Knotted Buttonhole Band and Beaded Knotted Buttonhole Band Tutorial

Knotted Buttonhole Band and Beaded Knotted Buttonhole Band Tutorial

I found Knotted buttonhole band Edith Johns book, Creative Stitches which was published in 1967 and is long out of print. It looks extremely dated and boring now, but it is a real gem as there are some hidden treasures in it.

Knotted buttonhole band is interesting textured stitch which produces a line with a double ridge. It is ideal for borders or to create heavy lines. It can also be used as an edging stitch. You can often substitute knotted buttonhole band in patterns that require buttonhole (or blanket stitch).

Normally you work this stitch in the same thread but I have worked it in two colours so that readers can easily see what is happening in the demonstration.

However you can experiment with varying your threads. For instance if you use a metallic cord to form the ladder foundation it can be very effective as a bit of glitter peeks through.This sample is worked in cotton perle 5 but if you want a real chunky ridge try a fine silk ribbon. It works really well.
The only limit is that the thread has to behave itself enough to be knotted twice and still sit proud.
Also if you vary the spacing and width of the ladder stitches it can totally change the appearance of the stitch.

How to work Knotted Buttonhole Band

Knotted buttonhole band step 1To work the stitch start by creating an evenly spaced line of straight stitches.

Knotted buttonhole band step 2Note With Knotted buttonhole band you are not stitching through the fabric but stitching on the foundation of straight stitches.

Work the stitch from top to bottom. Bring your needle out at the top of the first bar of the ladder. Tuck the needle under the bar and wrap the thread under the needle like you would in buttonhole.

Make sure the needle is pointing to the left with the thread on the left as illustrated in the photograph.

Knotted buttonhole band step 3Take the needle through and pull the thread through to create the first loop.

Knotted buttonhole band step4Pass the needle through the loop you just created, as illustrated in the photograph.
Wrap the thread under the needle and pull the needle through to create a second loop. It looks like a little knot on the bar and this is what causes the ridge along the stitch.

Knotted buttonhole band step5As you can see the knot is quite pronounced. Make sure the knot is not too tight. It is knotted but not distorting the foundation stitch. The trick to keeping an even tension is to work this stitch in a hoop and don’t pull too tight as if you do it will distort the foundation stitches.

Knotted buttonhole band step6Move to the next foundation bar and create the next loop and continue down the bar in this way until you have reached the bottom. You now have the first side of the stitch.

Take your needle to the top of the row and repeat only this time point your needle to right as you make the loops.

Knotted buttonhole band step7How to work Beaded Knotted buttonhole band

The beaded version of Knotted buttonhole band is worked in the same manner except that you add a bead on every second knot.

Use a 26 tapestry needle. The eye of a tapestry needle is long which means you can thread perle #8 and Perle #5 through. However the needle itself is thin which means you can add a bead to your working thread as you stitch.

Beaded Knotted buttonhole band 1Work this stitch up to the point where you work the knot loop to the bar. At this point add a bead to every second foundation bar.

Beaded Knotted buttonhole band2

Work one side of the bar.

Beaded Knotted buttonhole band3Then take your thread to top and  work the second side of the bar.

Beaded Knotted buttonhole band 4You can also add a bead to the first loop in the process and nudge the bead to one side so that it sits on the outside of the line. Both produce a decorative band that makes an ideal edge for small items such as needle-cases, purses, etc.

Close detail of thread twisties

Thread Twisties!

Experimenting with different threads can be expensive, as you would normally have to buy a whole skein of each type of thread. So I have made up my thread twisties which are a combination of different threads to use in creative hand embroidery. These enable you to try out stitching with something other than stranded cotton. For the price of just a few skeins, you can experiment with a bundle of threads of luscious colours and many different textures.

These are creative embroiders threads. With them, I hope to encourage you to experiment. Each Twistie is a thread bundle containing silk, cotton, rayon and wool. Threads range from extra fine (the same thickness as 1 strand of embroidery floss) to chunky couchable textured yarns. All threads have a soft and manageable drape so that twisting them around a needle makes experimental hand embroidery an interesting journey rather than a battle.  Many are hand dyed by me. All are threads I use. You may find a similar thread twist but no two are identical.

You will find my thread twisties in the Pintangle shop here.


  1. Hi Sharon, this one was difficult for me. Maybe you can help me figure out what I am doing wrong. Thanks, Nicky

    Knotted buttonhole band and Beaded Knotted buttonhole band

    Nicky L

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