique where it is often referred to as rya stitch. Ghiordes is a town in western Anatolia (now part of Turkey) that produced highly prized prayer rugs.

So, now you know a bit more about this fascinating technique you might be inclined to try a project which calls for its plush finish, some of which we have listed below for your stitching pleasure.

‘Warm Wishes’ by Anna Scott – Inspirations #72

To fully master the technique, you can find it listed in our book ‘The Embroiderer’s Handbook’ which features more than 150 stitches illustrated with easy to follow step-by-step photographs. The Embroiderer’s Handbook essentially takes most of the step-by-step instructions from across all the issues of Inspirations and puts them altogether in one quick reference powerhouse. Definitely worth considering adding to your needlework toolkit.

The Embroiderer’s Handbook

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Did You Know?

Apart from myriad uses in embroidery, Ghiordes knot is also very useful for toy repairs. Inspirations assistant-editor Ellaine was telling us how she once added a mane that had been worn away with toddler love back to a favourite toy giraffe using Ghiordes knot in short rows with yarn. Thanks for another great tip Ellaine!

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