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.
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.
How to hand embroider a Buttonhole Wheel
Using 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.
Repeat this process around the disk.
This stitch can be used in both contemporary and traditional stitching.
Above 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.
Half and quarter buttonhole wheels
You can work this stitch in units that are half wheels or in units that quarter wheels.
It is fun to create patterns by arranging units in rows such as this example on a piece of crazy quilting.
Here 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.
Another way of using half buttonhole wheels is to flip or mirror them along a seam.
Or 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.
Buttonhole 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.