What is Candlewicking and How to Do It?

Want to know about Candlewicking? How to make those Colonial knots and candlewick embroidery designs? Don’t worry. In this blog, we will talk about Candlewicking. Without further ado, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of Candlewicking.


Candlewicking is a type of classic whitework embroidery. The technique used in Candlewicking has a distinct style that uses Colonial knot stitches.


Traditionally, Candlewicking is done with natural-colored cotton thread on muslin fabric. The stitches and materials usually describe how this embroidery method got started.


When it comes to the history of Candlewicking, it isn’t easy to find the exact date of where it all started. It is an American embroidery technique. In the early days of the United States, especially during the Westward Expansion, there weren’t many fine embroidery threads and also weren’t practical at that time.


However, it is believed that the cotton threads became the centre of attention for those who are willing to add a bit of charm to quilts and more.


Apart from the actual candlewick stitching, this embroidery style uses Colonial knots and seems like they have been made for this very purpose.


Colonial knots are sturdy and tighter than their French knot. They are used on items such as quilts which you will see quite often. According to some research, the Colonial knots use much less thread than French knots. It is always a big selling point when the supplies are scarce.

Materials Used for Candlewicking


When it comes to embroidery types, Candlewicking requires an embroidery needle and a hoop. Along with that, other accessories include embroidery scissors and pattern transfer tools. You can buy a candlewick embroidery thread. It is similar to true unwaxed wicks. However, this is not necessary.


Another option is to use a Perle cotton, regular stranded embroidery floss or sometimes sashiko thread. And for fabrics, you can use unbleached muslin which is traditional. You can also use linen for your work.


Candlewick embroidery is usually stitched with white or natural fabric or a white or natural thread as it is considered to be a whitework technique. But that doesn’t make it the ideal way to do this technique.


Try to play around with it like using different colors in your Candlewicking. You can do this either by using a whole rainbow or by matching the colors with your thread and fabric. It is a useful method and is fun and enjoyable.


Now let’s talk about how to make Colonial knots.


How To Make Colonial Knots


  • To make a Colonial knot, you need to begin by coming up through the fabric. Then, make a backward “C” with the working thread around the needle.


  • After that, bring the thread with which you are working and under the needle tip.


  • Now, push the needle in the fabric material, close to the area where the needle started.


  • Insert the needle in the fabric, close to where the stitch started. You can go back in the same hole, but for looser weave fabrics, this can cause the knot to pop through to the back.


  • Tighten the knot around the needle by pulling the working thread.


  • Form the know by bringing the needle and thread through the fabric while holding the working thread.


  • Make each Colonial knot the same way and keep all of them tight and consistent.

Embroidery Patterns in Candlewick


You will find a variety of options for candlewick to choose from that may include some vintage transfers and free designs. Most patterns have a traditional style. They often combine Colonial knots with back stitches, and in some cases with satin stitches. You also have a choice to use simple designs for standard embroidery, and instead of an outlining stitch, you can stitch the lines with a row of knots.


If you are willing to get started, you can download any free candlewick embroidery design or pattern. It is a cross between a flower and a mandala.


After downloading, print the design and measure it about five inches across. Use any transfer method that you like for marking the design on your fabric and place it in the hoop. Make the thread pieces as long as they keep your elbow to your fingertips. This will prevent tangling.


You can start with the waste knot and leave the ends to weave later. Or maybe, you can knot the thread end and start stitching. And you are left with a simple Colonial knot to stitch on every dot in the pattern.



This is all that you may need to know about Candlewicking. If you have any questions related to the topic or anything related to the embroidery, feel free to reach out to us at Migdigitizing. We will be to assist you. You can also contact us via our social media channels.


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