Coral stitch is one of the most versatile and widely used members of the knot family of embroidery stitches. Also known as German Knot or Snail Trail, coral stitch resembles a series of small knots connected by a continuous thread.
It is commonly used as an outline stitch and is particualry useful for stitching flower stems and leaves.
Coral Stitch Step-By-Step
Coral stitch is best worked from right to left or top to bottom. Start by drawing a straight or curved line. Bring the needle and thread up at the start of the line (point A). Move the needle over to the left side of the line and insert it next to the line (point B). The amount of space between A and B will be the length between each knot. It’s up to you how far apart you want to space the knots, but around a 1/4-inch is a good place to start.
Without pulling the thread all the way through, bring the needle back out on the opposite side of the line (point C).
Next, take the working thread and wrap it around the end of the needle in a counter clockwise direction.
Pull the needle all the way through and you will have made the first small knot.
Continue stitching in this fashion, doing your best to keep the space between knots as even as possible. Remember, hand embroidery doesn’t need to be perfect. If the spacing varies a bit between knots, it will still look nice! When you reach the end of your desired stitch length, finish it off by bringing the needle down directly below the last knot.
Coral Stitch Variations
The most common coral stitch variation is to shorten the length between knots. The result is a compact line of knots that resembles a string of pearls. I love this look for stitching thin leaves or flower stems.
Coral vs Scroll Stitch
These two stitches are sometimes confused or incorrectly labeled as the same stitch. While they are both knot stitches worked on a line, the needle is wrapped differently, resulting in very different finished stitches. The key difference is that scroll stitch creates a curvy line reminiscent of waves, while coral stitch creates a straight line filled with knots. Want to learn scroll stitch? I have a tutorial for that!
Free Practice Pattern
Want to practice your coral stitch? This FREE pattern featuring a trio of spring flowers uses coral stitch to make a dainty, textured stem for the hyacinth flower. You can download the PDF pattern HERE, or visit the Free Spring Flowers Post for complete stitching instructions.