Palestrina stitch hand embroidery

Palestrina stitch

Palestrina stitch is a decorative surface embroidery stitch that creates a line of raised knots. These knots have a unique texture and appearance, making them an excellent choice for embellishing borders and constructing intricate patterns. 

This knotted linear stitch is formed by working a straight stitch and then adding two stitches over it to create a knot. Making the knot in two movements produces a significantly raised effect.

Other names of the stitch

This gorgeous hand embroidery stitch is called in many different ways. Tied coral stitch, Double knot stitch, Old English knot, Smyrna stitch, Twilling stitch, and even Purl stitch.

Palestrina stitch pink and purple front side
Palestrina stitch pink and purple rear view

Applications of the Palestrina stitch

This knotted hand embroidery stitch is exceptionally versatile:

  • Use it for outlines. This knotted stitch creates outstanding outlines. You can reach different visual effects by adjusting the gap between the knots.
  • Embroider letters. Lettering embroidered with Palestrina stitch will look impressive and have a very decorative effect. For a more solid line, work the knots close to each other.
  • This hand embroidery stitch can also be worked as a filling stitch. You can work the rows back and forth or continuously in the same direction. Besides that, You can offset the knots so that they fit between the knots on the previous row. 
  • Border designs with Palestrina stitch will look amazing. This stitch takes curves well, so you can create wavy lines and add other decorative stitches to create fascinating border designs.

Other hand embroidery stitches from the Palestrina stitch family

  • Sorbello stitch
  • Basque knot
  • Eastern stitch

Learn how to embroider Palestrina stitch

Follow the step-by-step tutorial with detailed photos below, and you will learn the Palestrina stitch in no time. If you are a visual learner, watch a video lesson in the tutorial or on the Practical Embroidery YouTube channel to learn this hand embroidery stitch faster.

Palestrina stitch pink and purple front side

How to embroider Palestrina stitch

Yield: 1 sampler
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty: Beginner

Step-by-step tutorial


  • Piece of fabric. Opt for linen or cotton blends.
  • Embroidery floss. For this sampler, I used Pearl cotton floss and six strands of DMC embroidery floss (#3837)


  • Hoop
  • Embroidery needle
  • Scissors or snips


  1. Mark the line on the fabric. Take the needle up at the starting point on the left. One stitch away from the starting point, make a small diagonal stitch from the top downwards. Pull the thread. Palestrina stitch step 1
  2. Throw your thread above the stitch and pass the needle under the stitch from top to bottom (do not pierce the fabric or the stitch). Pull the thread taut. Palestrina stitch step 2
  3. Pass the needle under the straight stitch from top to bottom, keeping your needle over the working thread. Pull the thread through the loop of the working thread and pull taut. Palestrina stitch step 3
  4. One stitch ahead, make a small diagonal stitch and repeat the passages to form a knot. Palestrina stitch step 4

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What’s next?

If you’re in the mood to explore more hand embroidery stitches, check out the Stitches and Techniques page for the list of other fantastic stitches available on my blog. From timeless classics to modern twists, a whole world of stitches is waiting for you to explore and master. So, grab your hoop and needle, and let’s stitch our way to creative bliss!

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Need More Guidance?

The top 10 hand embroidery stitches to learn is a free online course created for beginners.

White sashiko stitches on purple fabric