Coral Stitch

Coral Stitch

Coral stitch has several names, including Coral Knot; German Knot stitch; Knotted Stitch; Beaded Stitch; and Snail Trail. It is also — incorrectly — known as scroll stitch.  If you compare the two stitches, you will see that the needle is wrapped in a different manner — producing a different look to the line.

Coral stitch is an old embroidery stitch. It creates a line that looks like a row of knots and is used for outlines — as it follows a curved detail well.

I often use it for twiggy bits in a floral design. You can also create a knotted filling, by spacing the knot at precise intervals. This way, the knots form a secondary pattern across the filling.

How to Work Coral Stitch

Work Coral stitch from right to left. To work it, bring the thread up from the back of the fabric and hold it loosely on the surface of the fabric with your thumb.

Insert the needle at a slight right angle, above your working line.  Bring it out just below the line, and wrap the thread under the needle as illustrated.

Coral stitch step 1

Pull the needle through the fabric to form a knot.

Coral stitch step 2Continue in this manner along the line.

Coral stitch step 3

Coral stitch can be varied by altering the angle of the needle as it passes through the fabric. Some people have the needle entering the fabric in a vertical position as it passes through the fabric. This will produce a tighter knot.  By altering the spacing of the knots along the row the stitch can appear to be different.

You can create different effects by altering the weight and twist of the thread used. I worked this sample using perle # 5 cotton. You can experiment, with threads as this stitch looks good worked in thicker threads or even a fine ribbon.

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