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Double knot stitch icon
Double knot stitch

  • Palestrina stitch
  • Tied coral stitch
  • Smyrna stitch
  • Old English stitch
  • Danish knot
  • Knotted cord stitch
  • Twilling knot
  • Twilling
  • Small palestrina knots
Double knot stitch main image

This knotted line stitch is formed by working a straight stitch and then working two stitches over it to form a knot.  Working the knot in two movements produces a very raised effect. 
Structurally, the knot is worked in the same way as Sorbello stitch, although Sorbello stitch is an isolated stitch.  The double knot also has similarities with the structure of the knots in raised chain band stitch, although the direction of the first knot is different. 
Some authors work double knot stitch with the straight stitch protruding slightly which gives a barbed effect; others work the knots close together so it resembles a braid stitch.  The stitch can also be worked as a filling stitch: rows can be worked back and forth or always in the same direction; the knots can be offset so that they fit between the knots on the previous row, or worked closely together so that the line is more solid.  If worked back and forth, the knots can be worked in the reverse direction (although this will give them a slightly different appearance).  Some authors suggest that when the knot is worked as a mirror image, and also barbed, this variation is called small Palestrina knots.

Double knot stitch was evidently in use in the first half of the 18th century as it features on a man’s linen waistcoat in the Embroiderers’ Guild (UK) collection.  The whitework waistcoat features large pulled work flowers outlined in stitches including double knot stitch.

The stitch had a renaissance in the early 20th century: an embroidery school was established in Palestrina in Italy in 1907 and il punto di Palestrina was one of the core stitches for which it became known.  English authors start to feature the stitch at this time, normally under the names double knot stitch or tied coral stitch.


Double knot stitch is generously sponsored by Jean Cunnell


The angle of the straight stitches can be varied from parallel to the design line to steeply sloped - this will change the size and shape of the knots.
The stitch can be used to fill an area in which case the stitches of the second row are worked in the reverse direction from the first row, and they should fit in the gaps between those of the first row.  Some authors work the two knots as a mirror image, although the overall stitch is still worked from left to right.


Starting at the left end of your design line, take your needle down a short distance along and slightly above the line to form a straight stitch. Bring the needle up underneath the line, either immediately below or slightly forward.


Throw your thread above the stitch and slide the needle under the stitch from top to bottom (do not pierce the fabric).


Draw the thread through and towards the left, then pull taut.


Throw your thread to the right to leave a loop on the surface. Slide the needle under the straight stitch from top to bottom, keeping your needle over the working thread.


Pull the thread through the loop you have just made and pull taut.


Take your needle down a short distance ahead to form a straight stitch and repeat the above steps to form more knots.


A completed line of double knot stitches.

Double knot stitch

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques


  • Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.55
  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.138–9