Embroidering Knitting: Tips and Techniques

Embroidering Knitting: Tips and Techniques

Embroidering knitting is a great way to add unique and personal touches to your hand-knit projects. Whether you want to embellish a plain sweater with colorful flowers or create intricate patterns on a hat or scarf, embroidery can take your knitting to the next level. If you’re new to embroidery or knitting, don’t worry – this step-by-step guide will walk you through the process and help you create stunning designs.

First, gather your materials. You’ll need a set of knitting needles, a tapestry needle, embroidery thread in your desired colors, and a piece of graph paper. Choose a knitting project that you’d like to embroider on – a plain stockinette stitch sweater or a simple hat are good options for beginners. Make sure your knitting is finished and blocked before starting the embroidery process.

Next, plan your design. Use the graph paper to sketch out your embroidery pattern. Simplify your design by breaking it down into basic shapes, such as circles, squares, or triangles. This will make it easier to transfer your design onto the knitted fabric. You can also find embroidery patterns online or in craft books to use as inspiration.

Once you have your design sketched out, it’s time to transfer it onto the knitting. Start by threading your tapestry needle with embroidery thread, and bring the needle up from the back of the knitting at the starting point of your design. Follow your sketched pattern, using small, even stitches to outline the shapes. If you’re filling in a shape, use long, straight stitches to cover the area evenly. As you embroider, make sure to weave in the ends of your thread as you go to keep your work neat and tidy.

Choosing the Right Knitting Project

Embroidering on knitting can add a beautiful and personalized touch to your knitted items. Before you start, it’s important to choose the right knitting project that will work well with embroidery. Here are some tips to help you select the perfect project:

  • Plain and simple: Look for knitting projects with a plain and simple stitch pattern. This will provide a blank canvas for your embroidery and make it easier to showcase your designs.
  • Solid color: Choose knitting projects with a solid color yarn. Embroidery tends to stand out more on a solid background.
  • Smooth texture: Opt for knitting projects with a smooth texture. Embroidery can be tricky on textured or fuzzy yarns, so a smooth yarn will make the process smoother.
  • Suitable size: Consider the size of your knitting project. Smaller items like hats, mittens, or socks are ideal for beginner embroiderers as they require less time and effort.

Once you’ve chosen the right knitting project, you can start planning your embroidery designs. Remember to practice different stitches and techniques on a spare piece of knitted fabric before attempting your final project. With time and practice, you’ll be able to create beautiful embroidered knitting items that showcase your creativity and skill.

Selecting the Right Embroidery Design

When it comes to embroidering knitting, selecting the right embroidery design can make all the difference in the final result. The design you choose should complement the knitting and enhance its overall look. Here are some tips to help you select the perfect embroidery design for your knitting project:

  • Consider the Knitting Pattern: Look at the overall design and pattern of the knitting project. Consider the colors, shapes, and textures used in the knitting, and try to find an embroidery design that complements these elements. For example, if you are knitting a sweater with a floral pattern, you may want to choose an embroidery design that features flowers or leaves.
  • Think About Size and Placement: Consider the size of the embroidery design and where you want to place it on the knitted item. If you are embroidering a small design, like a single flower, you may choose to place it on the cuff of a sleeve or the corner of a scarf. If you have a larger design, like a landscape scene, you may want to place it on the back of a sweater or the front of a blanket.
  • Choose a Design that Matches the Style: Consider the overall style and mood of the knitting project. If you are knitting a traditional Fair Isle sweater, you may want to choose an embroidery design that reflects this classic style. If you are knitting a modern, minimalist scarf, you may want to choose a simple, geometric embroidery design.
  • Experiment with Different Designs: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different embroidery designs to find the one that works best for your knitting project. Try sketching the designs on paper or using embroidery design software to visualize how they will look on the knitted item. You can also try stitching a small sample to see how the design looks and how it affects the drape and feel of the knitting.

Remember, the embroidery design you choose should enhance the knitting and add a personalized touch to your project. Take your time to find the perfect design, and enjoy the process of embellishing your knitting with embroidery.

Gathering the Necessary Materials

Before you begin embroidering on your knitting project, it is important to gather all the necessary materials. Here is a list of items you will need:

  • Knitting project: Choose a completed or in-progress knitting project to embroider on. This can be a hat, scarf, sweater, or any other knitted item.
  • Embroidery floss: Select colors of embroidery floss that will complement your knitting project. Choose high-quality floss that is smooth and easy to work with.
  • Embroidery needles: Use embroidery needles with sharp points and large eyes. The size of the needle will depend on the thickness of your knitting yarn.
  • Embroidery hoop: An embroidery hoop will help keep your knitting project taut and prevent it from stretching while you embroider. Choose a hoop that is slightly smaller than your knitting project.
  • Scissors: Have a pair of sharp embroidery scissors on hand to trim your embroidery floss.
  • Pencil or fabric marker: Use a pencil or fabric marker to lightly sketch or mark your embroidery design on your knitting project before stitching.
  • Thimble: If you find it difficult to push the embroidery needle through the knitting fabric, wearing a thimble can protect your finger and make it easier to stitch.
  • Optional materials: Depending on your embroidery design, you may also need additional materials such as beads, sequins, or fabric glue.

Once you have gathered all these materials, you are ready to start embroidering on your knitting project. The next step will be preparing your embroidery floss and getting your design ready.

Preparing the Knitting for Embroidery

Embroidering on knitting can add a beautiful and unique touch to your projects. Before you start embroidering, it’s important to prepare your knitting properly to ensure the best results. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Block your knitting: Blocking your knitting helps to even out the stitches and prepare the fabric for embroidery. Depending on the fiber content, you can wet block or steam block your knitting. Follow the blocking instructions for your specific yarn to achieve the best results.
  2. Choose the embroidery design: Select the embroidery design or motif you want to stitch onto your knitting. Consider the size and complexity of the design, as well as how it will complement the knitting pattern. Simple motifs with bold lines tend to work well on knitted fabric.
  3. Mark the design: Use a light-colored removable marker or tailor’s chalk to mark the design onto your knitting. Start by tracing the main outlines of the design, and then mark any additional details or color changes. Make sure the markings are light and can be easily removed later.
  4. Prepare your embroidery thread: Choose an appropriate embroidery thread for your design. Knitting with stranded embroidery thread can be challenging, so you may want to use a smooth, single-ply embroidery thread for better results. Separate the strands if necessary and thread your needle.
  5. Create a stable work surface: To make your embroidery process easier, use a stabilizer behind the area you’ll be embroidering. You can use a range of materials as stabilizers, such as tear-away stabilizer, muslin fabric, or even a piece of cardboard or foam board. This will prevent the stitches from pulling the knitting out of shape and give you more control over your embroidery stitches.

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to successfully embroidering your knitting. Remember to take your time, be patient, and enjoy the process of adding beautiful embellishments to your knitted creations!

Planning the Placement of Embroidery

When it comes to embroidering knitting, planning the placement of your embroidery is an important step to ensure a professional and polished finished project. Here are some tips to help you plan the placement of your embroidery:

  1. Consider the design: Take a look at the embroidery design you will be working with and determine the best placement based on the size and shape of the design. You may want to center the design on the front or back of your knitting, or you may prefer to place it off-centered for a more unique look.
  2. Think about the knitting pattern: Consider the stitch pattern you used in your knitting and how it will interact with the embroidery. For example, if you have a textured stitch pattern, you may want to avoid placing embroidery in areas with a lot of texture to ensure the design stands out.
  3. Consider the garment or accessory: Think about the type of item you are embroidering, whether it’s a sweater, hat, or scarf. Different items may have different ideal placement areas. For example, on a sweater, you may want to focus on the front, while on a hat, you may want to embroider a small design on the brim.
  4. Take measurements: Use a measuring tape or ruler to determine the size and placement of your embroidery. This will help you ensure that the design is centered and proportionate to the knitting. You may want to mark the placement with removable stitch markers or pins.
  5. Consider the stretch: Keep in mind that knitted fabric has stretch, so the embroidery may look different when the fabric is stretched. If you are embroidering on a garment that will be worn, consider how the embroidery will look when the fabric is stretched while being worn.

By taking the time to plan the placement of your embroidery, you can ensure that the finished project looks professional and visually appealing. Remember to experiment and have fun with different placements until you find the perfect spot for your embroidery!

Starting the Embroidery

Embroidering on knitting can add beautiful and unique designs to your finished project. Whether you want to embellish a sweater, hat, or scarf, embroidery can bring a personal touch to your knitting creations. Follow these steps to get started with embroidery on knitting.

  1. Choose your yarn and needle: Select a yarn that complements your knitting project and a needle that is appropriate for the thickness of your yarn. A smaller needle can work well for fine details, while a larger needle may be better for more substantial embroidery.
  2. Create a plan: Before you start embroidering, it can be helpful to sketch out your design on paper or use a knit chart if you want to replicate a specific pattern. This will give you an idea of where you want to place your embroidery and help you visualize the final result.
  3. Secure your knitting: To make the embroidery process easier, secure your knitting by either blocking it or by using pins or a hoop to keep the fabric taut. This will prevent the fabric from moving or stretching while you work.
  4. Thread your needle: Cut a length of yarn that is long enough for your embroidery design, typically around 12-18 inches. Thread one end through the eye of your needle and tie a knot at the other end to prevent the yarn from slipping off the needle.
  5. Start with simple stitches: If you’re new to embroidery, begin with basic stitches such as the backstitch, running stitch, or satin stitch. These stitches are versatile and can be used to create various designs and patterns on your knitting.
  6. Practice on a swatch: Before you start embroidering on your actual project, it’s a good idea to practice your stitches and techniques on a swatch or a scrap piece of knitting. This will allow you to experiment with different stitch combinations and get comfortable with the process.
  7. Begin embroidering: Once you’re ready, start embroidering your design on your knitting. Keep in mind the placement of your stitches and how they will interact with the structure of the knitting. Be patient and take your time, as embroidery requires attention to detail.
  8. Finish and secure your stitches: When you have completed your embroidery, make sure to secure your stitches by weaving the yarn ends into the back of your knitting. This will help prevent the embroidery from unraveling or coming loose.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to start embroidering your knitting and create unique and eye-catching designs. Enjoy the process and let your creativity shine!

Adding Color and Texture with Different Stitches

Embroidering knitting allows you to add color and texture to your projects, bringing them to life and creating unique designs. There are several different stitches you can use to achieve different effects, and in this section, we will explore some of the most commonly used ones.

1. Backstitch

The backstitch is a versatile stitch that is great for outlining or adding details to your knitting. To work a backstitch, bring the needle up from the back of the fabric at your starting point, then insert it back into the fabric a short distance away. Bring the needle up again a short distance from the first stitch, then insert it back into the fabric at the end of the previous stitch. Repeat this process to create a continuous line, adjusting the length of your stitches as desired.

2. French Knot

The French knot is a decorative stitch that adds texture and dimension to your embroidery. To create a French knot, bring the threaded needle up through the fabric at the desired location. Hold the thread taut with your non-dominant hand, then wrap it twice around the needle. Insert the needle back into the fabric close to the starting point and pull it through, while holding the wraps in place with your non-dominant hand. Gently tug the thread to create a knot, then secure it with a small stitch on the back of the fabric.

3. Satin Stitch

The satin stitch is perfect for filling in larger areas with a smooth, polished look. To work a satin stitch, bring the needle up through the fabric at one edge of the area you want to fill, then insert it back into the fabric at the opposite edge. Repeat this process, creating parallel stitches close together until the entire area is filled. Make sure to keep your stitches neat and evenly spaced for a professional finish.

4. Chain Stitch

The chain stitch is a decorative stitch that creates a series of linked loops, perfect for creating borders or adding texture to your embroidery. To work a chain stitch, bring the needle up from the back of the fabric at your starting point and insert it back into the fabric a short distance away. Before pulling the needle all the way through, wrap the thread around the needle once. Then, pull the needle through the fabric, creating a loop. Repeat this process, inserting the needle back into the fabric at the end of the previous loop, to create a chain of loops.

5. Seed Stitch

The seed stitch is a simple but effective stitch that creates a textured surface resembling scattered seeds. To work a seed stitch, bring the needle up through the fabric at your starting point, then insert it back into the fabric a short distance away. Bring the needle up again a short distance from the first stitch, then insert it back into the fabric close to the starting point. Alternate the placement of your stitches, creating a random pattern of short stitches and evenly spaced gaps.

These are just a few of the many stitches you can use to enhance your knitting with embroidery. Experiment with different combinations and techniques to create your own unique designs that will truly make your knitting stand out.

Finishing Touches and Care Instructions

Once you have finished embroidering your knitting project, there are a few finishing touches that you can add to enhance the overall look and ensure its longevity. Additionally, proper care instructions are important to maintain the embroidered design and the knitted piece as a whole.


Before adding any finishing touches, it is recommended to block your knitted piece. Blocking involves gently stretching and shaping the knitted fabric to even out the stitches and give the piece its final shape. This process can be done by wetting the fabric, laying it flat on a towel, and using pins to hold it in place until it dries. Blocking helps to open up the stitches and make the embroidery work look more polished.

Weaving in Ends

After blocking, make sure to weave in any loose ends of thread or yarn that are left from your embroidery work. This is done by threading the tail of the thread or yarn onto a needle and then weaving it in and out of the stitches on the wrong side of the fabric. This helps to secure the ends and prevent them from unraveling.

Adding Backing Fabric

If you want to add more stability to your embroidered knitting, you can choose to add a backing fabric. This can be done by cutting a piece of fabric slightly larger than your knitted piece and sewing it onto the wrong side of the fabric. The backing fabric helps to protect the embroidered stitches and adds strength to the knitted piece.

Care Instructions

To ensure the longevity of your embroidered knitting, it is important to follow proper care instructions. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Hand wash your knitted piece gently in lukewarm water using a mild soap or detergent.
  • Avoid twisting or wringing the fabric.
  • Do not bleach or use harsh chemicals on the embroidered area.
  • After washing, reshape the knitted piece and lay it flat on a towel to dry.
  • Avoid hanging the embroidery to dry, as this can stretch out the stitches.
  • If necessary, iron the knitted piece on a low heat setting, avoiding the embroidered area.
  • Store your embroidered knitting in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture and pests from damaging the fabric.

By following these finishing touches and care instructions, you can ensure that your embroidered knitting maintains its beauty and durability for years to come.


What supplies do I need to embroider knitting?

To embroider knitting, you will need a few supplies including embroidery floss, embroidery needles, a hoop or frame, and a pair of scissors. You may also want to have a fabric marker or pencil to mark your design on the knitting.

How do I choose a design for embroidery on knitting?

When choosing a design for embroidery on knitting, it is best to start with simple and small designs. Look for designs that have clean lines and minimal detail, as they will be easier to sew onto the knitting fabric. You can also experiment with geometric shapes or abstract designs.

What type of stitch should I use for embroidery on knitting?

There are several types of stitches you can use for embroidery on knitting, but the most common stitch is the backstitch. The backstitch creates a solid line and is easy to work with. You can also experiment with other stitches like the satin stitch or the chain stitch to add texture and dimension to your embroidery.

Should I wash my knitting before embroidering?

It is recommended to wash your knitting before embroidering, especially if it is a finished project. Washing will help remove any dirt or oils from the knitting and ensure that the embroidery adheres properly. Be sure to follow the washing instructions for your specific type of knitting yarn.

How can I prevent the embroidery thread from snagging on the knitting?

To prevent the embroidery thread from snagging on the knitting, you can try using a hoop or frame to hold the knitting taut while you embroider. This will help keep the fabric smooth and prevent any loose threads from getting caught. You can also use a smaller needle with a sharp point to minimize any potential snags.

Should I use a special type of thread for embroidery on knitting?

When embroidering on knitting, it is best to use a thread that is lightweight and has good tensile strength. Embroidery floss or cotton thread are popular choices as they are durable and come in a wide range of colors. Make sure to choose a thread that complements the color and texture of your knitting fabric.


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