Friday, December 17, 2010

Holly Leaves

The terms buttonhole stitch and blanket stitch are interchangeable, but usually there is more space between stitches when we do the blanket stitch. Buttonhole stitches are very close together.
      When I stitched the design, Madelon, as one of the educational projects in our BDEIG newsletter, The B.E. Wrap-Up, I was able to demonstrate both techniques on the same project. This is another design available in the Guild's Education Projects Book I wrote about in a previous post (just click the link above).

Today I'm just going to write about a technique I thought up that might be useful in your own embroidery projects, not just for holly leaves.

These holly leaves are stitched with the Ridged Buttonhole (or Blanket) Stitch. You'll bring your needle up at the tip of the leaf to start.
     When I'm using Z-twist rayon floss, I usually try to progress (or travel) in a clockwise direction, or from left to right. 

     Turn your work as needed and buttonhole stitch from top to bottom and across the width of the leaf. Ordinarily the buttonhole stitch loop would be at the top of the motif. But after you make the stitch, you can lift the floss and let the buttonhole stitch loop slide down to the center leaf vein.  Here's a diagram, and it will be easy if you put your needle through the fabric in alphabetical order, as shown:

Needle up at "a". Take a fabric bite from "b-c". Lift the floss and let the loop slide down to the center leaf vein. Continue with the next stitch from "d-e" (I guess the "e" is slightly 'invisible' but you have the idea!)  Keep the stitches VERY close together.

[Oops, sorry the diagram is a little "small" ... I'm still working on that!]

But try it. It's fun!

     When these stitches are close enough together, you'll notice that they "ridge" in the center of the leaf.

The Ridged Blanket Stitch (space between stitches) is especially pretty if you are stitching ferns. Do the same thing but use Bouclé and the new #15 milliners needle (or a #18 chenille needle, or a large darner).

But this technique is the easiest way to stitch those complicated holly leaves. By the way, I live in the Pacific Northwest and we have a holly tree farm just down the road from our home. This year we brought home a holly wreath to hang and decorate (verrrrry carefully, ouchie, poke, poke) our front door. 

The berries were already part of the wreath, thank heaven! I just added a bow.

I'll write about a variation of this technique, also shown on the Madelon design, in my next post. 

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