Detached buttonhole is a stitch that comes to us from needle lace and all of the early B.E. books show the loops worked from a "bar" or straight stitch. They also show loops added with the needle pointed "down" or toward yourself.
That never really worked for me, and I began to ignore this very versatile stitch. --until I re-adjusted my thinking.
Now, I start all of my detached buttonhole stitch rows with a cast-on stitch first.
I almost always work with the needle pointing up -- or away -- from myself. I found that I can use my left hand to hold the floss and by tugging it slightly, it opens up the loops below and lets me see where to poke the needle.
As much as possible I try to progress in a clockwise direction, or left to right, with my Z-twist rayon floss (if you look at needle lace/detached buttonhole diagrams in our early B.E. books, you'll see they are drawn for S-twist threads). Looping or wrapping Z-twist -- it all has to do with whether the floss "unwinds and flattens" or keeps its shape. If you decide to do dimensional stitches with Perle or any S-twist fiber, you would reverse these suggestions.
Here's another thing that works for me:
That first row you see in dark burgundy is a cast-on. I made 9 loops for this particular petal.
I begin adding my detached buttonhole loops by bringing the needle from back-to-front through the first loop. Then I immediately turn my needle around and go back through that same loop, place the floss behind the needle and finish the stitch. Like this:
I think I pierced the floss, please don't notice.
Because I am a person who always wants to know "the reason why", I'll add my discovery that working counterclockwise someteimes makes the loops "fall down behind", so I usually try to make my last row of detached buttonhole stitches clockwise. As much as possible. It's all in the planning.
By the way, I also DON'T cast on TOO snuggly to the needle. I always think cast-on stitches are so pretty that you lose the "look" if they are tight. When I cast onto my milliners needle, I like to leave the approximate thickness of my fingernail to widen the loops slightly. In other words (since we are supposed to cast on with our left hand while holding the needle with our right), the slight extra width of the loop makes all the difference. Of course, one could always use a larger needle -- like the lovely new #15 milliners needles that are available. Here is a picture of "Maria's Rose" made with #1 and #15 needles that I tried when they first came out a couple of years ago.
By the way, the #15 milliners needle is WONDERFUL for stitching with
Bullions are another story. Unlike cast-on stitches, you have to snug them down for the nicest finish.
On this rainy Sunday afternoon here in Oregon, I've decided it's a good day to stitch and write and snap pictures. Cuthbert thinks it's a good day to ponder upon where birdies go when it rains: