Celtic Knotwork Bookmark Design Inspiration and Story
These two Celtic Knotwork Bookmarks are the first two designs that I created for Casey's Curio. I have loved drawing Celtic knotwork since I was little, and I wanted to try stitching some of my drawings. One of these was this red, gold, and green Celtic knotwork that I used for a bookmark.
Drawing on graph paper is a lot different from using a computer software to create a cross stitch pattern. But after trying different cross stitch design software, and eventually settling on one to purchase, I was able learn the process and create my vision.
Follow the guide below to make your own bookmark using either pattern found in my Shop
Celtic Knotwork Bookmark Assembly
Finished piece with at least an 1 inch boarder
Backing cloth cut to same size as finished piece
Cardboard cut to the size of the finished piece without the boarder (just the stitched size) x2
Extra thread to create tassel and cord (use complementary colours)
Double sided tape or fabric glue (tape works better, since the glue warps the cardboard)
Large Tapestry needle
Pencil or dowel
Gift card or extra cardboard
Once you have finished your stitching, measure your finished piece and cut your backing piece and cardboard pieces.
For my Red and Gold Celtic Knotwork Bookmark, I used 14 count Aida fabric with about an inch boarder. This means my finished size for the stitched area was about 9 ¼ inches by 2 7/8 inches. This is the size to cut your two pieces of cardboard. With the 1 inch boarder that is needed for finishing, the size of the piece is 11 ½ inches by 5 inches. This is the size you should cut for your backing fabric.
Create your tassel and cord. This is much easier than I thought it would be when I created my bookmark. To make your cord, you will need at least three long pieces of thread or yarn. The length should be about 5x the length that you want to end up with, plus a few inches for waste. I made two cords. One for the top of the bookmark and one for the bottom with a tassel attached.
For my cords I used about 40 inches of thread, one of gold and two of green. Line up the three pieces and tie a knot at both ends. You then need to secure one end to something. Anything will work, a clamp on a table, a door handle, or a needle that you can firmly jam into something. Once you have one end secure, use a pencil or dowel to twist the cord from the other end. Place the pencil in-between the threads at the loose end and twist, while holding firmly and with the thread taut, until the thread starts to crimp. Then bring the two ends together by placing your finger in the middle and folding up. Spin the thread a few times before releasing your finger and allowing the thread to spin together and create the cord. Make sure not to let go of the two ends, and use your other hand to smooth out the cord. Tie the two ends in a knot to secure, and your cord is complete. If you need a visual aid, check out this informative video from National Quilters Circle.
Making a tassel is also very simple. You will need a gift card, credit card, or cardboard that is the length that you want your finished tassel to be, the thread or yarn of your choice, a tapestry needle (threaded with thread the same as the cord), and scissors. Wrap the thread around the card several times, I did around 25 times, the more you wrap the bigger the tassel. Then slide the scissors under the wrapped thread at the end of the card that you started wrapping from, and cut the thread into the tassel pieces.
Now that you have your tassel pieces you will secure them to the cord. Hold the pieces flat and lengthwise in the palm of your non dominate hand. Try to keep them even, and then separate them into two even portions in the middle. Run the twisted end of your cord through the hole you created and then through your fingers. The left half of the tassel should be under the cord and the right side should be over it with the cord's twisted end poking through your fingers and the back of your hand
Holding the tassel and cord in place, take your large tapestry needle with your dominate hand, and gently ease it through the first loop of the twisted end of your cord. Bring the needle up and over the first set of tassel threads, and down the middle to capture. Try to keep the threads secured in the middle, and ease the needle through the loop above the first one. Pull the thread tight around the portion, and then wrap it up and over the second half of threads. Again use the needle to ease through the first loop you used and pull tight to secure the other half of the threads. Remove your needle and tie two knots using the two ends in order to keep the tassel threads secure. Trim the ends of the thread to the same length as the tassels pieces. You can gently pull on the pieces to even them out, but you will be doing a final trim later, so don't be too worried about getting them perfect.
The last step is to create the 'neck' of the tassel. Thread your needle with at least a foot long length of the thread that you want to use to wrap the top of the tassel. I used a contrasting colour but it is up to you.. Smooth down your tassel pieces and hold the top of the tassel with your non-dominate hand between your thumb and forefinger. Take the end of your thread and hold it securely with your thumb where you want the 'neck' to end. Then tightly wrap up the tassel over the end of the thread. When you get to the top, use the needle and stab in the middle of the tassel and down through the 'neck'. Pull the thread tight, but do not tie it. Remove the needle and trim the ends and tassel to an even length. If you used embroidery floss, you may want to separate the stands for a fluffier tassel. Now your tassel is complete and attached to the cord. I used this video by Mimi Kezer to help figure out how to attach my tassel to my cord.
The next step is to iron your finished piece and your backing piece of fabric. Only use a low heat on the iron, but plenty of steam is useful. Fold over the edges of your finished piece so that you can only see the stitching and iron them flat. Do the same with your backing piece, making it the same size as your stitched piece.
Place one piece of cardboard under the folds of the stitched piece. You can use double sided tape or fabric glue to secure them together. Be warned, the fabric glue may warp the cardboard, I learned through experience. Do the same for the other cardboard piece and backing fabric.
I then used a few stitches to secure the cord on the top of the stitched piece creating a loop, and then the cord with the tassel at the bottom.
Now just use more tape or glue to put the back of the stitched piece to the back of the fabric piece, doing your best to keep them lined up and your bookmark is finished.
Please let me know if you have an questions or suggestions. I would love to see your finished bookmark, so send me pictures or tag me in your posts. The cross stitch patterns for the Celtic knotwork can be found here and here or here if you want to save on the pair in a bundle deal.
Until next time. Joyous stitching!