The Creative Corner · Vintage Needlework

Lazy Daisy Stitch Projects

Today I have two small Lazy Daisy stitch projects for you. These are suitable for a small frame. Or they would look wonderful decorating one end of two scarves, at the top or pocket of an apron, or even embellishing the back of a jacket. Do you need a small decorated pillow? They would rock that as well. If you need a stitch review, you can find it in Part 1 and Part 2.

Flowers in flowerpot

You can see the first project above. This design measures about 5.5 inches square. You can print out the image above at about 90% of its full size. Or simply sketch it from the picture inside a 5.5 inch box. This design is 100 years old and somebody drew it freehand to begin with. Who’s going to know if your dimensions are a tiny bit off?

Once you get the design transferred to your fabric, you will need to grab your colors. The original was embroidered in fine embroidery yarns like 1 or two strands of tapestry yarn. (It comes with four strands together.) You could use one strand of pearl cotton or four strands of embroidery floss instead.

Colors you will need

You will need:

  • pale jade green for leaves
  • orchid
  • old rose
  • heliotrope
  • yellow
  • delft blue

How to embroider the flowers and flowerpot

  • Begin with the leaves in tree stitch. Start at the tip. Use the green.
  • Use chain stitch for the stems. Also in green.
  • The tendrils use the green in back stitch. (This is the curly line coming off the stem.)

The large flower is worked in chain stitch from the outside in. Starting with the outer row:

  • The outer row is lazy daisy stitch in orchid.
  • Work the row inside that with lazy daisy stitches in old rose.
  • Complete a row of chain stitch in the rose.
  • Inside the chain stitch, a row of lazy daisy stitches in heliotrope. The tips of the daisies will go into the chain of the previous row.
  • Make the center in a yellow tree stitch. Start at one end and work to the other.

The circular flowers

Circular flower 1

Complete the two circular flowers by making eight long lazy daisy stitches. For the lower flower, make the daisy stitches in orchid. Then with rose, weave over and under the stitch arms like you see in the illustration above. Complete the flower with a yellow center of tiny lazy daisy stitches or French knots.

Circular flower 2A

For the upper flower, make the spokes in heliotrope and complete the flower in the same color. Instead of weaving over and under, this time you will loop around and around the two threads that make each lazy daisy stitch as you see above.

Circular flower 2B

After the first row or two you will loop around each individual thread of the daisy stitch, as above. This makes a nice, tightly woven flower. Make the weaving as large or as small as you like. Again, make a yellow center.

The bowl

The upper edge of the bowl is in separated lazy daisy stitches. They march in a line across the rim. Keep the loops a bit loose so that the line of stitches and their spaces appear even. This row is in delft blue. Then:

  • Hanging from the top border of the bowl, seven woven drops dangle.
  • Work a row of back stitch in rose just above the blue chain stitch.
  • Also use back stitch for the two lines coming down from the sides of the bowl, but work these in blue.
  • Use jade in regular chain stitch for the sides of the bowl.
  • Also use jade for the bottom of bowl, but work closely-spaced separated chain stitches.
  • Above this line, work four points in tree stitch, as you see in the illustration below.
Use four different colors for this tree stitch.

Use four different shades of thread or yarn for these stitches. The first, or inner, stitch is yellow. Follow that with heliotrope, then orchid, and finally rose for the largest outside stitch.

Circular Medallion

Circular medallion, six inches in diameter

I liked this design a lot. For some reason this one really appealed to me, and I’ll try to find something to embroider it onto.

This would be a great decoration for a vintage style handbag or small pillow. It measures six inches in diameter.

The colors

To work the second of the lazy daisy stitch projects you will need one or two strands of tapestry yarn, pearl cotton, or four strands of embroidery floss. The original instructions even suggested four-fold Germantown, which was worsted knitting wool. The worker would then separate the four strands and use one at a time. The color list:

  • medium dull blue, like DMC 793
  • dark dull blue, like DMC 792524
  • light/medium blue green, like DMC 518
  • dark blue green, like DMC 3760
  • gray-green, like DMC 524
  • heliotrope, like DMC 33
  • flame, like DMC 347 or any red/red-orange that you like

Usually I don’t match DMC colors to vintage patterns, but the suggestions for this particular design were very vague. It suggested two shades of dull blue. What in the world is that? I had to consult a DMC color chart so I could figure it out for myself. While I was there, I decided to jot down the numbers that I found. If you have a selection of threads in this color range that you think works better, by all means use them.

The flower

Detail of flower center

This illustration shows how the flower center is worked.

  • The very center horizontal satin stitches are in flame/red/red-orange.
  • To the right and left of the flame stitch, work tree stitch. Begin at the center and work out to the edges. Use the lighter blue-green thread.
  • Surround the oval with back stitch in heliotrope.
  • The first lazy daisy row, closest to the flower center, is in dark blue.
  • Use gray to complete a second row of daisy stitches, about half the size, at the ends of the first daisy row.
  • Extending from the flower center, work the large petals in light blue tree stitch.
  • Connect the petals close to their tips with buttonhole stitch done in heliotrope.

The rest of the embroidery

Here’s how to complete the embroidery.

  • Work the central flower stem in dark blue-green tree stitch.
  • The two leaves closest to the flower are the lighter blue-green. Use tree stitch for this as well.
  • Work the small tendrils (curly lines) coming from the top two leaves in lighter blue-green, using back stitch.
  • The large dark tendrils coming from the base of the flower stem are back stitched in dark blue-green.
  • All other leaves and tendrils are in gray-green.

Next Lesson

And this concludes Lazy Daisy Stitch Projects. The next embroidery lesson series focuses on appliqué. If you enjoy the look of Twenties and Thirties appliqué quilts and needlework, you won’t want to miss it.

The Creative Corner · Vintage Needlework

Lazy Daisy Stitches Part 2

Illustration of two needles making a flower with lazy daisy stitch variations. The top section looks like a flying saucer and the bottom section, the petals, look like raindrops falling from the flat saucer portion.
Variations of lazy daisy stitch creates a vintage project

In this second installment of Lazy Daisy Stitches, I give you several more variations of the stitch. If you missed the first part, you can find it here. It includes the original stitch, and the introduction to Lessons in Embroidery for Beginners: Lesson Five. You’ll also find several variations that you will need for the upcoming projects.

The original article discussing lazy daisy stitches covered a page and a half of very small type on a large-format magazine page. With eleven examples and much discussion to go with them, it posed much too long for any modern web page. However, taken at one time, it did provide a nice month’s amusement for the needleworker who wanted to master and expand the lazy daisy stitches and variations.

The first time we discussed the actual lazy daisy stitch, leaf sprays, a dedicated leaf stitch, and single spaced daisy stitches. This time you will learn four more variations. However, I don’t know that one of them really counts as a lazy daisy stitch. The original author Ethelyn Guppy thought so, though. We rely on her expertise in 1928.

Covered Open Daisy Stitch

A needle and thread embroiders a zigzag pattern by forming buttonhole stitches over a stationary thread tacked down in a V shape.
Open lazy daisy stitches, or fly stitches, make a zig zag.

I’m not sure what else you would call this. No description appears in the text.

To make this stitch you first complete a row of open lazy-daisy stitches, often called the fly stitch. They are made like the second and successive rows of the leaf stitch. You come out at the left top edge of the stitch and take the needle back into the fabric at the right top edge. The needle goes underneath and catches the loop at the bottom of the stitch, in the middle.

Once your first row is complete, go back over the arms of the stitch with a buttonhole stitch. This can be the same color as the foundation, or a different color. Your call.

Hebedo Stitch

Buttonhole stitches made in groups of two.
Not a lazy daisy stitch.

This is actually a form of a buttonhole stitch. It is not in any way a lazy daisy stitch. However, one of the projects originally featured in this lesson was a hand towel. The article suggested this stitch as a decorative hem. So how do you make it?

If you know how to make a buttonhole stitch from Lesson Four, you can make this easily. Normally you would come up from the bottom of the fabric and lift the top thread as you go back down. The needle passes under the thread top to bottom. Right?

This time, you come out of the fabric from the bottom. You reach behind the top thread and send the needle underneath, back to front. This creates a little twist or loop at the top of the fold. Then you bring the needle from the front and take it back down behind.

In the example above, the stitches are completed in groups of two. This adds strength the the edge as well as a decorative element. Two threads, in this case, are better than one.

Points in Tree Stitch

Three sets of embroidered Tree Stitch, a variation of the lazy daisy stitch.

This is made just like the leaf or tree stitch described in Part 1 of the Lazy Daisy series. Instead of beginning with closed lazy daisy stitches, however, you start with open ones.

Woven Drops

Illustration of woven drop stitch: long narrow lazy daisy stitches that the thread is woven back and forth through the bars. They look somewhat like long pine cones. A set of three: a loop in process, a long finished drop, and a shorter finished drop.

First make a long, narrow lazy daisy stitch. Then bring the thread back up just under the tip and weave back and forth back towards the starting point. These make nice accent pieces.

Next time

The next embroidery installment will be Part 3, two small projects for the lazy daisy stitch. Stay tuned!

The Creative Corner · Vintage Needlework

Embroidering Lazy Daisy Stitches

Stylized Twenties flower in embroidery. A dark stem and eight mirror-image leaves lead to an open flower head. Curlicues in running stitch form a background for the flower.
Make this with variations of the lazy daisy stitch and some running stitches.

Welcome to Lesson Five of Embroidery for Beginners. This installment of the vintage embroidery series focuses on embroidering lazy daisy stitches. Although we may know how to make the stitch, it has lots of variations that you might enjoy using. In fact, this one lesson offers eleven different stitches, plus several project options. Because of this, Lesson Five appears in three articles rather than the usual two. We have a lot of material to cover.

First, if you haven’t done the lazy daisy stitch, you’ve surely seen it in embroidery. It’s that loopy stitch used to make flowers. Sometimes it appears as open leaves below a flower.

The stitch actually had several names. Early on it was called the bird’s eye stitch because workers thought it resembled the eye of a bird. Perhaps they found the stitch useful for making simple eyes for the birds that appeared on so many embroideries at the turn of the century, 1890-1910. It got its common name, lazy daisy stitch, from the way it resembled the daisy petal and its perfect use in representing the flower on fabric. In the Twenties it became known as the loop stitch although you can see that didn’t stick, although it was accurate.

Actually, the lazy daisy stitch is a single chain stitch. We covered the chain stitch in Lesson Two. Even in the Twenties the lazy daisy stitch was maligned. Many designers considered it “too easy” and thus omitted it from pieces. This is unfortunate, because the lazy daisy stitch adds so much to the mountainside and cottage flower gardens which were so popular at the time.

The point of this lesson was to show that yes, the lazy daisy stitch provides the easiest way to make a daisy. However, its use extends far beyond the simple daisy into some intricate-looking needlework.

The daisy stitch

Illustration showing how to make a lazy daisy stitch in embroidery.
Making the lazy daisy stitch

Here you see the needle making a daisy-style flower. Begin without placing a knot at the end of the thread, as usual. Make two or three tiny running stitches along a line that will be covered by the thread to hold the strands in place.

Bring the needle, with all the working thread, up from below at the base of the petal. Put it down again in nearly the same place, perhaps a couple threads to the right or left. At the same time, hold the thread on the surface under your left thumb as though you were making a buttonhole stitch. Bring the needle out at the tip of the petal, over the thread strand or strands. Draw up the thread gently and evenly to form the petal, and then put the needle through the fabric just outside the loop. This forms a tiny stitch to hold the loop in place.

Bring the needle up at the base of the next petal and repeat.

For large petals, use a rather heavy thread. If you use stranded embroidery floss, use enough strands in the needle to give each petal a full look.

Leaf spray in lazy daisy stitch

Embroidered leaf spray. A line of straight stitches that forms a gentle arc. This is the stem. Four loops on each side of the stem made in lazy daisy stitch, with one loop at the end of the stem. Text: Lazy daisy stitches used as leaves.

Here is a leaf spray made in the same stitch, with a stem made in back stitch. First create the back stitch stem, and then place the leaves onto it. Work the lazy daisy stitches as you come to them, back and forth under the stem, finishing with the loop at the end.

Tree or Leaf Stitch

This variation of the lazy daisy stitch makes beautiful leaves. You begin at the top point of the leaf.

Make a lazy daisy stitch to start, bringing the needle out at the top left of the first stitch and back down at the top right. Then to secure the loop, bring the needle out just a bit to the left of the first stitches, and put it in a bit to the right. As you see, this will make the center holding stitches slant just a little.

For your second stitch bring it out a bit below and to the left of the fist stitch, and back in a little to the right and below the first daisy. Your holding stitch should appear under the first one, also slightly slanted. Continue in this way until the leaf is completed.

Separated lazy daisy stitches

Single line of lazy daisy stitches. The needle has made one, is finishing the second, and has dipped under the fabric and back up again to begin the third. Illustration from 1928.
A line of daisy stitches, all in a row

Sometimes when you are embroidering lazy daisy stitches, you want a different effect. Here the stitches march in a line, creating a loose border. The stitches are made exactly the same as a regular daisy stitch. But instead of returning to the center for the next loop, the needle continues in a straight line.

Next time

Next time I’ll introduce three more variations. In Part 3 we’ll put it all together with a six-inch round medallion and a five and a half inch flowerpot that would make a beautiful scarf decoration. Both are made almost entirely with lazy daisy stitches and variations.

The Creative Corner · Vintage Needlework

Projects Using Buttonhole Stitches

Last lesson we looked at buttonhole stitch embroidery. If you missed it, you can locate that lesson here. This time we’re going to look at projects using buttonhole stitches.

People rarely look at the buttonhole stitch and think Wow, I could create an entire project with that! Usually needleworkers use it as an edging. Let’s change that with our dive into Twenties projects using buttonhole stitches.

First, we have The Lonesome Pine pillow that was featured in the last lesson. You’ll find that the Lonesome Pine motif appears quite often in Twenties and Thirties needlework. The term appeared with the publication of a romance called The Trail of the Lonesome Pine in 1908. The book made quite a splash as a romance and it’s still in print.

The Lonesome Pine Pillow

A pillow made from heavy linen. On it is embroidered a pine tree on a hill. The hill and the tree area green. A sun sets in the distance. The sun is orange.

Here, in all its glory, is the Lonesome Pine Pillow. Isn’t it a beauty?

These pillows were often filled with balsam pine needles. It brought the fresh pine air into the room and smelled like the outdoors during months that those who lived among pine trees were stuck indoors.

You don’t have to fill your pillow with pine needles, though. You can use a pillow form or stuffing. That’s what I would do.

This pillow is made from a rough, relatively heavy fabric. The original instructions called for homespun, but you could use heavy linen, a drapery fabric in a neutral shade, or a heavy cotton.

Doing the embroidery

The article called for the pillow to be embroidered with yarn. By “yarn” they probably meant crewel wools, or wool yarn specifically spun and plied for hand embroidery. In the US, The Gentle Art’s Simply Wool is available from needlework shops. In the UK, you can’t go wrong with Appleton Wools. They’ve been around since William Morris was designing tapestries in the 1880s.

The entire 14 x 15-inch pillow is worked in simple buttonhole stitches. Although you can alter anything you like, this project means to be an easy introduction to using the buttonhole stitch as an art needlework stitch.

Use leaf-green for the pine tree and the grass, and two shades of tangerine orange for the setting sun: the darker shade for the two inner rows and the lighter shade for the two outer rows.

Work the sun first

The sun must be worked before the grass, because the grass covers the edge of the sun embroidery. For the grass use irregular long and short buttonhole stitches of varying length, from 1/4 to 1/2 inch, making each step 1/8 inch different from the one before or after. All the grass blades point straight up.

On the tree the needles hang down, with the purling of the buttonhole stitches resting on the upper end of the boughs. The bits of trunk which show are made with two or three vertical stitches.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Obtain a piece of fabric that measures 16 x 29 inches.
  2. Fold the fabric in half and transfer the design. It should be centered side to side and about 1 1/2 inches from the fold. The fold will be the bottom of your pillow.
  3. Embroider the design in buttonhole stitch using your green and orange threads.

When you’re finished, fold the fabric so the right side of the embroidery is on the inside and sew around the three sides, leaving a big enough gap that you can turn the pillow inside out. Use a 1/2-inch seam. Stuff with the pillow form or stuffing and sew the opening closed with a slip stitch. A 15 x 15 pillow form can be squeezed to fit into this cover, or you can shorten it an inch with the sewing machine and cut off the extra before stuffing it into the cover you embroidered.

If you don’t have a pillow form the right size, take an extra large 1 inch seam along the wider sides, making your pillow 14 x 14 inches.

The design

Here is the design for the pillow. Print the two single pages to fill an entire 8.5 x 11 inch page, then overlap to trace.

The work bag

A tote bag of heavy linen, embroidered with a multi colored bird with a long tail.

This work bag is a little more complicated than a pillow. It’s designed to carry a 1920s needlework magazine along with the materials you need for a project. Thus arrayed, you appear at the next sewing circle in style!

You can make the bag from the same fabric you used for the pillow. You need a piece of fabric that measures 14 x 34 inches. Cut one long 2 1/2 inch piece off the side, so your pieces now measure 2 1/2 x 34 and 11.5 x 34. The thin strip becomes your handles.

You will also need some kind of firmly woven cotton lining, a sateen or comparable fabric, cut 12 x 30. Choose a color to that harmonizes with your bag. Fold the fabric in half so you have a rectangle that measures 12 x 15, wrong sides together. Sew a 1/4 inch seam up each narrow side so the rectangle measures 11.5 x 15. Turn it right sides together, sew another 1/4 inch seam in the same place you did before (you’ve made French seams so they won’t fray). Leave it this way, with the right sides on the inside, and turn a 1/2 inch hem along the top. Press the hem and leave it until you need to insert it into the finished bag.

Handles first

Turn in 1/4-inch along each long side, and then fold in half lengthwise. You should have a strip 1 inch wide. Cut it in half so that you have two strips 1 inch x 17 inches.

Using a sewing machine, sew the strap together 1/8 inch from the long turned edges.

OR, if you prefer, you can cut them in half to measure 17 inches in length. Then sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance along the long edges of each strap. Turn right side out, and press.

Now the bag

The instructions for this suggest that embroidery decorates both sides of the bag, and they are identical.

Print the design to fill a whole 8.5 x 11 inch page. Transfer the bird and lines twice, extending the lines to 2 inches from the top and bottom edges of the fabric.

The first half circle is included. Duplicate the smaller three rings of the circle in the appropriate places on the fabric.

Colors you will need

The bag calls for the same type of crewel yarn as the pillow above. Pearl cotton might work well in lieu of wool if you can’t find any or don’t have wool. Use size 5 pearl cotton.

  • tan
  • turquoise blue
  • brilliant orange
  • pale yellow
  • deep yellow
  • medium orange
  • brown

How to work the embroidery

Work the long tail feathers of the bird with close (together) buttonhole stitch. Bring the stitches close to the central vein of the feather and place the purls on the edges. With the blue, back stitch over every two threads using the blue. Make the back stitches close to the purling.

Work the front part of the bird with the blue in Brussels net stitch. Catch the stitches into the material at each edge, and let the center stitches float. Make the loops at the back of the neck shorter while you allow those on the breast to be a bit longer. This will help give you the correct curve. Finish the outer edge of the bird’s head and body with close back stitches in blue. Use these to hide the ends of the buttonhole stitches.

For the eye, make one chain stitch in bright orange.

The back of the bird, beyond the spread wings, is made from four rows of buttonhole stitch. The outer row is pale yellow, then deep yellow, followed by medium orange and brilliant orange last, closest to the front part of the bird.

The lower edge of the wings are outlined with a row of chain stitching in tan. The top row of each wing is buttonholed in brilliant orange. The next row down is brown. Then two rows of tan. Work the second row of tan into the chain stitches all across the wings. Just outside the chain stitches, work a row of back stitches in blue.

The borders

Work the outer row of the half circles in tan, with blue back stitches across each two strands, just as you did for the tail feathers. The next row is brown, the next deep yellow. For the larger half circles that contain four rows, make the inner row light yellow. Work all the half circles before working the straight vertical lines.

The straight lines which run from bottom to top of the bag are worked in tan. You will continue these tan lines on the handles. Work both sets of lines in fish hook stitch with the hooks facing the insides, towards each other.

Finishing the bag

Before making up the bag you need to turn a 1/4 inch hem all the way around. For the first two inches from the corners and across both ends, turn the fabric to the RIGHT side. This portion will fold to the outside to make the decorative flaps. For the rest of the bag turn the hem to the WRONG side. You will cut a small slit, just shy of 1/4 inch, into the edge of the fabric where you want to turn from back to front and back again.

If you are using a heavy fabric, you don’t have to sew a hem. Simply turn the 1/4 inch, press it, and pin it. Finish the entire edge with a blanket stitch, making the stitches a bit short on the sides. In other words, they need to be closer together than they normally would in a true blanket stitch. Use the photo as a guide.

When you get to the corners, space the stitches around the curve enough that you can fit a back stitch of blue between the stitches later. Finish off the top two inches of each bag with the blue back stitches before continuing.

Fold the bag together, embroidery facing out, and fagot the sides of the bag with blue. At the top of the bag, fold the flap down, and make a small buttonhole loop joining the front and back flaps together at the fold. Repeat for the other side.

Now tack the flap down with a few blind stitches.

The handles

Remember the handles that you finished first and set aside? If you haven’t already, embroider two strips of fish hook buttonhole stitch on each handle, 1/2 inch apart, in tan.

Attach the handles to the bag so that the embroidery lines are continuous up one side of the bird, across the handle, and down the other side of the bird. You will want them sewn more than 1/2 inch below the fold on the inside so that the lining covers the join.

The lining

You probably finished the lining at the very beginning while you were gathering supplies. If you have it ready, sew it in now. It should fit just inside the bag and sit about 1/2 inch below the top fold line.

You did it!

Whew! That was a lot of work. Do you like it? It’s a bit amazing, isn’t it, that projects using buttonhole stitches can turn out this varied.

Vintage Needlework

Buttonhole Stitch Embroidery

1920s photo of an embroidered pillow. A pine tree stands on a hill while the sun sets. Text: The Lonesome Pine Pillow.
This vintage pillow is embroidered completely with buttonhole stitch variations.

If you’ve never explored buttonhole stitch embroidery, you are in for a treat. Use this one stitch movement in many different ways for various effects. This is Lesson Four in the Beginning Embroidery Lessons series from 1927-28. If this is your introduction to the series, after reading this you may want to start at the beginning with Lesson One.

Buttonhole stitch

Although we know this stitch as the Buttonhole Stitch, it isn’t the stitch we use to actually work buttonholes. Very close, but not the same. This stitch — which you are probably familiar with if you’ve done any embroidery at all — is worked left to right, with the finished edge closest to you. You hold the loop still with your left thumb while passing the needle over it, and pulling it tight you get a nice little purl along the edge.

Illustration of buttonhole stitch in embroidery

Made very close together and firm, this stitch serves well as a finished edge, with the rest of the fabric cut away (Hardanger embroidery and linen embroidery both use this technique). This way the finished edge doesn’t fray.

When you work the regular buttonhole over a turned hem, the stitches can be further apart. They still need to be even and regular.

Long and short buttonhole

Illustration of long and short buttonhole stitch in embroidery

Make this variation by alternating long stitches with short ones. If you like, you can change it further by taking two or three stepped stitches up to a long stitch and then two or three steps down. This creates more of a pyramid shape, and it goes in and out of popularity.

Blanket stitch

Illustration of blanket stitch in embroidery

This version of the buttonhole stitch got its name from its use for thick fabrics like blankets. Too thick to hem normally, the blanket stitch held everything in place.

For this stitch, make regularly spaced buttonholes whose length is about the same as the space between them. One variation of this stitch is shown below. Complete the blanket stitch first, and then insert back stitches between the stitches. You can use the same color for both passes, or different ones.

Illustration of buttonhole stitch with back stitches in between each stitch.

Grouped buttonhole stitches

This variation actually begins with a chain stitch. Work the chain stitch line first, on one side of the space to be embroidered. Then work the buttonhole stitches into the lower loop of the chain stitch and into the fabric below. Leaving a little space between every two or three stitches makes a lacy effect.

If you like, you can work back stitch over each group of stitches close to the purl. Done in one color, this emphasizes the texture of the stitch. Done in two colors, it emphasizes the color changes. Making the chains and back stitches in one color and the buttonhole stitches in another can be very effective.

Circular buttonhole stitch

When filling in a circle or working a flower, the buttonhole stitch is worked around a center point. Take almost all the stitches in the same place, letting the buttonholes surround the edge of the circle. When doing circular buttonhole stitch, occasionally take a short stitch as you move around the circle so the stitches don’t crowd one another and pile up in the center.

Cretan Stitch

Image of New England stitch, a modified buttonhole stitch that makes leaves.

This filling stitch is based on the buttonhole stitch, but the purl comes in the center rather than at the edge. It’s also sometimes called the New England Stitch. These leaves appear often in the blue and white Deerfield embroidery as well as folk embroidery from central Europe.

To make this stitch, the needle goes in at the line, first on one side and then the other, and it comes out beyond the center line on a slant. Taking a stitch to the right and then to the left makes both the leaf shape and the center purl.

Buttonhole loops

Image of buttonhole stitches worked over a loop.

While you may be familiar with these to hold buttons in place on the back of a dress, they also function to heighten interest within an art needlework piece.

Little buttonholed loops are a happy addition to a flower. They provide good filler for narrow spaces, one loop after the other.

To make it, carry two or three threads across the fabric and then covered closely with buttonhole stitches.

Fish hook stitch

Image of buttonhole stitches worked vertically to resemble fish hooks.

This stitch gets its name from its appearance. A vertical buttonhole stitch works well for thin lines and flower stems.

To make this stitch, put the needle into the fabric and bring it out on the line, keeping the thread always on one side. For a different effect, throw it first to the right and then to the left like the illustration below.

Image of buttonhole stitches worked vertically, alternating from left to right, to look like fish hooks.

Fagoting buttonhole stitches

Image of two rows of buttonhole stitches worked parallel. In between them a thread laces from bar to bar to create a looped stitch between the two rows.

For wide stems or lines, work two rows of blanket stitches close together. Then join them with a fagoting stitch, work from side to side, passing the needle under the loop between the blanket stitches to unite them. This is also good for filling long, narrow leaves. Edge the leaves with chain stitch first to give them a finished look.

Brussels net stitch

Buttonhole stitches worked in a pyramid to look like a net. This is loose from the fabric in the middle and called the Brussels net stitch.

Brussels net is also a variation of the buttonhole stitch. Made almost entirely on the surface of the fabric, work a row of stitches into those of the previous row. Work back and forth across the space, catching only the end stitches into the fabric.

This is actually a needle lace stitch rather than embroidery, but it’s useful for filling open spaces in embroidery.

Flower buttonholes

Buttonhole stitches worked in groups of three, with the long ends together to look like bells or flowers.

Here little groups of buttonholes gather like flowers. They sit completely detached from one another, sprinkled on the fabric.

Buttonhole stitches worked in groups of three along an edge. It looks like a row of flowers.

Or you can set them in a row for a dainty edging. This works well to cover a narrow hem with embroidery. Possible uses include handkerchiefs, dinner napkins, or underlinen like slips.

Next up

The next time I’ll give you a couple options for using these new stitches, drawn from the original article.