Category Archives: Celtic Knots Tutorial

FMCKQ, part four . . .

After days of writing and drawing Celtic knot paths, I could wait no longer to get to the sewing machine!!

I made a quick quilt sandwich, pinned it, and stitched it.

Three Celtic knots
Three Celtic knots

I started with the border, then I stitched the double-headed knot on the diagonal, and finally stitched a smaller knot in the lower corner.

The method works!!

Someone suggested I try it with a twin needle . . . I like the sound of that. I also wanted to try pinning with smaller safety pins, and position them differently.

Twin-needle knot
Twin-needle knot

Hey!!  I like this even better!! Let’s add a border:

Knotted bordered knot
Knotted bordered knot
Detail
Detail

How do you like this? Please leave a comment.

FMCKQ, part three . . .

So far, I’ve turned a figure eight chain into a Celtic knot, and I’ve enlarged the knot so the figure eight chain becomes a twisted Celtic knot border.

I’ve concentrated on the outside, the perimeter, of the knot.

3 x 3 border
3 x 3 border
4 x 4 border
4 x 4 border

Today, I’ll focus on the interior of the knot.

So far, all the knots have obstacles around the perimeter of the knot. Since there are no obstacles within the knot, there’s no reason the lines can’t go through the center of the knot.

3 x 3 solid Celtic knot
3 x 3 solid Celtic knot

This knot requires three separate strands.

4 x 4 solid Celtic knot
4 x 4 solid Celtic knot

This knot requires four separate strands.

Let’s throw in some obstacles.  Here’s an angled obstacle:

3 x 3 knot with angled obstacle
3 x 3 knot with angled obstacle

Here are some horizontal obstacles:

3 x 3 knot with horizontal obstacle
3 x 3 knot with horizontal obstacle
4 x 4 knot with two horizontal obstacles
4 x 4 knot with two horizontal obstacles

Since I want to use the knots as quilting designs, I can either use them as individual, standalone Celtic knots, or I can connect them.

Joined knots
Joined knots

So, what do you think of this? Please take a moment to leave a comment.

FMCKQ Intro, Part two . . .

In my last post, I introduced the figure eight chain, a line that weaves around obstacles in an endless loop.

Draw figure eight chain
Draw figure eight chain

When you pivot a figure eight chain around to join the beginning to the end, an amazing thing happens. What was a single line turns into two, and you get a woven Celtic knot border:

3 x 3 border
3 x 3 border

Increase the length of the knot with an additional pair of obstacles:

3 x 4 border
3 x 4 border

Increase the length of the knot with an additional pair of obstacles:

3 x 5 border
3 x 5 border

Start with a square Celtic knot border:

4 x 4 border
4 x 4 border

Increase the length of the knot with an additional pair of obstacles:

4 x 5 border
4 x 5 border

It’s important to maintain an even number of obstacles for the lines to go around. If you remove a single obstacle, you get something unexpected: The knot reverts to a single-line figure eight chain.

Minus an obstacle
Minus an obstacle

If you remove a second obstacle, the border returns to two lines (albeit lopsided):

Minus two obstacles makes it right
Minus two obstacles makes it right

Can you think of how to put this to use? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

An introduction to FMCKQ . . .

What is FMCKQ you ask?

FMCKQ stands for Free Motion Celtic Knot Quilting. Ever heard of it? I just made it up.

I am playing with some ideas; ideas always play nice. I invite you to join me. All you need is some paper and a pencil.

This post will lead you through a series of exercises designed to improve your eye-hand coordination and give you a feel for what’s coming next.

Practice!

My first attempts weren’t perfect. I expect my results will improve as I go.

Circles

At the heart of all Celtic knots lies a circle, an endless loop with neither beginning nor end. The first exercise concentrates on circles.

Draw a short line in the middle of a sheet of paper. You may trace around a circular object, if you wish, keeping the short line in the center.

Now, draw around the circle, attempting to end the line at the point you began. Do this as many times as you feel necessary.

Draw circle
Draw circle

Figure Eights

Draw two short vertical lines down the center of a sheet of paper. Space the lines apart evenly.

Now, draw figure eights around the two short lines, attempting to end the line at the point you began. Do this as many times as you feel necessary.

Draw figure eight
Draw figure eight

Figure Eight Chains

Draw three short vertical lines down the center of a sheet of paper. Space the lines apart evenly.

Now, draw figure eights around the three short lines, attempting to end the line at the point you began. Do this as many times as you feel necessary.

Draw figure eight chain
Draw figure eight chain

These chains can be as long as you want. Draw some longer chains.

Turning Corners

Figure eight chains have one drawback: they only travel in one direction. Imagine locking one of the links in place and allowing the rest of the chain to pivot.

Draw one short angled line near the upper left corner of a sheet of paper, with two short vertical lines beneath it, and two short horizontal lines across from it. Space the lines apart evenly.

Now, draw figure eights around the five short lines, attempting to end the line at the point you began. Do this as many times as you feel necessary.

Turn one corner
Turn one corner

Draw two short angled lines near the upper corners of a sheet of paper, with two short vertical lines beneath them, and one short horizontal line between them. Space the lines apart evenly.

Now, draw figure eights around the seven short lines, attempting to end the line at the point you began. Do this as many times as you feel necessary.

Turn two corners
Turn two corners

An interesting thing happens when you turn all four corners and join the two ends.

Draw four short angled lines near the four corners of a sheet of paper, with one short vertical line and one short horizontal line between them. Space the lines apart evenly.

Now, draw figure eights around the eight short lines, attempting to end the line at the point you began. Do this as many times as you feel necessary.

Turn four corners
Turn four corners

What happened? Did we lose something? Where’s the figure eights?

When you join the ends of a single-strand chain, the chain turns into a double-strand Celtic knot.

Draw a second line to complete the figure eights, attempting to end the line at the point you began. Do this as many times as you feel necessary.

Turn four corners, complete
Turn four corners, complete

Congratulations!!  You’ve just drawn your first Celtic knot with a minimum of fuss!!

What do you think about this method so far? Please leave a comment.

Freehand Free-form Celtic Knot, part one

Today, I’d like to show you how easy it is to create an original Celtic knot.

First, draw a closed loop, where the line crosses itself several times:

Simple closed loopNext, draw another line parallel to the first, keeping the distance even throughout:

Parallel closed loopsNow, notice where the two lines cross each other?

There’s a simple rule with Celtic knots: When the path of the knot crosses OVER another path, that path must cross UNDER the next path it encounters.

Now, trace the path of the knot, erasing lines as needed. (Remember, “Over, then Under, then Over, then Under, then . . .”)

Freeform Celtic knotWhat do you think of that?

What would you DO with that?

(Stay tuned . . .)