Turkey Work

I learned a new embroidery stitch called Turkey Work, otherwise know as ghiordes knot. This stitch creates a plush pile on the surface of the fabric. The reason I decided to try this stitch is because I have a set of towels embroidered by my grandmother many years ago.


The towels are getting rather dingy and worn looking but the stitch she used had me intrigued. It looked almost like a chenille design but many washings have probably made it look that way. After much searching online, I finally decided Turkey Work was the stitch she used.


I used an inexpensive white towel to try to replicate one of her designs using cotton yarn I had on hand. I think if I had been able to use light and dark shades of yarn like she did it would have looked better. I just wanted to see if the stitch would work! I am not sure if it was the quality of the towel, the thickness of the yarn used, or the size of my needle, but when you look closely, you can see that some lines of terrycloth are missing around my stitching. Several times a thread from the towel would become tangled in the yarn as I pulled the needle through. This picture is after I took the embroidery hoop off the towel before washing.


After washing the strands of cut yarn were not quite so wild. I also had to do a little more trimming of longer strands after washing.


The way the stitch is made creates its own knot so the cut strands of yarn stay in place. If you want to learn how to make this stitch, follow the instructions on this video.


Turkey Work — 1 Comment

  1. Jan,

    I like the look you wound up with. I know my Grandmother did a’base/fill stitch and then the turkey work..do not know if this would help or how to find a tutorial that does it this way.