TAST Revisiting Blanket/Buttonhole Stitch

As well as running stitch, blanket stitch (also known as buttonhole stitch in some quarters), is another favourite stitch of mine I have chosen to revisit in my TAST embroidery journey.

I like to collect retro and vintage embroidery books, and one of my favourites is Constance Howard’s Book of Stitches. I hope to do a proper review of it at some stage, but a very basic description is “an in depth exploration of various embroidery stitches with mostly black and white photos”. (If you buy a copy get the hard cover, the photos are better).

I decided to record some of my favourite blanket stitch explorations from the book.

A buttonhole/blanket stitch embroidery sampler inspired by Constance Howard's Book of Stitches.

I think most of it is pretty self explanatory. At the top left I worked several rows of blanket stitch in different heights and widths, and wove the bars of the longest stitches. Underneath that is a sample of a similar combination of blanket stitches, but without any weaving.

I also worked some large blanket stitches in a sturdy thread (top, 2nd from the left), then worked close blanket stitches over the threads. Those long snakey things on the bottom right are long straight stitches covered in blanket stitch.

The one design that took me a few goes and a bit of extra study to figure out was the hexagon configuration. After a few tries, I realised some of the sides were added afterwards. So if you’d like to have a go, it’s worked in steps like this:

Blanket stitch worked in diagonal steps.

and then you add the other straight stitches.

The design of my next page is due entirely to a bag of unwanted patchwork bits I found at the op shop a couple of weeks ago.

Applique sampler with found fabrics

I wanted to record that blanket stitch is great for appliqué. Lo and behold, what turned up in a bag of fabric scraps, but the main part of this page, the kitty and bird block, the heart shapes and creepy eye. However, on closer inspection of the bird block, I realised the mother bird had gone to her now empty bird house to feed the baby bird that had obviously been eaten by the cat! Who on earth would want to immortalise baby bird killing in a patchwork block?

So I stitched baby bird in the nest, and kitty only got a couple of feathers as mum flew past. Bad kitty!

Finally, I didn’t need to stitch any more buttonhole wheels but I did anyway because they deserved a page of their own :-)

I used my scrap threads because I find it’s a great way to come up with new colour combinations.

Embroidered sampler with many circles stitched with buttonhole or blanket stitch.

Next up: Satin stitch on canvas!

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