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Turkey rug knot icon
Turkey rug knot

  • Ghiordes knot
  • Quilt knot stitch
  • Single knotted Smyrna rug stitch
  • Tufted knot stitch
  • Turkey stitch
  • Rya stitch
  • Turkey work

This canvaswork stitch consists of loops of thread which are either left as even length loops, or, more commonly, cut into a pile.  It is similar to the surface version of this stitch: Turkey rug stitch.

Turkey rug knot is probably the best known of various canvaswork piled stitches (those made from raised loops, cut into a pile to resemble a rug).  They are often referred to as Turkey work (the name originating from their similarity to carpets which were originally imported from Turkey).  It is often difficult to be certain which stitch has been used on an artefact as they are all visually similar from the front: they differ purely in the working method.  This also means dating the origin of each stitch individually is very hard.

There is certainly evidence of some form of piled stitches on canvaswork chairs from the mid 17th century: Norwich Cathedral, Norfolk has 23 Turkey work chairs dating from 1651, and the Victoria and Albert Museum has a chair with 1649 stitched into the design.

By the 19th century Turkey work was being used on smaller, decorative items: it rose in popularity as part of Berlin wool work where it was often used to portray large flowers, shaded in different colours and then trimmed to reflect the shape of the petals.  The V&A has such an example from the 1850s with roses, referred to as plushwork.

Turkey rug knot is generously sponsored by Susan Shields


Turkey rug stitch should always be the last stitch to be but in your design as it is very difficult to fit other stitches around it due to its dense nature.  In should always be worked from the bottom upwards.
If you prefer to keep the loops it is sometimes helpful to loop over a pencil or knitting needle to keep them consistent in length.


Take the needle down through the canvas leaving a tail on the surface. Bring the needle up one thread to the left of this.


Take the needle down two threads across from where it came up, leaving a loop on the surface, (keep the loop above the stitch).


Bring the needle back up where you initially started and pull the surface loop tight. This will form a horizontal holding stitch to secure the tail ends of the thread.


Repeat the stitch to the right by taking the needle down in the next hole. Instead of leaving a tail, leave a loop on the surface, (keep the loop below the stitch).


Bring the needle up one thread to the left of this, sharing the same hole as the previous stitch.


Holding the working loop of the thread above the work, take the needle back down, two threads across to the right but do not pull tight yet.


Bring the needle back up where it first began and pull the loop tight.


Continue looping stitches across the row.


Cut the thread at the end of the row and return to the left-hand side of the work.


Make a second row above the first, beginning one thread to the left, so that the stitches are offset.


Continue with more rows to fill the area


When the area is complete the loops can either be left as they are


the loops cut


or trimmed for a fluffy appearance.

Turkey rug knot

Structure of stitch

Common uses

This stitch gives a very fluffy texture to an area and can give real height to the work. However, it is also very slow to work.

Embroidery Techniques

Variant Stitches