How to work Fancy Bobbin Edging

Fancy Bobbin Edging stitch sample 4Fancy Bobbin Edging is an interesting variation of buttonhole, which I discovered in an old book called The Batsford encyclopaedia of embroidery stitches by Anne Butler. This book was published in the late 1970’s and looks very dated with black and white hand drawn illustrations that are not always clear but being the stitch spotter I am I enjoy discovering stitches I have not seen before. Fancy Bobbin Edging is one of them.

It was bit tricky to figure it out from the illustration and I had to flip the direction of the stitch to get it to work but eventually I came up with this. It is almost like someone was trying to work out German buttonhole and made a mistake but if that was the birth of this stitch it is nice mistake!

Fancy Bobbin Edging stitch sample 2Also when exploring a stitch like this we do need to remember it is an edging stitch and something sitting on edge of say a needle book, or the hem of table runner will look totally different to something worked in a band as I have done.

Since Fancy Bobbin Edging is based on buttonhole it will follow a curve well, makes a wonderful edging stitch and like buttonhole you can create many interesting patterns with this stitch by varying the arm spacing and length.

How to work Fancy Bobbin Edging

step by step tutorial on Fancy Bobbin Edging 1
Fancy Bobbin Edging stitch is worked from left to right along two imaginary lines. Bring the thread out on the lower line. Insert the needle on the upper line making a straight downward motion.

step by step tutorial on Fancy Bobbin Edging 2Loop the working thread under the needle point. Pull the needle through the fabric to form a loop as you would for the standard buttonhole or blanket stitch.

step by step tutorial on Fancy Bobbin Edging 3Slide the needle under the vertical leg you just created. Point the needle from right to left. You are not going through the fabric at this point just wrapping the leg of the buttonhole with the working thread.

step by step tutorial on Fancy Bobbin Edging 4Pull the thread through.

step by step tutorial on Fancy Bobbin Edging 5Make another buttonhole stitch.

step by step tutorial on Fancy Bobbin Edging 6Repeat the wrapping process. Do this for the length of the line.

step by step tutorial on Fancy Bobbin Edging 7

This stitch behaves differently with the type of thread used.

Fancy Bobbin Edging stitch sample 1This sample is worked in a chainette yarn that has a metallic blending thread woven through it.

Fancy Bobbin Edging stitch sample 5 The sample above is cotton perle #5.

Fancy Bobbin Edging stitch sample 6This sample is 6 strands of cotton floss.

Fancy Bobbin Edging stitch sample 3Like regular buttonhole you can vary the arm spacing and length.
I hope you like this variety of buttonhole! If anyone knows more about this variety leave a comment as I would like to know more about it.

How to hand embroider Bonnet stitch

 Bonnet stitch sample 5Bonnet stitch is a variation of buttonhole that forms a line of stitches which have a upright twisted looped prongs. Jan Eaton in her Complete Stitch Encyclopedia states that she found this stitch in a 1923 issue of Embroidery Magazine.

Some stitches you look at the directions and they look distinctly uninspiring. Bonnet stitch is such a case. It looks like a double buttonhole or I call it a herringbone with its knickers in twist. However I urge you to try it out I think it will surprise you. You can use this stitch on even-weave or plain fabrics. It is quick and easy to work and will follow a curve well.

 Bonnet stitch sample 3Bonnet stitch looks best in a thread with firm twist. So if you are one of those folks using up old stranded embroidery threads to test your stitches I can only encourage you to buy some perle thread. You are doing yourself a huge disservice if you never try other threads. Many of the surface stitches look nothing in stranded threads but work them in a thread with a firm twist and they come alive.

The sample is of Bonnet stitch worked in different threads. The first row is cotton Perle 8, the next rayon thread, followed by silk and the last row being a metallic.

 Bonnet stitch sample 2Since Bonnet stitch is a member of the buttonhole family, it can be worked easily on a curve. If worked in freeform manner you can produce organic textured lines.

 Bonnet stitch sample 1Also you can easily work this stitch in a circle.

How to work Bonnet Stitch

Work bonnet stitch from right to left between two imaginary lines. If you need to mark the line use a pen that will dissolve when moist or one of the quilters pen that disappear after a few days.
instructions on how to work Bonnet stitch 1Bring the needle out on the bottom line. Make a small stitch on the top line with the needle pointing left.
instructions on how to work Bonnet stitch 2Pull the needle through the fabric.
Slide the needle under the straight stitch you just made. You are not taking the needle through the fabric just slide it under the stitch with the needle pointing left. Pull the needle through.
instructions on how to work Bonnet stitch 3On the bottom line insert the needle where you started to stitch.  With the needle pointed left and the thread wrapped under the needle as illustrated, pull the needle through.

instructions on how to work Bonnet stitch 4
Take the needle to the top line and take a bite of the fabric as illustrated. This is the start of th enext stitch.

instructions on how to work Bonnet stitch 5Continue along the line.

Bonnet stitch can be worked in rows or at different heights. Think of all the patterns you make with Buttonhole stitch as many of these you can adapt to  Bonnet stitch too. It is a case of experimenting a little.  It is also interesting if you work Bonnet stitch at different angles or use it to couch heavy threads to the fabric.

 Bonnet stitch sample 4You can create patterns if you work this stitch row upon row or in this case in rows back to back.


Buttonhole Wheel stitch

Buttonhole wheel pulled stitch sample Buttonhole wheel is buttonhole stitch worked in a circle so obviously it is part of the buttonhole family of stitches. Buttonhole wheels are also known as Also known as wheel stitch, buttonhole rings, buttonhole flowers, buttonhole disks and disk stitch.

Buttonhole wheels are a fun and are an undervalued little stitch. Many people are introduced to buttonhole wheels as a beginners stitch but do not realise how versatile they can be. You can do so much more with them! They are often used to form small floral sprays making it a useful stitch for contemporary crazy quilting and surface embroidery.

It stands to reason that  in order to work this stitch with ease you need to know how to work regular buttonhole stitch or as some people call it blanket stitch.

A tip! 

If you have problems with the rim flicking up and not sitting flat, it means that you are not working enough spokes in the wheel. Add a few more spokes and they will sit flat to the foundation fabric.

Buttonhole wheel stitch sample 2How to hand embroider a Buttonhole Wheel

step by step tutorial buttonhole wheel 1Using a disappearing marker or pencil, mark a circle and mark a dot in the middle on your fabric.
Bring your thread from the back of your fabric on the outer line. Insert the needle in the middle of the circle and and have the point of  your needle emerge on the outer line. Loop the thread under the needle point.
Pull the needle through the fabric to form the first spoke of the wheel.

step by step tutorial buttonhole wheel 2Repeat this process around the disk.

step by step tutorial buttonhole wheel 3This stitch can be used in both contemporary and traditional stitching.

Buttonhole wheel stitch sample 7Above is an example of half buttonhole wheels worked in combination with an area of couched novelty yarns on a foundation fabric of hand painted Aida cloth.

Below is a traditional use of buttonhole wheels and quarter wheels in a floral motif.

Buttonhole wheel stitch sample 4Half and quarter buttonhole wheels

You can work this stitch in units that are half wheels or in units that quarter wheels.

Buttonhole wheel stitch sampleIt is fun to create patterns by arranging  units in rows such as this example on a piece of crazy quilting.

Buttonhole wheel stitch sample3Here is another example of half wheels used on crazy quilting. Although both are half buttonhole wheels they can look very different according to spacing, placement and size.

 Buttonhole wheel stitch sample 9Another way of using half buttonhole wheels is to flip or mirror them along a seam.

Buttonhole wheel stitch sample 10Or once you break the wheels up into units such as quarter wheels you can flip them along a seam and create different arrangements and combinations. This sample is used in crazy quilting but a line of quarter wheels can make an attractive decoration as is.

pulled Buttonhole wheel stitch sample 8Buttonhole wheels in Pulled embroidery

In pulled embroidery buttonhole wheel is worked on a fabric such as even weave linen, something that has give and will ‘pull’ or pucker. You also need to use an embroiderers hoop to control your tension.

As the Buttonhole wheel is worked you tug on each stitch slightly so that the threads of the foundation fabric are pulled in by the stitching. It is not a tug of war all you need is to just give each stitch a tug and then move on. Make sure your needle always goes back into the same hole in the middle and a neat hole will form. The size of this hole can be increased with the aid of a stiletto or knitting needle. Basically you push the end into the hole to make the hole bigger or in my case more even.

Buttonhole wheel stitch sample 5