Barb Stitch and Beaded Barb stitch tutorial

Barb stitch is a composite stitch which is part of the buttonhole family.  It is another simple stitch that is easy to work yet versatile enough to create lots of variations. Barb stitch creates a line with a ridge down the center. You can work Barb stitch in a single line straight or on a curve. When worked in curve, in an irregular manner it looks very organic which means it is good for twiggy bits incorporated in a floral motif.

Or if you work Barb stitch in a straight line you can vary the height of the arms to create huge variety of patterns. Another method is to repeat rows to create a border. Different arrangements of the rows can build up interlocking patterns to create interesting needlework fillings.

How to work Barb stitch

You need to know how to work buttonhole stitch to work barb stitch as is consists of two foundation rows of buttonhole worked back to back. These are then whipped with a second thread.

Barb Stitch step 1First work a row of buttonhole stitch.

Barb Stitch step2Turn your work and work a second row of buttonhole stitch so that the two rows are back to back.

With a second thread, using a blunt-ended tapestry needle, so that the foundation threads do not split whip the lines of buttonhole stitches. Slide the needle under each loop at the base of the buttonhole whip two rows of buttonhole together as illustrated.

Barb Stitch step 3Continue the length of the line.

Barb Stitch step 4The threads I used in the sample is cotton perle #5 but you can whip in a contrasting colour, texture or thickness to the thread used for the foundation rows. Metallic yarns can create a rich effect. You can use the buttonhole rows to couch down ribbons or textured novelty yarns.

How to work Beaded Barb Stitch

With this stitch the beading is done during the stitching process not added afterward. The trick is 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.

Work two rows of buttonhole stitch back to back as you would with regular barb stitch.

Beaded Barb Stitch step 1With a second thread, using a #26 tapestry needle, so that you can thread a bead on your working thread slide the needle under loop at the base of the buttonhole to whip the two rows together. Whip the first stitch then add a bead to your working thread before whipping the second stitch. Continue down the line and whip every second stitch with a bead on your thread as illustrated.

Beaded Barb Stitch step 2Both versions are a very easy and quick to work I hope you enjoy the stitch!

Knotted Buttonhole Band and Beaded Knotted Buttonhole Band Tutorial

I found Knotted buttonhole band Edith Johns book, Creative Stitches which was published in 1967 and is long out of print. It looks extremely dated and boring now, but it is a real gem as there are some hidden treasures in it.

Knotted buttonhole band is interesting textured stitch which produces a line with a double ridge. It is ideal for borders or to create heavy lines. It can also be used as an edging stitch. You can often substitute knotted buttonhole band in patterns that require buttonhole (or blanket stitch).

Normally you work this stitch in the same thread but I have worked it in two colours so that readers can easily see what is happening in the demonstration.

However you can experiment with varying your threads. For instance if you use a metallic cord to form the ladder foundation it can be very effective as a bit of glitter peeks through.This sample is worked in cotton perle 5 but if you want a real chunky ridge try a fine silk ribbon. It works really well.
The only limit is that the thread has to behave itself enough to be knotted twice and still sit proud.
Also if you vary the spacing and width of the ladder stitches it can totally change the appearance of the stitch.

How to work Knotted Buttonhole Band

Knotted buttonhole band step 1To work the stitch start by creating an evenly spaced line of straight stitches.

Knotted buttonhole band step 2Note With Knotted buttonhole band you are not stitching through the fabric but stitching on the foundation of straight stitches.

Work the stitch from top to bottom. Bring your needle out at the top of the first bar of the ladder. Tuck the needle under the bar and wrap the thread under the needle like you would in buttonhole.

Make sure the needle is pointing to the left with the thread on the left as illustrated in the photograph.

Knotted buttonhole band step 3Take the needle through and pull the thread through to create the first loop.

Knotted buttonhole band step4Pass the needle through the loop you just created, as illustrated in the photograph.
Wrap the thread under the needle and pull the needle through to create a second loop. It looks like a little knot on the bar and this is what causes the ridge along the stitch.

Knotted buttonhole band step5As you can see the knot is quite pronounced. Make sure the knot is not too tight. It is knotted but not distorting the foundation stitch. The trick to keeping an even tension is to work this stitch in a hoop and don’t pull too tight as if you do it will distort the foundation stitches.

Knotted buttonhole band step6Move to the next foundation bar and create the next loop and continue down the bar in this way until you have reached the bottom. You now have the first side of the stitch.

Take your needle to the top of the row and repeat only this time point your needle to right as you make the loops.

Knotted buttonhole band step7How to work Beaded Knotted buttonhole band

The beaded version of Knotted buttonhole band is worked in the same manner except that you add a bead on every second knot.

Use a 26 tapestry needle. The eye of a tapestry needle is long which means you can thread perle #8 and Perle #5 through. However the needle itself is thin which means you can add a bead to your working thread as you stitch.

Beaded Knotted buttonhole band 1Work this stitch up to the point where you work the knot loop to the bar. At this point add a bead to every second foundation bar.

Beaded Knotted buttonhole band2

Work one side of the bar.

Beaded Knotted buttonhole band3Then take your thread to top and  work the second side of the bar.

Beaded Knotted buttonhole band 4You can also add a bead to the first loop in the process and nudge the bead to one side so that it sits on the outside of the line. Both produce a decorative band that makes an ideal edge for small items such as needle-cases, purses, etc.




Triple Chain Stitch Tutorial

I found this stitch in Edith Johns Creative Stitches (p44) and it’s heaps of fun. Triple chain is quite easy to work, quick and simple as it is a chain stitch with two side stitches.

Sample of Triple Chain Stitch It can be very effective particularly if you vary the height or angle of the chain stitches down the side. You can easily add beads or lace novelty threads through the loops. You can use a variety of threads from fine cotton perle to silk ribbon.

How to work Triple Chain stitch

How to work Triple Chain Stitch 1Start with a chain stitch.

Bring the thread to the front of the fabric and insert the needle closely to where the thread emerges.

Take the needle through the fabric, bringing the point of the needle out a short space along the line to be stitched. With the thread wrapped under the needle point pull the needle through the fabric to form a loop.

Take your needle to the back of the fabric forming a small straight stitch over the loop, to hold the chain down.

How to work Triple Chain Stitch 2

This creates the first chain.

Rotate your work clockwise, to work a second chain stitch placed at right angles to the first stitch.

Make sure the chain stitch tie is pointed to the middle of the line.

How to work Triple Chain Stitch 3Rotate your work again to work another chain stitch on the other side of the central line.

The tie stitch should point to the middle.

Insert your needle into the middle of the first chain stitch, just above the first tie and make chain.

Make another chain stitch.

How to work Triple Chain Stitch 4Once again turn your work to make each of the two wings. Repeat the process along the line.

How to work Triple Chain Stitch 6

I hope you enjoy this stitch!
Triple Chain Stitch

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