Up and Down Buttonhole
Up and Down Buttonhole is a variation of buttonhole stitch which is also known as Mirrored buttonhole stitch. You can easily work the stitch on all types of fabrics. This stitch forms a line made up of a pair of stitches, crossed with a tie at the base. Up and down buttonhole is incredibly versatile. It is simple to work, yet a little unusual. Do look at the directions, as this is not two buttonhole stitches close together, or with a simple tied bar. The stitch can be worked in a square or along a line as illustrated below.
How to work Up and Down Buttonhole Stitch
Work this stitch from left to right. Each stitch of the pair is a separate step. Starting as you would with buttonhole, work the first stitch of the pair as a regular buttonhole stitch and with your needle pointing downwards, wrap the thread under the needle and pull the needle through. For the second part of the stitch, insert the needle and take a bite of the fabric, so that the tip of the needle is pointing upwards as illustrated. Wrap the working thread under the needle and pull the needle through the foundation fabric. As you pull the needle through, pull the needle towards you instead of away from you. As you do this, hold down the loop that forms with the left thumb to prevent it slipping. The loop forms as you stitch.
Note: I have observed that some online instructions would have you create a loop, then lace the working thread through the stitch. This is wrong. You create the loop as you stitch, and, once you have the rhythm of the stitch, it is easy and quick to do. This loop forms the bar at the base of both stitches. This forms the first pair of tied stitches.
Work along the line. Once you have the rhythm of the stitch, it is easy and quick to do.
A versatile stitch
As I have said, Up and down buttonhole is an incredibly versatile stitch. Along a line the spines can change angle or length. The stitch is easily worked in a circle with spines pointing inwards or outwards. You can also work it along a curve. This sample was worked on Block 77 of the I dropped the Button Box quilt. At the bottom of each long arm I worked oyster stitch in rayon ribbon floss.
On Block 73 in the I Dropped the Button Box quilt I used Up and down buttonhole stitch in bunker thread. I tucked small detached chain stitches worked in metallic thread between the arms of the up and down buttonhole stitch. At the base I added some seed beads.
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Creative Stitches for Contemporary Embroidery
Feeling stale? Wondering how to add sparkle to your embroidery? I have written Creative Stitches for Contemporary Embroidery for both beginners and seasoned embroiderers. It introduces techniques to encourage your creative interpretations of stitches. I guide you towards discovering play-points in your embroidery by varying the height and width; by stacking stitches; or by filling multiple rows with the same stitch. With creative variations and demonstrations of tiny tweaks you will be ready to head off down you own creative path and, of course, illustrated with plenty of eye candy!
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