Stitches For Santa’s Beard

K. Kringle by Sandra Gilmore - Stitches for Santa's Beard

That jolly old elf in the red velvet suit is popping up all over the place these days. And since Christmas is right around the corner, let’s chat about a few different stitches that you can use for Santa’s beard on your projects…

One of my favorite stitches is the French knot.

It’s not a counted canvas embroidery stitch; it’s a freestyle surface embroidery stitch. (Counted canvas embroidery stitches are those that require counting canvas threads as part of the execution of the stitch. They’re charted stitches, like the Hungarian or Parisian stitch.)

I sometimes use French knots for Santa’s beard. Since so many people have a hard time executing them, this week’s episode of Needlepoint TV™ is all about French knots.

Click here to hop over and watch the demonstration on how I make them.

Some other stitches you can use for Santa’s beard are…

  • double brick stitch
  • split encroaching Gobelin stitch
  • criss-cross Hungarian stitch
  • French knot on a stalk stitch

And as an early Christmas gift for wonderful Y-O-U, I’m sharing the diagrams for each of these stitches here today.

First up is the double brick stitch.

This stitch is super simple and it’ll work for Santa’s beard on any size canvas – from ornaments to stockings. It’s a small stitch and that makes it easy to compensate. Just follow the diagram below and you’ll be golden!

The double brick stitch is a great option for stitching Santa's beard.


Next is the split encroaching Gobelin stitch.

This stitch is a wee bit more complex. It’s not hard, though.

There are three diagrams to show you the steps to create a very realistic looking beard for Santa.

Split Encroaching Gobelin Stitch step 1



Split Encroaching Gobelin Stitch step 2


Split Encroaching Gobelin Stitch step 3


Another stitch for creating a lovely Santa beard is the criss-cross Hungarian stitch.

This is a combination stitch, which means that two “stand-alone” stitches are combined to create a new stitch pattern. In this case, the Hungarian stitch gets a couple of tweaks and it’s combined with the standard cross-stitch.

This is another one of my favorite stitches! In fact, I have an entire article about it in the July/August 2020 issue of Needlepoint Now magazine.  They’re having a sale right now, so if you’re missing any issues, be sure and check out what’s available to complete your collection. 😉

Alrighty, here are the diagrams of the criss-cross Hungarian stitch for you…

Criss Cross Hungarian Stitch step 1


Criss Cross Hungarian Stitch step 2


And finally, we have the French knot on a stalk.

This is, quite simply, a French knot executed at the end of a long straight stitch. You can adjust the length of the straight stitch to fit the space constraints of your canvas. (The French Knot on a Stalk is a freestyle surface embroidery stitch. It’s “official” name is the pistil stitch. 😉 )

Here are the diagrams for you…


French knot on a Stalk


French knot on a Stalk step 2


And there you have it… five stitches that you can use for creating a spectacular Santa’s beard (or any beard!) for your needlepoint projects.

I hope you find a place to use one – or ALL – of these stitches on your canvases.

I’m teaching a new Santa’s Beard Snippets workshop on December 16th and I’d love to have you join me.

You can learn more about it HERE.

I also hope that you set aside some time just for yourself during this busy season – even if it’s only for a warm cuppa by the fire. (Or a frosty glass of lemonade under the shade tree, if you live in the southern hemisphere.)

It’s truly an honor and a privilege to have you as a member of our Serendipity Needleworks family.

My wish for you is a safe and happy holiday and that the upcoming days and weeks are filled with all the things that bring you joy!

Sending you lots of love and a great big hug…

Stitch with a smile!




4 thoughts on “Stitches For Santa’s Beard”

  1. Working on Santa’s beard now. There is a curled pattern in the beard which I have done first in a gray thread with the French knots. Can I mix another stitch in with the French knots? Do you do all French knots with the two colors? Your thoughts.

    • Hi Tandy!
      That’s a terrific question. I believe that I’d continue with French knots since you’ve already started with them. 🙂
      Hope that helps…


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Serendipity Needleworks

Hi, I’m Ellen. A needlepoint teacher and author dedicated to helping motivated but overwhelmed stitchers at every stage find exactly what they need to stitch with confidence. Whether you’re just dipping your toe into the needlepoint world or you’re ready to take your skills to the next level, I’ve fine-tuned a learning experience just for you.

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