There are lots of different ways to embellish your knitting projects even after the knitting is done if you decide they need a little extra something.
Duplicate stitch is one really common way to add more color to a knitting project, but another great idea is to use embroidery stitches on the surface of your knitting, such as French knots.
French knots are a fun and easy way to add a little zing to your knitting, whether you want to use them as the center of embroidered or knit flowers, as the eyes for a doll or just as random decoration on a knitting project.
They're really quick and easy to make and add both texture and color to your knitting.
How to Make a French Knot
To make a French knot, you'll need a length of yarn, any color you like, and a yarn needle.
Thread the needle, tie a knot at the end of the yarn and bring the needle up through the knitting, from back to front, in the place where you want the knot to be.
Wrap the yarn around the needle at least once, but as many as five or six times. The more times you wrap the yarn, the bigger your knot will be. I usually go with three wraps on a knitting project like my knit birthday cake, but it depends on the weight of yarn you are using and the look you are going for.
Place the needle back through the knit fabric, close to where you came up, but not exactly the same place.
Slowly pull the needle through. You may need to hold the knot as the eye of the needle goes through the fabric so it doesn't pull to the back.
Continue in this manner until you have all the French knots you want.
If you're working on a knitting project where the back is not going to be visible, you can work multiple French knots in different locations with the same strand of yarn, just make sure you leave some slack in the yarn between the stitches so it doesn't bunch up your knitting.
If you'd like to see a more detailed diagram of how a French knot works, check out the stitch tutorial at About Embroidery. And if you're one of those people who doesn't like making French knots, check out the alternatives at About Cross Stitch.
Using French Knots on Knitting Projects
As I mentioned above, French knots are a great choice for making eyes on a project that's going to a baby, or to give a homespun look. They can be used as the center of flowers, whether those flowers are knit into the work or added with lazy daisy stitch.
You can also use a bunch of French knots together to make a design.
The French Knot Potholder pattern from Pierrot uses rows of French knots as a design element.
Other ideas might include making French knot sheep (this is not shown on knitting but it would be perfect for it, right?). You can even do totally ridiculous but gorgeous things like French knot bursts. Both of these projects are from Just Crafty Enough.
Once you get going you might get kind of obsessed and want to do a really detailed project like that. And wouldn't it look amazing on a sweater?