Beginning The Knot Garden

An oblique view of a canvas painted to resemble the pattern of beds in a parterre or knot garden

A “Site Visit” recently gave me the chance to look at my wools in the room for which the cushion is destined, and to talk to my cousin about the whole thing. It also provided a reminder of the truism that, no matter how extensive the stash, for any particular project, the stash will prove inadequate!

I had my experimental panel with me, and one of the things my cousin said was that she was not particularly taken with the effect of the tent stitches or straight stitches infilling between the pattern stitches. I agreed that it looked a bit clunky and congested, so when I got home again, I got out my acrylic paints and painted the canvas, just the area of the borders.

What I have done is to use three different shades of brown, solo and in mixtures. And I’ve painted both sides of the canvas, to make the coverage a bit more thorough. This way, I’m not trying to produce an absolutely flat colour, as though the canvas were dyed or coloured from the start.

Close up of a small section of the border of one of the beds.

You can also see in this picture that the “pathways” spill out into the surrounding canvas. I was intending the stitching to do so as well, but there’s an old saying in military circles, that “No plan survives contact with the enemy”. I would adapt that for stitchers – I don’t regard the canvas as my enemy, but no plan survives the first stitching session unchanged!

I started to work the Parisian Stitch border around the beds, using two different colours of crewel wool in the needle, and soon decided that although I want to have a couple of rows of tent stitch around the outside, to help with adding the back to the cushion, I also want the pattern area properly delimited. So the line between the beds will be filled with a line of Parisian stitch as well.


  1. That’s a nice Canvas stitch and I have now added it to my ‘stitches-to-do’ list.

  2. Sue Jones says:

    The brown sections look very natural. With a dark backing behind the panel, you can now afford a few un-stitched threads showing, without any obvious blank bits.

  3. Linda says:

    I like the green stitching.

  4. Looking very promising with those beds clearly defined. I hope the acrylic doesn’t leave the canvas a bit “scratchy”. I assume you have diluted it so it sinks into the thread a bit rather than sitting on the surface. It makes it feel as though you’ve taken a sudden leap forward. That deep green is delightfully vibrant against the brown

  5. Amo says:

    Always worth colouring the canvas if you can. Saves a lot of twitchyness about white showing through. 😁

  6. Alex Hall says:

    The stash comment made me giggle – so true!!

  7. Carolyn Foley says:

    Oh my stash is extensive and NEVER has the right colour I want at that moment of time. Glad to know I am not alone.