February 9, 2014

The Real McCoy

I love doing stitcheries. This simpler form of embroidery which I started doing about 9 years ago has a lot going for it. It is easy to do, doesn't take too long, is tolerant of imperfection, doesn't use many fancy stitches and is ideal for achieving that whimsical look that expresses country, cottage and shabby styles. I designed a new stitchery yesterday and I'm really looking forward to bringing it to life with needle and thread.

But occasionally, I hanker for the real McCoy - the genuine article, REAL embroidery stitches, stitches that challenge, stitches that fill in and don't just outline, stitches that I learned as a child. SO, every so often, I sit down and do some real embroidery. Of course, the desire for that type of embroidery is even more prominent when you have gorgeous Kacoonda hand-dyed silk threads, ribbon and felt to play with.

Pixie Garden has stitches like split stitch, spider web rose, ribbon stitch, tailored buttonhole stitch, and twisted chain stitch - all slow stitches, but such fun to do.

If you have a hankering to work with silk ribbon, silk thread and some challenging stitches, then you can pick up a copy of  the current Embroidery & Cross Stitch magazine, Vol 21 No 7.

Will you indulge me and let me talk about one of those stitches - tailored or tailor's buttonhole stitch. I am on a bit of a campaign trying to educate the stitching community about this stitch. Even magazines constantly get it wrong!!!  
It is NOT blanket-stitch worked close together. Don't you believe it if you are told that!!!

The key difference with the tailored buttonhole stitch is that it has a knotted edge.  In the days when buttonholes were made by hand, the tailored buttonhole stitch was used to give extra durability to the edge of the buttonhole. It helped prevent fraying and made the stitched buttonhole less likely to unravel if the thread became worn and broken. Can you see the knotted edge sitting up on the pink flowers?:

Tailored button-hole stitch can be made in different ways and be worked in different directions to achieve the stitch, but basically the needle goes over two threads whereas in blanket stitch it only goes over the top of one. Blanket stitch is really a looped stitch, whereas buttonhole stitch is a knotted stitch. Most people work tailored buttonhole stitch from the outside in, whereas generally buttonhole stitch is worked from the inside to the outer edge.  See the needle over two threads:

 See this loop in the thread - that's where the knot is going to be formed:

and here are the knots:

 I learned all that at my mother's knee and I'm so happy to think that there are a number of influential embroiderers out there who are also trying to get the message across! http://www.nordicneedle.net/guides/stitchology/buttonhole-vs-blanket-stitch/ 

Try it out on your fusible web applique where you want the edge to stand out - it is such a lovely stitch to work!

Now, off my hobby horse, and back on the ground!  I finished hand-quilting this wall quilt - very happy with how it turned out: 

That meant I could start on something NEW - always a happy feeling.

The next block of the free Block of the Month "Shining Like the Dawn" wall quilt will be ready for you next week, so keep an eye open for it.

Happy stitching.


gracie said...

Thank you for great explanation and tutorial. I have not made this stitch before but certainly will try it.

Maritza said...

Cal te quedó precioso el bordado con cintas!!! Gracias por explicarnos cómo se hace este punto.
El edredón es maravilloso. Un beso

Vicki said...

Thank you for clarifying this. I thought that the knotted stitch was buttonhole stitch and the one that is normally used for applique was blanket stitch. I didn't realise that there were two different buttonhole stitches.

barcord said...

Thank you Val for that tutorial on buttonhole stitch. It is good to learn something new, and your instructions are so easy to follow.

Marie said...

Bonjour Val,
Me voici de retour de mes vacances,
je suis ravie de retrouver un de mes blog préferé.
De bien jolies choses que j'ai raté
Merci pour le tuto de point de boutonniére.
Douce journée

Val Laird said...

Vicki, 40 or 50 years ago, that's how it was - the knotted stitch was buttonhole stitch and the one that is normally used for applique was blanket stitch. However there are so many people now thinking buttonhole stitch=blanket stitch worked close together, that we have to differentiate between the two, so the true buttonhole stitch is called "Tailor's/tailored".

Susan said...

Thanks Val - the knotted stitch would be a great variation - especially for pinwheel flowers...I will try it soon!

Anonymous said...

That's what my home ec teacher in the sixties had us use to make hand buttonholes! Beautiful stitch for this project. Someone down there sent me a sampler of Kacoonda threads for my crazy quilting, and they are lovely, it's true!

Anonymous said...

I always Love coming here. Your work is just Beautiful! Thank you for sharing.
Carol O

Gina E. said...

I'm like you Val, I like doing the simple redwork style of modern 'stitchery' but I think the older embroideries with a variety of beautiful if complex stitches are so much more beautiful. I have many vintage UFOs that require knowledge of many stitches to do them justice, and luckily for me the members of our Guild are very generous in sharing their skills, and will show me how to work a lesser known stitch such as Tailor's buttonhole stitch.

Carla Fiedler said...

Val, thanks for this tutorial and clarification of the stitches. You taught me something today!

Createology said...

Pixie Garden is Precious. Your stitchings are perfect. Love your hand quilted piece also. Creative Stitching Bliss...

Susan In Texas said...

Thanks for the clarification. Your stitchery is just beautiful! Thanks for sharing. 8)

Take care,
Susan in Texas