Take a Stitch Tuesday #138 Barb Stitch and #139 Beaded Barb stitch

This week the stitch for TAST is a composite stitch called Barb stitch but before I give directions on how to work this stitch I want to remind people that  I have decided to take a TAST break after stitch 140.  Next year I will return  to the series if there is interest.  With the holiday season most people drop away so this year instead of racing around trying to write tutorials in December I am taking a break. However there will still be TAST challenge stitches all November. If you are worried about losing touch  subscribe to my newsletter!

So on with the stitch of the week. Barb stitch 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 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!

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How to join TAST
Stitch a sample of this stitch or ANY of the stitches listed on the TAST FAQ page. Once you have worked a sample,  photograph it and put it online at your blog, flickr site etc then swing back to the Last TAST post listed   and leave a comment.  This is a guilt free challenge to learn hand embroidery stitches. You can stitch 1,  10 or all of the TAST stitches, swing in and out of the chellenge as life dictates and generally mooch along learning a bit here and bit there.  All are welcome.


Take a Stitch Tuesday 136 and 137 Knotted buttonhole band and Beaded Knotted buttonhole band

This week I have 2 stitches for Take a Stitch Tuesday. The first is Knotted buttonhole band and the second is the beaded version. I found this stitch in 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.
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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.

Subscribe to my newsletter of stitching goodies!

In my revamped newsletter I offer my regular readers exclusive freebies that are not offered on the blog. I also include stitching and crazy quilting tips, news and even the occasional dash of stitching philosophy! Subscribe here

Or follow me on Facebook and just click that like button to get TAST stitch updates there.

How to join TAST
Stitch a sample of this stitch or ANY of the stitches listed on the TAST FAQ page. Once you have worked a sample,  photograph it and put it online at your blog, flickr site etc then swing back to the Last TAST post listed   and leave a comment.  This is a guilt free challenge to learn hand embroidery stitches. You can stitch 1,  10 or all of the TAST stitches, swing in and out of the chellenge as life dictates and generally mooch along learning a bit here and bit there.  All are welcome.


Take a Stitch Tuesday 135 Beaded Fern Stitch

Last week I introduced Fern stitch to the TAST series of stitches. I had some very positive feedback so I thought to add the beaded version. It is just as simple and very versatile and is ideal to use in floral sprays and is ideal for simple Christmas wreaths.

beaded fern stitch sampleFor the sample I have used perle 8 hand dyed variegated thread and a size a size 26 tapestry needle. Since the beading is done during the stitching process not added afterward 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. I have used seed beads in this sample.

How to work Beaded Fern Stitch

Beaded Fern Stitch consists of a simple arrangement of 3 straight stitches along a central line. Every second arm along the line you add beads to.

beaded fern stitch step 1
Work 3 straight stitches as you would with ferns stitch and bring your working thread out from the back of the fabric. Thread 2 or 3 seed beads on to your needle.

beaded fern stitch step 2With the beads on the thread work a straight stitch on the left side.

beaded fern stitch step 3With the beads on the thread work a straight stitch on the other side. Next work a unit of 3 straight stitches that are normal fern stitch.

beaded fern stitch step 4This pattern is repeated along the line. Beaded Fern stitch is pretty particularly when worked on a curve or in a free form manner. You can also use bugle beads or even some novelty beads if they are the right size.

Subscribe to my newsletter of stitching goodies!

In my revamped newsletter I offer my regular readers exclusive freebies that are not offered on the blog. I also include stitching and crazy quilting tips, news and even the occasional dash of stitching philosophy! Subscribe here

Or follow me on Facebook and just click that like button to get TAST stitch updates there.

How to join TAST
Stitch a sample of this stitch or ANY of the stitches listed on the TAST FAQ page. Once you have worked a sample,  photograph it and put it online at your blog, flickr site etc then swing back to the Last TAST post listed   and leave a comment.  This is a guilt free challenge to learn hand embroidery stitches. You can stitch 1,  10 or all of the TAST stitches, swing in and out of the chellenge as life dictates and generally mooch along learning a bit here and bit there.  All are welcome.


Take a Stitch Tuesday 134 Fern stitch

fern stitch sampleThis is an easy stitch that is ideal to use for floral sprays and since Holiday season is just around the corner this stitch is ideal for simple wreaths. In this sample I have worked it on the diagonal to keep the demonstration simple but you can work fern stitch on curves or in geometric patterns

How to work fern stitch

Fern stitch consists of a simple arrangement of 3 straight stitches.

fern stitch step  1Bring the thread from the back of the fabric and work a straight stitch.

fern stitch step  2Next work a straight on the left side followed by a straight stitch on the right side.

fern stitch step 3This unit of 3 straight stitches is repeated along the line.

fern stitch step 4The spine can be further decorated with french knots of beads.

It is a very simple stitch that lends itself to all sorts of applications and can be taught to children.

Subscribe to my newsletter of stitching goodies!

In my revamped newsletter I offer my regular readers exclusive freebies that are not offered on the blog. I also include stitching and crazy quilting tips, news and even the occasional dash of stitching philosophy! Subscribe here

Or follow me on Facebook and just click that like button to get TAST stitch updates there.

How to join TAST
Stitch a sample of this stitch or ANY of the stitches listed on the TAST FAQ page. Once you have worked a sample,  photograph it and put it online at your blog, flickr site etc then swing back to the Last TAST post listed   and leave a comment.  This is a guilt free challenge to learn hand embroidery stitches. You can stitch 1,  10 or all of the TAST stitches, swing in and out of the chellenge as life dictates and generally mooch along learning a bit here and bit there.  All are welcome.