The Canvaswork Knot Garden

The Canvaswork Knot Garden

The Canvaswork Knot Garden

This piece arose from my fascination with the knot gardens and parterres of early formal garden design.

It began with the octagonal Rhodes Stitch at the centre.  I wanted to use the stitch, but not as part of a repeating pattern. In fact it proved much more difficult to get right than I was prepared for. I now can’t remember how many times I unpicked that wretched octagon!

From that central point a variety of little paths and beds radiate out, using slightly subdued colours again inspired in particular by the colours of herbs. The variegated threads are all from Stef Francis, pearl and soft cottons, and a chainette (in the corners). The stitches include Hungarian Stitch, cashmere stitch, and upright cross stitch (which for some reason turns up a lot in my canvaswork).

I realised that the interesting stitches I was using weren’t producing complete coverage of the canvas, but I decided not to worry about that, as I felt it might lead to something interesting.

As you can tell, what it has not yet lead to is a sensible finishing decision. I cannot for the life of me decide what to do with this. It would be a pity to put it under glass, as that wonderful raised boss of the octagon would lose all of its impact. At the same time, because the coverage is so varied, and because the octagon is such a vulnerable point, turning it into a cushion seems positively half-witted.

Take heed, and design your pieces with their end-use in mind!


  1. Lady Fi says:

    What an amazing maze of stitches and colours!

  2. karen says:

    do what i would do. wrap it in acid free tissue, put it in a drawer and look at it now and then just to appreciate its loveliness.

  3. Action Ma'am says:

    How about a gravel mulch (little white/grey/beige beads) to stop the weeds growing through the gaps between the herbs?

  4. That is an excellent idea. I am also fascinated by the knot gardens and thinking about making one at some point.

    I love what you have done with this.

    Pierrette =^..^=

  5. Janice says:

    Funny – I was just about to say Karen would wrap it carefully, put it in a drawer and just look at it from time to time… And then I clicked to leave my comment and she has already said it! I love knot gardens too, and that whole Elizabethan feeling they have about them. But I think I like embroideries of knot gardens even more than the gardens themselves!

  6. […] on from the Knot Garden, I decided to play a little more with the idea of using the canvas as a background, rather than […]