Get Knotted!

I promised that I would share with you Beth‘s wonderful technique for quick and easy knotting of thread! I shall share this with you on two conditions:

  • You promise not to gasp at the heinous state of my manicure.
  • You promise not to laugh like a hyena if you already knew all about this technique and I’m just late to the knotting party.


Thread a needle. Alright, alright, don’t break out in a sweat yet! You can do this, people. Concentrate.

Bring the tail of the thread around to the back of your needle and keep it there with the pad of your finger.


Twist your thread twice around the needle, above the tail of thread, which is still kept pressed against the needle.


With your free hand, take hold of the twists of thread and pull them down the needle, off the needle and down the length of thread. This action will drag the tail of the thread along too, until your thread pulls taut and you have … a knot at the end!

It’s that quick. That simple. Do let me know if this technique is new to you. It saves so much squinting and cursing.

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43 Responses to Get Knotted!

  1. Liz says:

    Genius!! I did not know that. Joys of being self-taught I guess. I have been sewing for years and still find I am learning all the time. Thanks!

  2. Stephanie says:

    This is known as a Quilter’s Knot or a Tailor’s knot. It works great because it doesn’t come undone. It is a very old knotting method and quite ingenious. Enjoy!

  3. I’m impressed by the fact that you have a manicure, ok? And what I like about life is that we’re always learning something and, although I did know about that knotting method (perhaps because my grandmother was a tailoress and that’s what she would have taught my Mum who taught me, you know how it goes) I confess I don’t use it as often as perhaps I should. Is the method of doing the same sort of thing around your finger a first cousin or some lazy relative, do you know? Or does anybody know? It can give you a fatter knot and I find it quicker (probably why I use it) but I would suppose the needle method is more precise.

  4. superheidi says:

    That’s very neat. I think I’m like Felicity’s lazy relative, I twist the thread a few times around a wet finger, rub it all togehter off the finger and there’s a knot. Not a neat one, but a knot and a quick one. Learned that from a very cool sewing teacher.

    • LinB says:

      Yes. I use the “damp finger roll” method for a good, fat knot to start a hand-sewing seam — unless I’m quilting and want to pop the knot through the fabric, to hide it between quilt layers. I do use Karen’s New Way to finish seams, because you can slide the knot so close to the working surface. Any more than three wraps of the needle and you are approaching the realm of French knots.

    • Trisha says:

      I do the same thing, but I don’t wet my finger first. Is there any difference?

      • Lisa says:

        I use this method two . It doesn’t give a very neat knot I admit. I’m going to try your method and see if I have more success.

  5. Sam says:

    I always use this method for knotting thread. I was taught it by my mum, who was taught by her aunt, a very talented seamstress.

  6. Emma says:

    I remember learning about this technique from another blog (sorry!) about 2 years ago (sorry!!!!). It’s really quite sad how excited I was by a knot. 😉

  7. Angela says:

    I learnt this technique a few years ago when I did a quilting class and it blew me away!! In fact every time I do it I am still amazed 🙂

  8. I learn it during quilting classes.. when you move to multi disciplines its incredible the about of stuff you learn that work both ways.

  9. Sarah says:

    I was lucky a friends mum came to stay while I was learning to quilt – it was a godsend!

  10. neeno says:

    I gotta try this! going to get my needle and thread now….

  11. gail says:

    How clever! I’d never seen this before – thanks for sharing!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Never saw it before. Love it!!!

  13. I am really enjoying your posts. Someone taught me that method a few years back. Like you, I was very excited….still am. I love to see people’s reactions when I show them how to do it! have a great week-end.

  14. Graca says:

    Look at that! I learned something new, even before I finished my morning coffee. I so enjoy reading sewing blogs way better than morning newspapers. I’m going to try that this evening when I hem up a pair of pants. Thanks.

  15. missmirtti says:

    I kind of knew it. I mean, I used to know it, but was forgotten about it, so thank you for reminding 😀

  16. Well, I have never seen that before and I am excited to try it. (If I were at home, I would run to try it now, but alas I have to stay at work LOL)

  17. Michelle says:

    I use that method if I want a neat tidy knot, like for dress making. For the bigger knots that I need for english paper piecing, I do the ‘wrap around a wet finger’ routine.

    Did you also learn how to stop the thread coming off the needle? That’s my favourite party trick.

  18. Jenn-NY says:

    Thank you–my grandmother taught this to me a very long time ago and I couldn’t quite remember how to do it! (She would be apalled…)

  19. Kelly says:

    I also learned it in a quilting class a very long time ago and I was so impressed I never forgot it. It’s like a magic trick!

  20. grenouille78 says:

    I’ve always done the wet finger roll, too, so this is a nice alternative. You know, though, now that I’m looking at it, this is kind of like an embroidery French knot, just without the fabric in between.

  21. Strange that it feels familiar and yet I don’t do it. Thanks for posting it.

  22. Alessa says:

    I never heard about that one, guess that shows that I know no real seamstresses/tailors… I’ll have to try it out! It looks a bit similar to a surgeon’s knot…

  23. kaitui_kiwi says:

    My Nana tried to teach me this way to knot a thread but I was quite young and I just didn’t have the dexterity in my fingers to pull it off. So I went back to tying knots my own way but she kept trying to teach me if she caught me at it. I had to tie the knots under the table so she couldn’t see me because I felt so bad that I could learn her amazing technique, hehe. Thanks for sharing, I think I’m old enough now to give it another go 😉 I’m glad you reminded me, great photos too xx

  24. Sherry says:

    Ohh thank you for sharing, I didn’t know this trick! It is like an embroidered French Knot. My Mum does the rolly finger method – but I could never get that to work. I’ve just tried this and it worked – yay!

  25. Jinx Marlowe says:

    That nail polish is dreamy!

  26. Chrys says:

    Ah, yes. I learned this method a few years back at Heather Bailey’s blog. She had a tutorial for it. Like the proverbial old dog though I still use the wet finger roll which surely could use a proper name. Hmm. Quick and Dirty Twist. Commoner’s Knot. The Lazy Lick Knot. The Wet Willie Way. At any rate it does make a nice compact knot rather than the ugly, lumpy, spit-laden knot I am used to. Thanks for the reminder! : )

  27. Mary says:

    It’s new to me–thank you so much for posting it! I also default to the wet finger roll, but I typically go overboard and end up twisting my length of thread annoyingly. This looks like it’ll be a dream for hand quilting.

  28. Clio says:

    Wow. This is entirely new to me! Thanks!

  29. ulla says:

    I learned that knot in school (seamtress/teacher) but I still use the around your finger knot, which in my school was called “the bugger-knot”…not so flattering, haha.

  30. sewsable says:

    I didn’t know that one, will have to try it out though; doing a lot more handsewing now.

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  33. Alison says:

    Not new to me because I’ve been watching a friend do it for 4 years but kept forgetting to ask. And the. She moved away. I’ll try tomorrow and let you know if I manage the magic.

  34. Katie M says:

    I am definitely trying this method. I’ve always used the wet finger roll, but the knots can be chunky and messy. They can also be dirty looking if my hands aren’t completely clean!

    After seeing Michelle’s comment above, I did some googling and found this video.

    How to Stop Your Hand Sewing Needle Unthreading

    I’ve seen a similar method used when sewing leather (and using quite thick thread), but had no idea you could do it with regular hand-sewing thread. Will have to try this method out soon.

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