Step by Step: How to Use a Waste Knot to Start a Stitch

  • 01 of 06

    Start a Stitch with a Waste Knot

    Start a Stitch with a Waste Knot
    Start a Stitch with a Waste Knot. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Starting a waste knot is a great way to learn about starting a cross stitch. It is an excellent way for the beginner to get a feel for a project. Waste knots are used by both beginner and advanced cross stitchers. In this tutorial you will see how to make a waste knot and the benefits of learning the technique. Tie a knot in the end of the floss. Thread the needle and draw the floss through the top of the fabric near the edge. Do not pull too hard or the knot will pull through the fabric,...MORE especially if you draw the floss through a hole in Aida fabric. Bring the floss up through the back of the fabric and begin stitching. In this image, a waste knot is used to start a back stitch. Waste knots are an easy way to start a project. 

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  • 02 of 06

    Complete Several Stitches

    Complete Several Stitches
    Complete Several Stitches. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    When using a waste knot, after you have set the knot in place, complete several stitches. In the image above, a waste knot is used and several half stitches are stitched. You can see that the knot is still there after you had made the stitches. This keeps your place and the floss tight. Don't get too stressed about it staying there for your entire project. It is just a good place holder right now. Try this knot several times with several types of floss and tension. It will help you figure...MORE out what exactly will work for you. 

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  • 03 of 06

    Clip the Waste Knot

    Clip the Waste Knot
    Clip the Waste Knot. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    After several stitches are in place, clip the waste knot. Don't be afraid! You can do it and you won't ruin your stitches that you have started. Don't clip it too close! It is okay to get rid of the knot. Turn the fabric to the back.The waste knot acts as an anchor for your other stitches and once you have those stitches in place you can get rid of the waste knot...hence the name, WASTE knot. 

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  • 04 of 06

    Secure the Floss and Continue Stitching

    Secure the Floss
    Secure the Floss. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    On the back of the fabric, secure the floss as shown in this image from How to Stitch a Cross Stitch Colorblock. Use an extra needle, or temporarily unthread your needle and floss to do this. For beginners, you may want to try this technique several times until you get it down and it looks neat.  It might be a good idea to have a sample fabric with this technique before trying it on an actual project. You can also try several sample stitches while learning to do this technique. You can create as...MORE sample stitch sampler for stitches and waste knots. Frame it to remind yourself how far you have gone in the cross stitch world. 

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  • 05 of 06

    Use the Same Method for Starting Other Stitches

    Start a Back Stitch with a Waste Knot
    Start a Back Stitch with a Waste Knot. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    The same method may be used for starting French Knots, and other counted thread stitches. Once you have this knot down you can try several different styles of knots. This is a great way to add some flare to your cross stitch piece. French knots add depth and texture to any projects. Once you have waste knots down, French knots will be no problem at all. 

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  • 06 of 06

    Final Words

     Once you have the waste knot down, you can do so much with it.  This technique is the basis for other decorative knots. While some cross stitchers do not want to knot the back of their projects, it is an excellent way for a beginner to start. It all boils down to personal preference. Some people do not care about the back of the project as it is never shown but others want it as clean as the front. It is totally up to you. Create your own sampler to practice this technique then move up to other...MORE types of knots to decorate your cross stitch with. You can practice this type of knot with other types of stitches, flosses and fabrics. It is an easy way to start and end a project.