The Palestrina stitch is a lovely double knotted stitch, that comes to us from its namesake city east of Rome, Italy. Palestrina is named after the 16th Century Renaissance Composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.
It is also known as the Double Knot, Old English Knot, Smyrna stitch, Tied Coral stitch and the Twilling stitch.
Know that when you use this stitch you are stepping back into time and tradition. Legend attributes this charming and cultured city to the mythical Greek King of Ithaca and hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey.
The Palestrina can be used to form running lines, curved designs, border and fillers. It is formed by stitching rows of joined knots to create an impressive 3-dimensional design. It is frequently used in quilting as it works well on thicker fabrics.
Starting out, you may want to make horizontal lines on the fabric as is shown in the video below. It is important to keep the width even or the knots will look sloppy; the lines will help you with this.
Watch the videos and follow these directions to perfect your Palestrina stitch.
- The knots are usually formed working on the fabric from top to bottom but if you are more comfortable, stitch left to right.
- Come up from the backside of your fabric at the point that will form the right side of your knots.
- Re-enter your fabric just below the entry point and take a weave stitch across to the point that will form the left side of your knots. A small bar will be created.
- Return to the right side of the bar and slide your needle under the bar, forming the first looped knot.
- Holding your working thread to the left, go under the bar, again from right to left, to form the second looped knot. Your needle should come out over the working thread - not under it.
- Start the next knot by taking another right to left weave stitch, which will form a second bar. Be sure that your working thread is to the top of your knot as it weaves under the fabric.
- Repeat creating your bar and two loops and continue working your knots as your design requires.
- Don't overly tighten the bars or the loops or you will lose the 3-D effect.
- Do try to tighten the bars and loops in a consistent manner.
- Work the bars close together for a dense design or further apart for a trailing effect.
- The Palestrina stitch works well with yarn and ribbon for even more 3-D texture.