Buttonhole Heaven

Although buttonhole/blanket stitching can be used simply as a finishing stitch on the edges of felted appliques and such, it’s way more interesting to use it as a featured stitch.  It can be so pretty, why not take advantage of it?

This acorn came from cntrythreads’ flickr account.  I stitched it over last christmas when my husband and I visited his family in England.  I loved the traditional look of the original, and as soon as I saw the leaves, I knew exactly how I wanted it to look.

I did run into a small difficulty with it, where the buttonhole did not take to the very sharp curves in some of the corners.  The bottom of the stitch would pull towards the next stitch instead of laying flat.  I fixed it by tacking the base of the stitch at the worst bits with a single strand of the same thread.  The result was nearly perfect.  I left some of the less jagged pulls since I liked how organic it made the leaf feel.  (Look how terrible my stem stitch used to be!  I love looking at older pieces and seeing how much I have progressed.  I am currently doing an entire project in stem stitch, with mixed coloured threads and it looks super promising.)

After practicing a very closed buttonhole stitch in order to have a try at cutwork (unsuccessful, but I still have hope), I had a flash of inspiration: the stitch, with one side a bit more raised than the other, looked like the rims on barrels!  Don’t ask me how I came to this, my mind just works in funny ways sometimes.  After a quick search on google, I fell in love with the image on the right and decided to stitch it out.

Again, I ran into a few niggles: in some spots, my stitches were not quite as tight as they could be and left larger gaps (where the toxic waste could leak out!  Gasp!).  This was remarkably easy to fix, especially since the stiching was not structural.  I just added a straight stitch or two between the two arms of the offending stiches.  The look isn’t perfect, but I can honestly not see any to point out to you, so it must be good enough.

Here are two more patterns that I haven’t done yet but that I have been looking at in the last few months.  First is this blanket stitch sampler by Crafty modern on flickr and the second is Stag and Flowers by badbird on etsy.  The framing around the stag would be super fun to do in a thick threaded buttonhole stitch.  The options with buttonhole really open up once you enter the world of crewel, which I plan to talk about at a later date.  See you then.


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