More years ago than I care to remember, when I was in what used to be called 4th Year Junior with Mr Pitson and Mrs Twyman, we 'did' the Victorians. Aside from studying the pages of our fab Unstead history book...
... we were each allowed to choose our own Victorian-related project. I became completely absorbed in embroidering a sampler of sorts, using my Mum's old chocolate box full of threads and a small blue Anchor booklet of stitches.
I know I managed to master chain stitch, as I used it for my whole name (all 23 letters of it) in a rainbow of colours . I also used stem and satin stitch, though I remember lots of unsatisfied unpickings with these. But the stitch that was a yearned-for mystery to me was the French Knot. I would read the instructions and follow the diagrams, but with every attempt I would watch my 'knot' transform itself from the nubbly bobble it was meant to be into a plain and simple running stitch!
And so it continued for year upon year. In the end I learnt to do something that looked quite a lot like a French Knot. But I knew it wasn't the real thing, looking a bit too
sausage-like, not a perfect rosy circle.
Finally, just before Christmas, I decided to call upon the magic of the internet in a last ditch attempt to learn where I was going wrong. And through the wonder that is Google, I stumbled upon the brilliant 'Stitch School', with an oh-so perfect posy of French Knotted flowers as its logo.
I followed the photographic instructions - you can find them here.
And lo and behold! It worked!
Rosy roses at last!