Tuesday – Take a stitch challenge

buttonhole stitch sample 9The hand embroidery Take a Stitch Tuesday (TAST) challenge re-run is back by popular demand. Week 2 of the challenge is Buttonhole stitch or blanket stitch as many people call it. No matter what you call it this stitch is actually the foundation for a whole family of stitches. Depending on how you classify stitches many people see feather stitch and fly stitch as part of that family.

I don’t want to argue over how hand embroidery stitches are classified,  as that can be a bit boring but some people classify stitches according to the hand movement you need to make in order to create the stitch. So since a fly stitch for instance has the same hand movement as buttonhole in the sense that the thread is passed under the needle some people classify them as being in the same family. I have found that if people think in terms of what hand action they are making they can make sense of it and helps build skills. If you group together stitches in families it helps as you have rough idea of the sort of movement your hand needs to make.

Grouping hand embroidery stitches in families can be a very helpful way to think about them.  For some they try and memorise the various names and put them into families rather than thinking about the hand action and they can get in muddle about it. To be honest,  if the idea of families of stitches  just confuses you  don’t worry about it as it is meant to be an aid – a way of thinking about a stitch – not another point about embroidery to remember or be confused about. I would love to know what readers think and if you group stitches in your mind so for instance you think in terms of crossed stitches, knotted stitches, etc. Leave a comment as I really would love to know.

I have revamped the Buttonhole stitch page with new step by step instructions and hope it is useful.

How to join in

If you are new to hand embroidery the challenge is to learn the stitch. If you are an experienced push buttonhole a little further- show the new hands what can be done with a little imagination.  Use buttonhole in a creative manner take it where ever you want and give it a 21st century twist.

Where to share

Stitch a sample, photograph it, put in online on your blog, flickr site, share it on facebook or where ever you hang out online, and leave a comment on the Buttonhole stitch page with your full web address so people can visit and see your sample. In other words, include the http bit of the web address so that it becomes a live link to your work.

Feel free to join the  TAST facebook group or on the TAST Flickr group.  If this is the first you have read about the challenge read the details and guidelines on the TAST FAQ page. All are welcome

Have fun! Hopefully there will not be too many tangles!

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Triangular buttonhole and Beaded Triangular buttonhole stitch

Triangular buttonhole is a version of buttonhole stitch. If you are a total beginner, I suggest that before you attempt this version you familiarise yourself with basic buttonhole stitch first.

Triangular buttonhole is an interesting stitch I discovered in an old book by Edith John titled Creative Stitches. In experimenting with it, I discovered it not only is an interesting stitch of itself that is great for edgings or building up patterns, but you can add beads to it at various points in the process that enhances the stitch in some really nice ways. The shape of the stitch lends itself to stacking row upon row to create patterns yet like buttonhole it can be worked on a gentle curve. You can change the angles to create higher pointed triangles or make them larger by adding more stitches to the triangle.

How to work Triangular Buttonhole Stitch.

Triangular buttonholeThis stitch is worked from left to right. Bring the thread out at the base of your stitching line and insert the needle at the top. Position the needle so that the tip emerges at an angle of about 45 degrees.  With  the thread under the needle point, pull the needle through the fabric to form a loop. This first stitch forms one side of the triangle.

Triangular buttonhole 2Move along the line and insert the needle at an angle but lower down the side of the triangle as illustrated.   With  the thread under the needle pull it through the fabric to form the next stitch.

Triangular buttonhole 3Once again, move along the line a little and insert the needle at an angle to create the next part of the stitch as illustrated.   With  the thread under the needle pull it through the fabric.

Triangular buttonhole 4Move along the line and insert the needle at the top of the triangle and angle the needle so that the tip emerges at the base of the triangle as illustrated.   With  the thread under the needle pull it through the fabric and you have created the first triangle.

Triangular buttonhole 5Repeat this process along the line.

Triangular buttonhole 6You could work rows of this stitch back to back or row upon row, or face to face with the points touching or offset. You could also work the stitch over a ribbon. The variety possible is really very rich.

How to work  Beaded Triangular buttonhole stitch

To work Beaded Triangular buttonhole use a size 26 tapestry needle. Since the eye of a tapestry needle is long you can thread perle #8 and Perle #5 through the long eye. However the needle itself is thin which means you can add a bead to your working thread as you stitch in other words the beading becomes part of the process rather than added afterwards. This tip is key to success with this type of beaded embroidery.

You can bead Triangular buttonhole on any bar of the stitch or the base of the stitch. Or you can set up patterns with the beads by beading two of the bars or one triangles and not the next and so on. The varieties of patterning available is rich particularly if you mixed bugle beads and seed beads.

Beaded Triangular buttonhole 1As with regular Triangular buttonhole this stitch is worked from left to right.

Beaded Triangular buttonhole 2I have demonstrated this stitch adding beads to one side of the triangle but you can thread beads on to any of the bars.

Bring the thread out at the base of the stitching line and thread 4 seed beads to your working thread.  Insert the needle at the top of the triangle and have the tip emerging at the base. The needle is at an angle of approximately 45 degrees.  With  the thread under the needle point, pull the needle through the fabric to form one side of the triangle.

Beaded Triangular buttonhole 3Work the rest of the stitch as you would regular Triangular buttonhole and continue along the line.

Beaded Triangular buttonhole 4Different patterns can be created by threading the beads on different parts of the stitch.

Beaded Triangular buttonhole 5Experiment with various combinations of seed beads and bugle beads.

Beaded Triangular buttonhole 7You could also work this stitch row upon row to create patterns.

Beaded Triangular buttonhole 8You can also add a bead to the base loops as well.

Beaded Triangular buttonhole 9

Hope you enjoy exploring this stitch!

How to Hand Embroider Top Knotted Buttonhole

This stitch is a variety of buttonhole stitch which has a knot set at the top of each arm.

Instead of working it in a straight line you can vary the length of the arms to create patterns. You can use it as a couching stitch to hold down novelty threads. Since Top Knotted Buttonhole is a variety of buttonhole stitch it works well as decorative edging stitch and holds curves well. When worked in a circle or around a large bead it makes a decorative little flower motif.

How to work Top Knotted Buttonhole Stitch

Top Knotted Buttonhole Stitch step 1This stitch is worked from left to right between two lines.

Bring your thread up on the bottom line and loop your thread around the needle as illustrated.

Insert the needle on the top line and nudge the knot down against the fabric. Angle your needle so that you can take a bite of the fabric with the needle point emerging on the bottom line.

Top Knotted Buttonhole Stitch step 2With the thread under the needle as you would do in normal buttonhole stitch pull the needle through the fabric downward towards you to make the first stitch.

Top Knotted Buttonhole Stitch step 3If you have trouble controlling the knot at this stage place your left thumb and hold your half formed stitch between thumb and forefinger as you pull the thread through.

Top Knotted Buttonhole Stitch step 4Continue in this manner along the line.

This sample was worked using perle # 5 cotton however experiment with threads as this stitch looks good worked in thicker threads or even a fine ribbon.

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