As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m working on an embroidered diary for 2013, as a way to learn new stitches, and to help expand my understanding of stitches I already know. This month, I’m tackling blanket stitch and it’s relatives in the blanket and buttonhole stitch family, and I’ve made good progress on the sampler page. Aided, of course, by my totally helpful and not-at-all aggravating cats.
At first, the plan was just to do a circular sampler very plain, with lines of different stitches. However, around the point where I started playing with a buttonhole wheel, which rapidly became a buttonhole cup, I realised how much they look like the suckers you get on tentacles and thus, inspiration struck. The backing fabric is white cotton. Tentacles are felt applique, fixed to the backing using plain blanket stitch, and the suckers are, of course, buttonhole cups.
The suckers on the tentacles aren’t quite as good as the first, blue, one I made, but I like the look. I’m going to play with more kinds of buttonhole stitch for the tentacles to try and give the appearance of the suckers facing towards or away from the viewer.
The rest of the piece is fairly simple. First row is blanket stitch. Second is buttonhole stitch, which looks very similar until you notice the tiny knots holding the thread tight. This is followed by Rosette of Thorns, a simple stitch worked by varying the length and angle of stitches in blanket stitch. Below that are some raised buttonhole bars and a buttonhole cup.
The next row is Berwick stitch, and I realised after starting it that I really should have completed that row before the Rosette of Thorns, as it’s similarity to buttonhole stitch, only differentiated because of the different style of knot, makes it harder to tell them apart when separated like that. Next is a whipped variation of double-rows of blanket stitch, called Barb stitch. Followed by the related up-and-down blanket stitch and the German knotted blanket stitch, and finally a grid of blanket stitch honeycomb.
I’m going to add more details to the tentacles, some more suckers, but the sampler stitches are almost done. The circular piece is going to be incorporated into a square page, with more blanket stitch in the borders. Overall, I’m pleased with how this turned out, although some of the variations I’m less familiar with did not turn out terribly neat (I’m looking at you, honeycomb!). But with samplers like this, perfection isn’t as important as just achieving an accurate example of the stitch for future reference.
Besides, it’s also given me ideas for the diary page for this month. I think having a dark, eldritch horror of tentacles as the thing representing all the bad of 2012 will work well, and let me play creatively with blanket stitch on the page.