Saturday, November 20, 2010

Punt'e nù - Sardinian Knotted Stitch Embroidery

As you may have been able to figure out, I love knotted stitches! In my previous post I mentioned Punt'e nù or Sardinian Knotted Stitch Embroidery.

This technique has long fascinated me and I was fortunate enough to get some one-on-one lessons when I went to Rimini for the Italia Invita Forum in 2007. Many online friends arranged to stay in the same hotel and in the evening we took over the hotel's lounge area and shared our purchases, news and favorite stitching techniques.

One lady from Sardinia kindly demonstrated (many times!) the Punt'e nù stitch. She explained that it was best done on evenweave fabric of about 28ct, she recommended Etamine fabric but I was unsuccessful in finding any. DMC in Europe sells it (it is a cotton/rayon blend) though not over here. I'm told the "real" Etamine fabric of old is no longer available though I have seen the name being used here and there for different fabrics, for example Zwiegart markets it as 22ct Mono Canvas. Anyway, I found 28ct Jubilee cotton to be a lovely substitute.

Of course at the time (in 2007) I was so exhausted in the evenings after the days at the Forum that I couldn't comprehend much and when I got home my notes didn't make much sense and I was unsuccessful at finding any instructional books on Punt'e nù Embroidery.

This year the same Sardinian lady who patiently gave us demonstrations in 2007 decided to put some instructions on her blog. If you look down the right hand side of the page under the heading "Etichette", you will find a series called: lezioni punt'e nù and while it is all in Italian, there are some great photos and even a little video to help you understand the basics of Punt'e nù Embroidery. If you are okay with the Italian, make sure to read all the comments on each post as they are full of questions and answers.

Punt'e nù embroidery is done on the vertical warp threads of the ground fabric and is almost always worked on the diagonal. The actual movement of the stitch ascending left to right is pictured in lezioni punt'e nù/6 on Renata's blog. There is a right way to hold your thread, depending on the direction you are going and whether you are ascending or descending. The ability to count is crucial – a skill which I discovered that I lack. I got very good at unpicking my knots during this tutorial!!

Renata covers all of the basic traditional motifs and there are many patterns throughout her blog.

Punt'e nù Embroidery is also one of three traditional Sardinian needlework techniques demonstrated in this series of videos (Punt'e nù starts at 4:45 in the second video and continues into the third video). Set the YouTube video window to display 420p for higher resolution! The first video is good viewing too but covers Punt'a Brodu Embroidery.
The first video (8 mins 17 sec).
The second video (7 mins 14 sec).
The third video (6 mins 11 sec).

I have had lots of fun experimenting with this technique and made some biscornus...

... and even Christmas tree ornaments (going outside the realm of the traditional!) based on patterns drawn by Renata.

There is very little written on this technique and what there is, is difficult to come by. I've seen a picture of this book: Su Punt'e Nù e su Punt'a Brodu by Quintina Calurgioni though I have been unable to purchase it, and I have downloaded a pdf file (click on the first "Libretto") by the same people who made the above-mentioned videos. Do go through the other links on this page, there are lots of lovely works embroidered by much better stitchers than me!

I am deeply grateful to Renata and her endless patience for preparing this tutorial and teaching me yet another wonderful knotted stitch!


  1. Thank you Jeanine for such precious information you are giving us !!!

  2. che bei biscornu! devo proprio imparare a farli! mi inaegnerai, spero! ciao.

  3. bello incontrare appassionate ricamatrici,
    ci riempie di orgoglio e ci invita a continuare nel tramandare la passione per il ricamo di Teulada "Punt'e nu" e "Punt'a brodu" modo
    un caro saluto