Friday, June 19, 2020

Leaf SAL - Up and Down Buttonhole Stitch

In my last blog post which you can read here, I told you a little about my start to the leaf stitch along (part 2) that I'm doing through the Embroiderers' Guild Queensland. I've enjoyed the challenge of working with stitches that I would not normally choose. This was my progress after three weeks. You can see there's lots of stitch variety there to keep you interested. And thinking.

Each time I finished doing the pair of stitches that form 'up and down buttonhole stitch', I felt a little surprised at the result - a pair of legs tied together! Somehow it seemed almost impossible that doing one stitch 'upside down' and then pulling the thread in the opposite direction at the last minute would turn out like this.

Up and down buttonhole stitch - V shape variation

I think that name, 'up and down buttonhole', is a bit misleading because I expected alternate legs of the buttonhole-type stitch to point in opposite directions, not lie on the same side of the line that joins them, as in ordinary buttonhole shown on the left in the photos below. 

The 'up and down ' however, refers to the alternating way the needle moves through the fabric. You take one stitch downwards in the usual way for buttonhole, but for the next stitch the needle points upwards. Then pull the needle towards the top. Finally pull the thread downwards to join up with the previous stitch.


All I can say is try it. It's a magic stitch. Yvette Stanton's book, The Right-Handed Embroiderer's Companion, has good step by step instructions and a few pretty variations of the stitch too.

A number of times I found myself reverting to ordinary buttonhole stitch as my concentration wandered. And I did quite a bit of unpicking until I got into the rhythm of the stitch. Despite that, it's one of my favourite stitches so far. 

Six leaves done, four more to go to complete part 2 of the SAL.

'Till next time, stay well and happy stitching!

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