How to stitch a silk ribbon Fargo Rose

How to stitch a silk ribbon Fargo Rose

farago rose on lace

After featuring Fargo roses on some of my crazy quilt blocks, a reader, asked me to write instructions on how to do a Fargo Rose. So here they are!

As I set about the task I realised I did not know why or who this silk ribbon motif was named after. I did check my silk ribbon embroidery books and a search online did not help me either. If anyone knows I would love to know the story. Feel free to leave a comment as I am sure others would like to know as well.

Anyway this is how I stitch a Fargo Rose.

This sample is worked using 7mm silk ribbon.

First bring you needle through to the front of the fabric. With your non dominant hand hold the ribbon and wrap the ribbon around the needle once. The wrapping movement is the same as a french knot.

Keep the wrap about 5 cm (2 inches) up the ribbon.  Push the tip of the needle through the ribbon about 1 cm  (a third of an inch) away from the wrap on one side of the ribbon.


Next on the opposite side of the ribbon, push the tip of the needle through the ribbon about 1 cm  (a third of an inch) away so that the needle is zig zaging down the length of the ribbon.

It is a bit difficult to explain so I have made a diagram of the path the needle takes.  With each step just catch the side of the ribbon. Each step across the ribbon is a petal.

If you want more petals add more steps. If you want larger petals have less steps. The main thing that no matter how many petals you choose is to keep the distance consistent.

Normally I keep the wrap under my thumb but I have the wrap exposed so that you can see what is happening to the ribbon. You might find it easier to work by keeping the wrap between thumb and for finger.

Before you take the needle through the fabric just pull the wrap firm on the needle so that it is neat. Don’t pull too tight just firm it up a little by just tugging the tail as it will create a nice centre to the rose.

Insert the needle near but not in the same place as where the ribbon first emerges from the back.

With a smooth motion pull the needle to the back of the work. This means the needle loaded with the ribbon is being pulled down the zig zag path.

It takes a little practice but once you get the hang of it they are simple and quick to do.

This image is the last of the ribbon, as it is being taken to the back of the fabric.

The completed rose.

I hope this tutorial is useful. As usual click on any of the images to take you to larger versions. Enjoy!


  1. This rose is in most silk ribbon books though Sharon does it differently and hers turns out prettier. Zigzagging down the length makes the ribbon twist ant the petals stay put. In all other instruction they stitch straight down the center of ribbon and so you end up with a rectangle instead of a circular flower. Well done Sharon. I generally do an overhand knot as it frees both hands to zigzag Down the ribbon. Do what is easier for you.

  2. The story is just as described but occurred in Fargo ND in a class at the Indian Summer Quilt Show and Conference. Joyce Valley is the woman who “invented” the Fargo Rose in Judith’s class Judith relates the story in one of her books

  3. Great tutorial!
    The word "farrago" was more common in 18-19th centuries and means "hodgepodge". Maybe somebody thought it sort of described what happens when you gather up the ribbon.

    Roberta in D (German Quilter)
  4. Susan: This is a wonderful tutorial, so clear and easy to follow – thank you so much! Having only started CQing about 4 years ago, I am always looking for the "best" tutorials/stitchery instructions when trying to learn a new stitch, and I’ve learned to always come to your’s 1st!

    As to origin of what you are calling the Farago Rose – in a class I took with Judith Montano last year, she related her story about this rose’s origin (so I am simply retelling Judith’s story). Judith said that when teaching a ribbon embroidery class in Fargo, NC many years ago, a young woman "invented" this rose by incorrectly following the instructions for another type of ribbon rose that Judith was demonstrating! Judith said she loved the happy mistake so much that she named the rose the Fargo Rose in honor of the young student of her’s from Fargo.

    Whatever the origin of this lovely ribbon rose, I adore it!

  5. You make it look so easy (fabulous tutorial & pics). I can’t wait to try it.

    I’m learning so much from you. I have huge projects running through my head but lack the skills. One day I’ll get there.
    Lisa (tikisobservations from flickr)

  6. Hello Sharon,

    I love this rose for my projects. I have seen it called a sweetheart rose on the youtube tutorial. I did a quick search but couldn’t find its history. I will try aqain when I have a few spare minutes later on.

  7. Hi Sharon!

    I learned how to make these roses from Marie Alton’s website. She has a tutorial here:

    She calls them French knot roses and, like yours, they are so lovely!

    Judith Montano has a rose in her book Floral Stitches called the Fargo rose. Your "Farago" name reminded me of it. It’s pretty, too, but it basically uses the weaving technique minus the knot.

    I prefer the roses with knots because they look so realistic!


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