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Tips & Techniques > The magical Australian knot

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Posted by: Asa Hagstrom

About Asa Hagstrom starstar
Member since: 9/19/02
Reviews: 31 (tips: 5)
Skill level:Advanced
Favored by: 34 people
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Posted on: 1/31/04 4:22 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 3 people   Very Helpful by 21 people   
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When hand sewing, placing a knot at the end of a strand of thread (and making it big enough) can be fiddly. A few years ago, I took a hand piecing/quilting class and my quilting teacher taught me this fast and simple technique to make a great knot. She learned it from an Australian lady, hence the name!

* Thread a needle. Hold the needle horizontally with your left thumb and index finger (assuming you are right-handed) with the point towards your right hand. The thread should just dangle down.

* Now, pick up the end of the thread with your right hand and grip it with your left thumb together with the needle. You should now have a loop of thread hanging from your left hand.

* With your right hand, grab the thread near the end (where you are holding it) and wrap it around the needle about three times.

* Add the wrapped thread to your left thumb/index finger grip.

* Here's the magic: Hold on to the needle with your right hand while you let your left hand slide the wrapped thread off the needle to the left and continue down the length of the thread and form a knot at the end! Tug at the thread end to secure the knot.

It sounds complicated, but it's REALLY easy once you try it. You can adjust the size of the knot by wrapping the thread more or less.

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TexasPat said... (8/20/16 12:24 PM) Reply
It would've benefitted greatly with a photo.
Annie P said... (12/16/12 3:31 AM) Reply
I should say that I learnt it growing up in New Zealand...
Karla Kizer said... (12/15/12 12:28 PM) Reply
Fluffygeek: then, you got more out of your high school sewing teacher than I did!
fluffygeek said... (12/15/12 10:19 AM) Reply
This was about the only useful thing I learned from my sewing teacher at high school. I was in Australia, but I'm guessing that's a coincidence :-)
Annie P said... (11/7/11 5:13 PM) Reply
Yes, it works and it's easy (I've been doing knots this way for years).
Grandnan said... (3/18/10 11:40 AM) Reply
Great tip
stillupat2am said... (2/26/10 8:58 PM) Reply
I went to other site [heatherbailey] and learned from the pictures. I then taught it to my mom. Finally, I was able to teach my mom something about sewing, instead of the other way around. ;-D
no7262 said... (6/22/09 12:08 PM) Reply
Great! Thanks!
Yvonski said... (2/15/09 0:35 AM) Reply
Not sure why this popped up to the top, but I am so glad it did. Fantastic. Thanks for a great tip.
denese said... (8/16/08 6:47 PM) Reply
as an australian i feel like i was born doing this.
TKW said... (7/29/08 7:34 PM) Reply
I'll be darned. That is a handy way to knot a needle. Thanx!
Delbel said... (10/9/07 12:09 PM) Reply
It took me a couple of go's but I soon worked it out- thank you so much
Luckie Kay Locke said... (9/13/07 10:31 PM) Reply
will try!! thanks
HeyJane said... (8/15/07 12:12 PM) Reply
Hey, I love that !! Was just reading through some older posts. Very useful for me because I frequently need a very large knot, and this method is faster. Thanks.
deaeverbe said... (7/24/06 12:32 PM) Reply
I was unable to use these instructions with any success at all, no knot, however it did prompt a google search which yielded this great web tutorial: success! so thanks for beginning my journey to a successful knot.
OP Gal said... (5/15/06 1:54 PM) Reply
I'd never heard of this, or making a knot--just for embroidery, but you can bet I'll be using it from now on. Thanks.
thredhed said... (4/18/06 8:07 AM) Reply
Old topic, but I tho't I'd leave a comment. Yes, this is a french knot from embroidery. It's also called a quilters knot because for hand quilting this knot can be made on the surface you're working on then tugged with an audible "pop" thru the taut surface to the batting layer. Thread tails are snipped from the back and the process leaves a neat but secure end to a line of stitches.
/anne... said... (10/29/05 3:32 AM) Reply
I was taught this when I studied dressmaking here in Australia - the teacher called it a tailor's knot. I use it all the time!
Asa Hagstrom said... (8/17/05 7:37 AM) Reply
squirpy, I think you need to tug at the end to make the knot secure. If the thread is "shiny" (like silk or rayon) you need to tug more firmly. HTH...
squirpy said... (8/17/05 0:04 AM) Reply
I know that this thing was ages ago, but I just found it. I tried it, and it worked three times in a row! It was great, I couldn't figure this out before. But then - I was showing my mom and grandma, and I couldn't get it to work, and then two of my previous knots disappeared! The problem seems to be that it slides off the tail, not on the rest of the thread. Here's hoping some one reads this... :)
MaryLynn in Long Beach said... (8/31/04 1:49 PM) Reply
rocketgranny said... (8/15/04 3:28 PM) Reply
THANK YOU!! Finally, I learn how to make a proper, lady-like knot! You have no idea - I have NEVER been able to make knots. I've always come out with these globby clumps of thread. My personal embroidery signature was the ugly knots on the back side (much to my grandmother's chagrin).
Niemmie said... (5/10/04 7:20 AM) Reply
that sounds like a great idea, have to try it
PVA said... (4/24/04 9:34 PM) Reply
I learned this one from a quilting and tatting teacher. She saw me struggling to get a knot in the end of my thread one day and taught it to me. It never fails me unless I "loose my grip" on the wraps as I'm sliding them off the needle. Neat tip!
milinda52 said... (3/9/04 0:54 AM) Reply
This is concerning the Australian knot. I wanted to learn the quilter's knot and tried, and tried to make one but just couldn't get it! I came across this website through a google search for the q. knot. After reading Asa Hamstrom's review, I got it on the first try. I couldn't believe it! I tried again, and got again. Now I can make an Australian knot thanks to her help. Thanks. Linda
J_J said... (2/22/04 7:27 PM) Reply
I've never heard of or tried this knot before. I've always been jealous of my mother and my sister. They could both tie a wonderful knot (one handed) and I never could get the knack. I've struggled with tying a knot with 2 hands and never getting a knot that was bulky enough to do much good. I just tried this knot and, wow, it worked. I wrapped the thread 5 times instead of just 3 in order to get a bigger knot and it worked! Thank you.
lvanderb said... (2/20/04 8:18 AM) Reply
Oh, so that's what it's called? My mother is from the Netherlands and I'm pretty sure she taught me this knot as well...
ClareinStitches said... (2/1/04 9:42 AM) Reply
I live in England and learnt this method from my Mother as a liitle girl. She probably learnt it at her father's knee as he was a military tailor who began work in Cobh, Eire and followed the army to the UK. This is one International knot! .
Asa Hagstrom said... (2/1/04 6:12 AM) Reply
Karla, LOL! I was just trying to be very explicit about the hands, and for me it's easier to do the wrapping with my right hand. Maybe we should call this the international knot?
Judy Williment said... (2/1/04 3:01 AM) Reply
I'm a New Zealander and this is the only way I was ever taught to make a knot!
Karla Kizer said... (1/31/04 7:02 PM) Reply
Hmmm - I just re-read these instructions word for word and realized that even though I am right-handed, I use the opposite hand for each step. What does this say about me? Am I as confused as has been suggested?????
Everyday Sewist said... (1/31/04 1:59 PM) Reply
I saw this demonstrated on TV, years ago, and I've been trying to figure it out ever since! Thanks for posting this tip, I'm going to see if I can learn it now.
Asa Hagstrom said... (1/31/04 9:36 AM) Reply
By whichever name you call it... at least it's magical! In Swedish, French knots are an embroidery term... :)
Karla Kizer said... (1/31/04 8:23 AM) Reply
And I learned it as a Quilter's knot....Whatever you call it, it's a very handy trick to know.
Mel.J said... (1/31/04 8:10 AM) Reply
Hi Åsa - I'm an Aussie & I learnt this technique as a 'French knot'! (lol)
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