How to Hand Embroider Palestrina Stitch

Palestrina stitch Version 2 sample 6After fussing and carrying on and spending and age hunched over various stitch dictionaries I have decided that there are two versions of Palestrina stitch. One is worked vertically producing a neat knotted line and the second is worked horizontally producing  a knotted line. Each knot has an ‘arm’ that can be varied in length to add variety and interest to the stitch.

Both versions produce an interesting textured line that will hold a curve well and both versions look quite complex but once you are in the swing of it are enjoyable and fun. You are not restricted to even-weave fabrics as it is easily worked on many types of fabric forming a characteristic attractive knotted line.

Palestrina stitch can be used as a linear stitch or to outline shapes in a design. A firm twisted thread, such as pearl cotton, show the knots to their best advantage.The thickness of your thread will change the look of this stitch.

I really like Palestrina stitch because it forms a ridge of knots. In this sample Palestrina is worked in Ecru perle #3 thread and forms a line of knots.

Palestrina stitch Version 1sample


How to work Palestrina stitch version 1

Palestrina stitch Version 1 tutorial step 1Start by making a short straight vertical stitch. Bring your needle from the back slightly to the left of the stitch and pull the thread through.

Palestrina stitch Version 1 tutorial step 2Slide your needle under the straight stitch from right to left. Do not pick up any of the fabric at this point.

Palestrina stitch Version 1 tutorial step 3Pull the thread through so that a loop forms around the straight stitch. You are wrapping the stitch with the thread. Pull the wrap snug but not too tight.

Palestrina stitch Version 1 tutorial step 4Slide your needle from right to left diagonally under the straight stitch. Keep your needle above the loop and again, don’t pick up any of the fabric.

Palestrina stitch Version 1 tutorial step 5

With your thread under the needle pull the needle through to form a snug knot.

Palestrina stitch Version 1 tutorial step6Insert your needle below the knot and take it to the back to create the vertical stitch, on which to make the next knot

Palestrina stitch Version 1 tutorial step 7Bring the needle out on the left side of the stitch and repeat each knot down the line.

How to work Palestrina stitch version 2 or Long Legged Palestrina

Work the stitch from left to right, along a line.

Palestrina stitch Version 2 tutorial step 1Bring the needle up through the fabric and make a small stitch diagonal stitch before taking the needle to the back of the fabric. This forms the first bar on to which the stitch is made.

Palestrina stitch Version 2 tutorial step 2Bring your needle up again at the base of the diagonal stitch (see the illustration). From the top slide the needle under the diagonal stitch. When you pass the needle under the bar this movement will take your thread over the top of the bar.

Palestrina stitch Version 2 tutorial step 3Once again pass the needle under the bar. Loop the thread under the needle and pull the needle under the bar. Pull the thread snug to form a knot. Take the needle to the back of  the fabric

Palestrina stitch Version 2 tutorial step 4Move along the line make a second bar on to which you work your knot.

In the illustrations I have used quite large foundation stitches so that people can see how the stitch is made. Space the knots evenly and close together to produce a textured line.The knots can be worked closely together to produce a heavy line or spaced quite far apart.

Palestrina  long legged sample Most of my samples are worked in perle #5 cotton but I often try it in thicker yarns (like knitting wool!) of perle #3 cotton.


You can change the size of the arms to add textural interest and to create patterns or add beads.



Palestrina stitch Version 2 sample 4As I have already said Palestrina stitch is a textured stitch which holds a curve well.

Palestrina stitch Version 2 sample 5If you widen the stitch it becomes very interesting. For instance you can change the length of the arms. If you work the stitch on a curve and change the size of the arms it becomes very twiggy and organic which makes it ideal in floral sprays etc.

Palestrina stitch Version 2 sample 1You can also work this stitch on evenweave fabric . This sample is worked on hand dyed Aida cloth

Palestrina stitch Version 2 sample 2The next sample is on the same cloth but every second stitch has extended arms in order to crate a pattern.

Palestrina stitch Version 2 sample 3Palestrina Stitch It is a stitch found often on Italian embroidery – hence the name but it is also known as Double knot stitch, Tied coral stitch, Old English knot stitch, Smyrna stitch and it is also the stitch used in Twilling so it is called Twilling Stitch.  If the bars are extended and well above the knot (as they are in the illustrations) this stitch becomes Long Armed Palestrina stitch and if the bars are long and below the knot it becomes Long Legged Palestrina stitch.

Which ever version you use I hope you enjoy the Palestrina stitch.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to How to Hand Embroider Palestrina Stitch

  1. Imelda says:

    Lovely stitch and embroidery. 🙂 Embroidery is one of the things I wish to do if I have the time.

  2. vero says:

    j’ai fini le point merci

  3. Anneliese says:

    I managed finally to photograph – get internet connection – and post my Palestrina stitched little cactus on:

  4. Ann says:

    Here’s what I did this week:

    My journal now is so thick that I need to start another one. It’s a logical break, too, being on week 26…the midway point of the year.

  5. Cy says:

    I stitched a mandala and also used this stitch on my CQ block in a few ways.

    It can be seen here:

    Happy stitching.

  6. Hi Sharon,
    I have a request from Lakshimi at
    She has problems posting a comment. Can you help?

  7. I have completed my weekly work in the evening
    Because I’ll soon leave Ankara to Manila, time to stitch is missing.

  8. Annet says:

    I’ve stitched a Palestrina stitch on my first Crazy White block:

  9. Better late than never. I tried to stitch a full piece. Not enough time. I have blogged about it at and have put an image up on the Flikr site.

  10. Pippa says:

    Hi Sharon
    I have had a go at palestrina stitch I have posted on my blog
    and on stitchinfingers

  11. This weeks stitch is very interesting. I knew it by the name doubleknot stitch.
    But the tails upward and downward is new to me.
    I enjoyed doing the stitch.
    My trial can be viewed here.

  12. Laurel says:

    Hi Fellow TASTers,
    Here’s my first try at the Palestrina stitch.

  13. Kippy Honda says:

    Hooray! the palestrina was a challenge, but I like it now!
    I have also caught up through week 12 – they are posted there too

  14. Jill OLeary says:

    This is my first attempt at TAST. I just had to jump in.
    Here is where you can find my little Palestrina Party Time sampler-


  15. Rose says:

    Finally got a blog post up for this week and last week’s stitches. I really like this weeks stitch! I will be experimenting more with it but for now another one of my scribbles.

  16. Hi Sharon,
    I worked my palestrina knots with cotton skeins.
    this week’s sampler is on my blog-
    thank you,

  17. Hi Sharon, this stitch just blew me away !!
    I had never tried this one before, and it has opened up all sorts of creative ideas to me…….so thank you sharon……..
    You can see my sample here………………….
    chris richards

  18. Hello
    My palestrina stitch is here:

  19. Lucy Landry says:

    This was a very interesting stitch. And a new one for me to learn.

  20. Mariainez L. Ribeiro dos Santos says:

    Here is my work for this week.
    I enjoyed to do this.
    Thank you.

  21. ValerieL says:

    I finished week 25 and 26 and just posted on my blog today about it. See it here at:


  22. Liz Figures says:

    dear sharon, whew, found this palestrina stitch hard work to get my head round. not too good with knots, but got to use up my old stranded threads before i go and by those lovely twisted ones you use. decided to use it along with my first attempt at shisha. havent got any of those sweet little mirrors so decided to experiment. have had great fun. thank you for all your hard work to help us xx liz xx

  23. Carol Harper says:

    Here’s my attempt. Not happy with the tension using perle but also not happy with how the floss strands separate using stranded floss…

  24. Claudia says:

    Hi Sharon and everyone,
    again the stitch was new for me. Had much fun exploring several possibilities. Thanks, Sharon, for offering this wonderful possibility to learn!
    Happy Stitching!

  25. libbyQ says:

    really loved this stitch once i got it figured out~!

    there is now a beautiful palestrina knot edging on some of the lace on wonderful daughter’s stocking.
    looks a bit like a braided trim.


  26. I like this stitch and my sample can be found on my blog.

  27. Annet says:

    I’ve added Palestrina stitches to 2 different TAST samplers:

  28. Maureen says:

    I have old and new samples of Palestrina at
    This is a really nice stitch to do.

  29. Lyndsey says:

    I tried this weeks stitch. Haven’t fully finished my sample but pleased with how it is progressing

  30. Debbie says:

    Here’s my simple stitching for this week, just to try out the stitch.

  31. Andy Lloyd Williams (Mrs!) says:

    I really love your PinTangle website especially the Tuesday stitch. It is very inspiring. I am in the middle of a landscape quilt at the moment and when it is finished I am going to try the stitches. Loving crazy patchwork, I can’t wait. I wish there were 48 hours in the day!
    Thank you so much.

  32. Latha says:
    My sample work for the week 26 of TAST. For the second design I used wool yarn.

  33. Angela says:

    Thanks Sharon for teaching me another new stitch. I am learning so much this year and it feels good!

  34. DOMYR974 says:

    trés joli point que j’affectionne moi aussi- il est super bien présenté dans ton post ! merci !

  35. Annet says:

    Here’s my weekly post with old stitches:
    Your first sample is very pretty!

  36. Hi Sharon,
    my earlier sampler on palestrina knot is here-
    Thank you,

  37. Christina says: My contribution for this week. Completely new to me and a knot and….I like it :-). You may be able to convert me yet.

  38. Your quilts/crafts are so fantastic! It’s so nice to find other quilters all around the world!
    Hugs, Ulla (from Finland)

  39. Naliniaviyur says:

    Here I have posted my attempts on this week’s challenge Palestrina stitch

  40. Hi Sharon,
    You can see my latest addition to the mandala at: I won’t be adding anything in the next two weeks as I will be teaching at the RSN. But I look forward to be able to add three stitches in one go afterwards!
    Have a nice day, Jessica

  41. shami immanuel says:

    Here is the link for one of my old works using palistrina stitch. Have a look.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *