design process, techniques

Embroidery Embellishment

Sometimes a project needs just a little more than colourful areas of intarsia. Embroidery is an effective way to give your knits a polished look. You can revitalize old knits (even commercial knits) or plan to embellish your project from the get go.

From the beginning I knew that I wanted to smooth out the lines of this colourful flower with some embroidered stitches. It would be a fun way to add even more colour and texture to a cute baby sweater. I thought you might like to see the design submission I sent in for 60 More Quick Baby Knits.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done any embroidery, but once you know how, you never forget, right? Well, if that’s not quite the case for everyone, here’s a tutorial to help you brush up on your technique.

1. Start by threading a blunt-tipped needle with the colour of your choice. I’m using Cascade 220 Superwash Sport for both the project and the embroidery. The weight of yarn you use doesn’t have to be exactly the same as your project. Just keep the scale within reason. I probably wouldn’t use bulky embroidery yarn on a lace-weight project!

2. From the WS, insert your needle through the fabric to the RS and pull the yarn through.

3. Insert the needle into the same place where the yarn emerged, then bring the needle tip back through to the RS a short distance away (a stitch length) and wrap the yarn around the tip of the needle.

4. Gently pull the needle and yarn through the fabric until the stitch is a tear-drop shape (pointed on one end and rounded on the other).

5. Make the next stitch in the chain by going back into the first stitch where the yarn emerges and bring the needle tip up outside of the stitch.

6. Be sure the yarn is wrapped around the tip of the needle before pulling the yarn through.

7. When completing the enclosed shape, slip the needle under the both sides of the first stitch created and pull the yarn through. Finish off by inserting the needle into the last st where the yarn emerges and pull through to the back.


Sometimes I change my mind about the right colour combination to use, so I pulled out those stitches and did it again with a different colour!

Next time I’ll show you how to achieve the same look as the embroidered chain stitch, but using a crochet hook instead.