How to: embroider on hand knits


Embroidering knitted items is a great way to make for finished garment even more special. There are many knitting techniques to create texture and apply colours but sometimes it’s easier to apply stitches after the knitting process. Here are some tips for embroidering your hand knits and a quick photo tutorial of three easy stitches to get you  started.


It’s best to use the materials you’ve knit with for your embroidery. Using yarn to embroider on to yarn is the simplest way to make sure it will behave the same way, and save you a lot of headaches.

Use a blunt needle. Just like with weaving in your knitted ends, it helps to use a needle with a blunt tip.

Use short threads. Knitting yarn is a lot more prone to breaking if torn through over and over again. Keep your thread as short as 30cm.


There are embroidery stitches that work really well with knitting and some that are much more challenging. Here are three stitches to try that are ideal for beginners.

Duplicate stitch has a long tradition in embroidery on knitting. It mimics the appearance of the knit stitch and is often used.

Chain stitch is a loop stitch and is similar to crochet. It’s often used to create flower petals, i.e. lazy daisies.

The woven wheel makes a beautiful rose pattern. It’s easy to do and doesn’t pull the fabric.

Anne of PUMORA has created a short tutorial for each of these stitches. Follow her step-by-step photos, or view these short videos to see how simple embroidering onto knitted garments is.

1♥  Duplicate stitch

Finished embroidered heart

2♥  Chain stitch

Finished lazy daisy

3♥  Woven wheel

Finished woven wheel


To start your embroidery piece, make sure to leave a bit of the thread’s end hanging to weave in later. After you have finished your pattern, sew in the thread’s ends twice by going back and forth, or weave in the ends as you would with your lose ends of a knitted piece.

Don’t pull the stitches too tight. Leave your stitches quite loose to make sure they will not gather the knitted stitches. Stretch the knitting a little bit to see if the embroidery makes it too stiff for your use.

Anne Mende is an embroidery and knitting enthusiast. Originating in Berlin, she now lives in the rural North-East of Germany. On her website PUMORA you can find much more resources on how to embroidery including the lexicon of embroidery stitches with 206 step-by-step tutorials.