THE BULLION STITCH

Want to learn a new stitch? I've been wanting to learn the bullion stitch for a long time. It is a delicate and versatile stitch but can be a little tricky to learn. Since I just learned it myself I have some fresh tips to share!

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Start by gathering a few simple supplies:

1. COTTON FABRIC - A simple scrap of light colored fabric will be fine for practice. I like to use unbleached muslin (also called calico in other countries.)

2. WOODEN EMBROIDERY HOOP - Place your fabric in the hoop and make it nice and tight. Flat, taut fabric really helps with this particular stitch.

3. SCISSORS - For thread cutting.

4. THREAD - I used DMC cotton embroidery floss. You can experiment with different types of thread of varying thicknesses to create interesting effects.

5. NEEDLES - It is especially important that you choose the right needle for this stitch. The recommended needle is called a milliners needle (also called a straw needle.) What differentiates this needle from others is that it's shaft is long and thin. The eye is also the same width as the shaft which is crucial when you are trying to pull the needle through the coils of thread. If the eye is protruding it gets stuck and that is very frustrating. I found this needle at my local fabric store but they can sometimes be hard to find locally since they are specialty needles.

Above is an example of a package you can purchase online.

 Above you see a milliners needle on the left and an embroidery needle on the right. What you can't see pictured is that the milliners needle is longer. See how the eye of the embroidery needle is a lot bigger and protrudes more?

Above you see a milliners needle on the left and an embroidery needle on the right. What you can't see pictured is that the milliners needle is longer. See how the eye of the embroidery needle is a lot bigger and protrudes more?

O.k. let's get started.

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 Bring your needle down at "B" but do not pull it all the way through.

Bring your needle down at "B" but do not pull it all the way through.

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 Bring your needle up at "A".  Don't pull the needle all the way through. Leave the eye behind in the back of the fabric.

Bring your needle up at "A".  Don't pull the needle all the way through. Leave the eye behind in the back of the fabric.

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Hold the eye with one hand and use the other hand to coil the thread around your needle. As a general rule go in a clockwise motion.  *TIP - A nice way to tell if you are coiling the thread in the right direction is to let go. If the thread unravels like crazy vs. kind of staying coiled you are going try wrapping it in the other direction. You are working with the grain of the thread.

The amount of coiling should be equal to the length of the stitch from "A" to "B". *TIP - Do NOT coil the thread too tightly or it will be hard to pull the needle through. You just want the thread to coil in rows on the needle with light tension but enough that it is neatly stacked.

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This part can be really tricky. I found that going slowly and gently was really helpful. Take your time. If your needle is not pulling smoothly, it could be that the coil is too tight. I did unravel a couple of times before I got the feel for it. This is a patient stitch that takes a little love and coaxing. Use your finger to play with the coils and spread them evenly. If it gets knotty and difficult, cut the thread and start over. 

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If you would like to learn how to make a FRENCH KNOT feel free to visit my post on it and get a free printable to practice on.

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I am excited to keep practicing this stitch. My knots could be a lot neater. This comes with the muscle memory of just doing it over and over again.

The examples I have seen that use bullion knots are mostly decorative floral patterns but there are limitless ways to incorporate your new stitch.

Hope you have enjoyed learning this new technique.

Thanks for stopping by!

Pam