I have finished the flower beds and started on the paths - I think they help. This is slow especially as I only work in the morning to maximise the daylight in my workroom. However it is a very relaxing pastime.
Despite working in bright daylight I am not sure my knots have improved very much. The only thing is - I am managing to keep all the knots on the front of the fabric! A relief!
The fabric I used is not calico as recommended in the book but some silk and wool twill fabric left over from a previous dressmaking exercise. The fabric is fairly closely woven and comfortable to stitch into.
I am quite excited! Yesterday I found a copy of Christine Harris' French Knot Pictures at a Lifeline store - a great bargain at $9! It is in pristine condition - dustcover and all. Now I have some ideas for a picture but need to finish this piece first.