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Weave a Celtic Knot

Traditional Celtic knots from clip art books found on Amazon.com are transformed into modern embellishments using silk cord.
Make multiple copies of your selected Celtic design and adjust the pattern interlace as many times as you need to make the shape you want.
Dress up any ordinary garment with Celtic knot embellishments.
Traditional Celtic knots from clip art books found on Amazon.com are transformed into modern embellishments using silk cord.

Traditional Celtic knots from clip art books found on Amazon.com are transformed into modern embellishments using silk cord.

Photo: Jack Deutsch

One day while browsing in a fabric store, I came across an appealing piece of English trim made from charmeuse bias tubes laid out in a design reminiscent of interlaced Celtic patterns. I decided to use this technique to make embellishment pieces for cuffs, collars, and pockets starting with Celtic designs from clip art. It’s not that complicated, as long as you get your work mapped out initially. I will show you how.

Plan your motif
Patch pockets make a good initial project because you can easily adjust the rectangular shape as needed to accommodate the design. To get started, assemble enough silk charmeuse to make the tubes you need, pattern paper, a permanent marking pen, basting thread, pins, sewing thread, and a hand-sewing needle.

1. Choose or draw your knot pattern. It’s easiest to find an existing pattern. I selected three interlacing Josephine’s knots and photocopied the design, reducing and enlarging to get the scale I wanted. For this example, the finished tubes were no larger than 1/4-inch wide. The repeats in the design work perfectly to enable the right pocket size.

2. Make multiple copies of your selected Celtic design.
Then, you can adjust the pattern interlace as many times as you need to make the shape you want. To expand the width of a Celtic knot, overlap the original with a second copy of the motif. Be sure to align the interlacing on the base pattern and the added pattern. Follow the same method to expand or reduce the length and width to suit your desired design size.


3. Experiment with bias tubes in various widths to audition the design.
The design work and bias tubes must be sized right to work together. It is necessary to experiment back and forth between pattern sizes, just as you would test the stitching gauge for knitting.



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ThreadsMagazine Threads Magazine, editor
Posted on Jan 3rd, 2011 in embellishments

Comments (11)

margaux777 margaux777 writes: celtic knots tend to be my focus such as embroidery and starting woodcarving but this is incredible, must learn soon. thanks
Posted: 10:22 pm on October 12th

margaux777 margaux777 writes:
Posted: 10:16 pm on October 12th

rownsew rownsew writes: this would be awesome as a window treatment too. Either with a background fabric behind it or alone, as a valance or a shade. Might be fun to do with soutash or another stiffer type of cording too.
Posted: 3:41 pm on January 9th

nanacosta nanacosta writes: Hi! I have done this work many times.....and I must congratulate you, because your instructions are really wonderfull!!! Thank you for taking all the trouble, thank you!!!
Posted: 11:06 am on January 8th

GreenTrunkDesigns GreenTrunkDesigns writes: I LOVE Celtic Knots!!! I have only seen rouleaux tubes used once before...I'm so happy to have this example and directions!
Posted: 9:18 am on January 5th

ccrussell ccrussell writes: I have incorporated celtic knots into several sewing projects over the years. This is THE BEST SET OF INSTRUCTIONS I have ever seen. Thank you so much.
Posted: 6:58 am on January 5th

Maurorless Maurorless writes: Dear Ms Crane,
Your intricate and amazing Celtic knots made me want to find a needle and sew anything. Your directions were superb and I plan on saving this idea. Thank you for another delightful addition to the always amazing creations at Threads.

Posted: 1:09 am on January 5th

BarbaraHewitt BarbaraHewitt writes: Something new to try. Thank you. I appricate the ideas for advanced sewists and well as beginners.
Posted: 6:44 pm on January 4th

Tina603 Tina603 writes: I've always been fascinated by Celtic knotwork and this is AWESOME! Can't you see this on a christening dress? I'm a beginner with heirloom techniques, but I could also see working this into a lovely blouse. Thanks!
Posted: 6:37 pm on January 4th

BettyKnitter BettyKnitter writes: How fabulous! I decorated my wedding dress with rouleaux tubes in Celtic knot designs. A four-strand plait embellished the edge of the skirt and train, and the cuffs and bodice front featured more complex designs. I also used faux pearls interwoven with the tubes. This was 20 years ago, and seeing this technique has brought it all back to me - all those hours of work hand-stitching many metres of duchesse satin rouleaux. It was worth it.
Posted: 6:05 pm on January 4th

ElizaDolittle ElizaDolittle writes: This is STUNNING! I've drawn and painted Celtic knotwork over the years, and it never occurred to me to try this. I imagine it requires a little patience, but the result is so, I'm going to say it again, STUNNING! This would be a terrific way to decorate vintage-style blouse/cardigan/dress. I'm impressed!
Posted: 5:24 pm on January 4th

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