Knotted buttonhole ladders

September 21, 2007

News note:

I’m off for vacation and expect to be posting again on October 6 (west coast, usa).


I was experimenting the other day with these knotted buttonhole bars. And they reminded me of ladders, not bars. So I had fun with them as my ideas progressed. I should have snap a few pictures of my uncle’s ladders for comparison.

It started with this bit of “off grid” work.


I moved it to “on grid” work with variations.





Above I didn’t knot the buttonholes on the inside curves, just the outside curves. The thread for the bars is a dark purple. Unfortunately, the colors in the photo are not true to life.


As you may notice this ending leaves me with something to work on while vacationing. The stitching in this row is far from satisfactory but I like the idea.

What more to do with knotted buttonhole bars?

September 20, 2007

I’ve had fun with the knotted buttonhole bars–still disappointed with my consistency in execution. I keep plowing ahead and hope that corrects itself with more practice.



Inside out




A flower


Cross purposes.


Threaded or couched



Buttonholing knotted buttonholes


What more to do with knotted buttonhole bars? I’ve three or four more samples to post, but one has to be rephotographed and they go together in a series. But I have no idea what I’m going to stitch next. Perhaps it’s a sign that I need a vacation soon.

Stitching bars of knotted buttonholes

September 19, 2007

I’m having fun with knotted buttonhole bars and can’t seem to settle down to do much serious work on them. I’ve more ideas that need stitching. If I can find a few spare minutes with my needle again today I’ll be happy. Given my schedule the good light needed for photographs is shrinking as we head into autumn here in California’s central valley.





Not ribbon, I couldn’t find any in a pleasing color. But there was some tissue paper laying around and I decided it would do. Now in the picture below, I used rick rack, no substitute, as the basis for the experiment. The only problem with the rick rack is that the camera can’t seem to capture the fact that it’s purple. The green thread not only held it in place but also acted as the bars for the knotted buttonholes.


TSTC Week 38: The knotted buttonhole band

September 18, 2007

As every Monday afternoon (USA, west coast) I read about Sharon b‘s stitch for the 38th week of the TSTC. It is the knotted buttonhole band and Sharon has provided an excellent step-by step on this stitch in the introduction. It sounded like a lot of fun to try and I started in on it right away. It’s a stitch that is hard for me to execute consistently as the following photos will show. However, that didn’t prevent me from trying out a few experiments.






As you can see just a bit of this and that in trying to figure out how to work with this stitch and make it useful. As an outsider looking in, this stitch seems like a great one for seam treatments since once the simple straight stitches are done everything is worked without moving through the fabrics.

Rice stitches and circles

September 17, 2007

I’ve had some fun with rice stitch circles and more, but no fun trying to get good photos. I’ve had to retake some this morning to round out the post. And I think I should have retaken all of them.

Here are the “on grid” circles.



“Off grid” circles.



As you can see I definitely had my challenges with this off grid work. I had to take to drawing circles and even then my judgement was poor. I need a lot more practice here.

Following an arc or a curve.






tstc37fdiamond.png Oops! I see a tiny triangle, too.

A crooked line.


I’ve enjoyed playing with a familiar stitch this week. And find I have so much more to learn about it. Plenty to keep me stitching for years to come.

Follow up experiments on the rice stitch

September 15, 2007

I’m still in school days mode with the rice stitch and learning a lot along the way.

Following up on a line from Friday’s post, here it is in two grids. On the left I’ve off set the second row and would continue to alternate with each line of the fill. The fill on the right seems like it could also be used as a very nice vertical line with room to embellish the middle area as well as each edge.


One of the reasons I like using the rice stitch as a fill is that it has so many places to make clean breaks at the edges of the fill area. I’ve also used it in an alphabet and found it very nice to work with.

Here are some other tests. I anticipate combining the two on the left as flower petals in future projects. The ones on the right I want to try in grids and lines. I had so many ideas that I couldn’t stitch them all out. But from these small units my imagination just flies unhindered and I see flowers, lines, fills and various shape including circles.


I played with asymmetrical patterns in the second layer both on the cross stitch and the upright cross stitch bases. The next two photos show the results. I’ve not stitched these out in grids or lines. But I see potential in these ideas. Since they are square bases they are easily flipped vertically and/or horizontally when putting together a grid.



I’ve been thinking about what a crazy quilter might do with this stitch. While I can see it being used in a motif, I have a harder time knowing whether it would be useful on seam treatments or not. I see some real draw backs to it. But I’ve been thinking about going off grid to experiment along those lines. The other thing I want to do is follow a curve and do some circles with this stitch. In the past couple of days I’ve been thinking of ways this might done. Now to put it to the test.

School girl’s tests on the rice stitch

September 13, 2007

I’m working happily away on the rice stitch. It really is one of my favorite stitches. Perhaps I don’t enjoy it as much as the queen stitch but it is still very near the top. I think part of the appeal for me is the square with the diamond shape superimposed over it. At the very end of this post there is a sample where the square is almost brought to a circle.

These photos today are testing various changes in the stitch for both pattern and texture.  I hope you enjoy them. I’ve put the single rice stitch above or below a pattern of four. Hopefully this is enough to give an idea of what a line would look like with out stitching it, where as the fills I’ve tried to draw out with the grouping of four stitches together.



Here are a few ideas with lines using variations of the rice stitch. I’ve included the last trial from the photo directly above for comparison’s sake.

tstc37dadditionallines.png  Upon reflection, I think I like the top two patterns better flipped upside down from the way they are photographed. The bottom one is my favorite line. And there is a lot of room to play with it as a fill. Maybe that will be in tomorrow’s samples.

Below is the beginning of some work with more than two stitches in the initial layer of the rice stitch. I’ve not explored too much more than what I’m showing here in previous work with this stitch. My imagination is working but the practicality of it has to be put to the test with stitching. I foresee being a school girl a little longer with this stitch.


Rice stitch – something old, something new

September 12, 2007

Sometime as I sit and stitch I think about the long centuries of stitching history and wonder about the who, when and why of the first rice stitch. Of course, I have no answers. It is such a simple and useful stitch that it seems to me that it must have been a very early stitch. My history with it is very short. But here are a couple of things from my first rice stitch sampler.


As you see even then I was experimenting. The rather sketchy dark green leaves show two different stitch sizes on the initial layer. On the second layer at the outermost edges of the cross stitch, I saw no reason to make the stitches meet in the middle or to complete the fourth stitch to round out the layer.


Above is another experiment. The initial layer is the traditional cross stitch. But on the second I worked two sets of stitches one very close to the center of the cross and a second at the extreme edge. While these stitches in the second set don’t meet in the middle, I completed all four stitches.

If I was stitching this today I probably couldn’t resist using beads in the center of the white fabric squares made by the stitches. But back then I hated beads in needlework since I thought them both distracting and detracting. My thought now is that beads may be useful. Although I’ve certainly found myself using them to bad or poor advantage many times since allowing for their use.


Now, to turn a corner for some of the things I stitched a day or two ago. Here are a few of experiments in texture.


In these next two some play with color also.



Experiments with the rice stitch

September 12, 2007

Here are some of my experiments on the rice stitch. I call them my italicized rice stitches. This is how I thought to myself, does every stitch on the rice stitch need to cross the one it stitches over at ninety degrees? No, I am free to play. May opposite stitches the in the second layer be a different sizes? More areas to explore.

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No crossing at 90 degree angles in the second layer. And the second photo is only showing what happens when moving from more open to denser stitches.

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Differing sizes of some opposing stitches in the second layer. Also differing sizes in the base stitches, but not uncommon and also used in yesterdays samples.

Below I tried just what ever came to mind.

tstc37bgroup1.png tstc37bgroup2.png



There is a lot to challenge my thinking about this stitch.

TSTC Week 37: The rice and boss stitch

September 11, 2007

The rice stitch! Yesterday when I read Sharon b announcement of the TSTC stitch, I didn’t know whether to be glad to study one of my favorites again or groan because I couldn’t imagine thinking up more to do with this stitch. Please do read her excellent introduction to this stitch and a variation on it, the boss stitch. Sharon does a step-by-step on the boss stitch and has illustrated the post with wonderful examples out of her own work.

About five years ago, I spent about a year studying the rice and queen stitches and their variations. As much as possible, I’ve decided to do completely new study on it this week. It is really hard to imagine how fruitful it may be. I worked with it “on grid” last night. My apologies for the picture quality, I had to take the photographs this morning rather than yesterday afternoon. As you can see, the morning light is not bright enough for what I need.

Cross stitch grid

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Upright cross stitch grid

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