Oh what a TAST. I have always found button hole (or blanket stitch, as I know it) a difficult unco-operative stitch. The top bars tend to slide down the verticle bars and look untidy. I tried to put my prejudges of this stitch to one side and stitch it with an open mind. I think somewhere in the back of my mind my lingering doubts got in the way of my fully appreciating this TAST.
I used the same linen as for the herringbone, but change thread and used Broder Medicis. I began with a basic blanket stitch couched over a narrow ribbon. The ribbon severed well to hold the stitches in place, so far so good. I wanted to explore shaping the stitch. For the second row, I worked the stitches close together and gradually lengthened and shortened the verticle bars to create a zig zag. On the third row, I keep the verticle bars consistent but moved up and down diagonally, following the contours of the second row. Finally, in this set, I again lengthened and shortened the verticle bars, but this time I moved the top bars and kept the tips of the bars level.
At this stage I was finding the stitch a little tiresome and decided to change track. I drew the same paisley design that I had used on herringbone and outlined it in blanket stitch. I then worked a second row in the opposite direction. In the center circle I worked detached button hole. This is the first time that I have done this stitch and I rather enjoyed it. In the remaining space, I randomly placed little crosses, still worked in button hole stitch but rotating each stitch 90 degrees to the previous stitch (does this stitch have a name?).
Although I enjoyed working the paisley more than the first 4 rows, I still needed a little inspiration to continue with this stitch. On Sharon's stitch dictionary I found several variations that I was not familiar with. For some random reason, I started working from the bottom up for here on. So from the bottom, I started with barb stitch. This is quite simply 2 rows of blanket stitch worked back to back and then the middle bars are wrapped. I wrapped them with the narrow satin ribbon that I used at the top of the sampler.
The second row is closed button hole. At some point, I realised that my first attempt at this stitch was wrong, so this is in fact the last row I work after I removed my first attempt. By this time I understood how I should work the stitch and found it fairly simple to do, the first time it was a chore. Row 3 (from the bottom) is up and down button hole and this was my favourite variation on the stitch. Row 4 is crossed button hole, worked in the same way as closed button hole but with crossed stitches. I decided to tie these stitches just to add a little variety.
Row 5 is bonnet stitch. I'm not sure if I have worked this correctly. I didn't fully understand the instructions. I think the fault lies with me, not with the instructions. Right or wrong, I quite like the results and after a few false starts, enjoyed the rythem of stitching it. The next row was an attempt to emulate the woven effect that I had worked in herringbone (I don't think this stitch lends itself to weaving). All four rows are in fact Berwick stitch becuase I have wrapped the thread around the needle. I prefer this to blanket stitch because it stays in place but it is slower to work. The final row is called Rosette of Thorns. In fact it is 2 rows of thorns worked back to back.
To fill the remaining space, I drew two circles, one inside the other and worked blanket stitch in a round. Finally, I added a couple of the beads I bought in Amsterdam. I don't think the scan shows how beautiful these beads are. The bead at the tip of the paisley design is a faceted green glass bead with a pink core. I don't know what the other bead style is called, it is a flat glass bead with pale opaque pink in the centre and a darker transparent pink around the edges.
Whew, a mamoth TAST and a mamoth blog.