Thursday, January 12, 2012

Take a Stitch Tuesday - Buttonhole Stitch - Week 2

For Take a Stitch Tuesday, there is a different embroidery stitch to learn each week. This week's stitch is the buttonhole stitch.

According to the Pintangle website, "The buttonhole stitch is also known as blanket stitch because it was often used as an edging on blankets .... By altering the lengths of the upright stitches buttonhole can be both decorative and practical. Basic buttonhole stitch is the foundation for a family of stitches."

The buttonhole stitch is one of the first stitches I learned after seeing it used to make felt toys at the local Waldorf school. I wanted to learn how to do this stitch, so I could make toys as well.

Throughout the years, I've made artist trading cards (ATC) that incorporated the buttonhole stitch. Usually, I am doing applique work and need to secure the fabric to the ATC.

ATC Traded - Embroidered Henny Penny Taking a Stroll
Henny Penny Taking a Stroll
(Artist Trading Card)

One of the more labor-intensive projects was a hand-embroidered activity book that I made for my daughters. Each of the 19 pages had different activities to do, and all were outlined in the buttonhole stitch.

In the Garden Page...WIP
 One page from the activity book
I made for my daughters.

I also have enjoyed making toys with wool felt and stuffed with wool from sheep I use to raise.  The buttonhole stitch is an excellent stitch to use to ensure the toy is secure and won't fall apart when played with and used for many years.

Side Profile of Sandman Doll
Sandman toy featuring the buttonhole stitch
to secure the embellishments as well as hold the
front and back pieces together.

Another example of the buttonhole stitch was when I made bags for Valentine's Day one year. I fill them with little gifts for Sophia and Olivia.

Embroidered Valentine's Day Bags
Each bag has six pieces that are connected using the buttonhole stitch.
The designs on the front are hand-cut appliques that are
secured to the bag by the buttonhole stitch.

So, this week I wanted to try something different. Rather than work with felt and fabric - which I'm comfortable doing - I thought I'd try using aida cloth and cardstock paper. I have never tried to do the buttonhole stitch on either of these items, so it was a personal challenge.

As I did last week, I included samples of the buttonhole stitch in my TAST Journal.

Buttonhole stitching done on Aida cloth
and on cardstock paper surrounding a postage stamp.

Given what happened last week (my dad died on January 5th), I chose to focus the stitching as it related to him. The top stiching in done in shades of blue which was his favorite color. There are five groupings of five stitches each (there are five people in our family: dad, mom, my sister, brother, and me). 

Also, as I look at the blues with the green in the middle, it reminds me of the colors of nature - pine trees, leaves, water, and the sky. My dad loved being outdoors and the natural world. He passed that same love of nature onto me.

The postage stamp is glued onto purple cardstock. I stitched around the stamp using the buttonhole stitch. The image on the stamp is one of rainbows and boats. I thought of:
- hope and the promise that things will again be calm and peaceful after a storm (or challenge in one's life);
- a journey to explore a new and different world (as represented by the sailboats); and
- enjoying the wonders of nature.

I also included a journal entry about what happened this week. As I mentioned last week and a bit earlier in this post, my father died on January 5th. He had Alzheimer's Disease during the last few years of his life which was difficult to watch as it robbed him of his mind and ability to function as well as he use to when he didn't have the disease.

On Sunday (January 8th), I created six presentation boards that included highlights from his life. Although it was a lot of work, it was such a joy to be able to look at pictures of my father and the incredibly full life he led. 

This is one of the six boards that I made about my dad's life.
It focuses on the things that brought him
joy, laughter, and reward:
nature, camping, theater, joking around,
playing Santa Claus, and
being a school social worker.

The visitation and vigil service was Monday night, and his funeral and burial on Tuesday.

My dad was a Deacon, so before the Eucharist part of the funeral mass,
all the deacons and priests who were present lined up by the altar.
(This photo was taken by my dad's Stephen Minister, Tom.)

On Wednesday and for the remaining part of the week, I have and will be trying to get back into the routine of daily living and homeschooling. It's say the least. Yet, having something like TAST to keep me connected to my interests - embroidery and writing - is helpful.

The last part of my weekly stitching journal is a list of some of the things and/or people for which I'm grateful. Sometimes I can lose sight of what is truly important when I get overwhelmed or depressed. I want to be able to look back on this past year and be able to read and remember the positive parts of it.

The buttonhole stitch was used to create a sun.
One of the things I was grateful for this week was
the warm weather - it was in the 40s and 50s
during the early part of the week.

I'm happy to be participating in TAST. The combination of journaling, gratitude, and stitching is something that will be meaningful for me, especially as I look back on the year and go through the healing process.


Ty.Jecyka said...

The embroidery is a pleasure for all time in life...I can't do without it and you give evidence of it here :-)
Very nice work!

Rita said...

Wow! You have done a lot of different projects! Love the ATC card with the hen and your journal page is beautiful and meaningful. I can't believe you made both those books for your daughters! That had to take many, many hours. Sometimes I wonder where you get all your endless energy!

Keeping busy is a good thing, though. Helps with grief and depression and loss. The boards you made for your dad--that's such a special thing to do. I'm sure they were greatly appreciated.

I think making your journal this year will be a wonderful thing to look back on. Peace be with you and your family.

Isabelle said...

So cute.

jenclair said...

Love the activity book. Using stitching to honor your dad must be like contemplation and prayer, a way to tend to grief through memory.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

You are very creative. I'm impressed with your art, since I came from CED. All of your projects are great, but I loved the last embroidery photo you shared the most, I think.

Carolyn Dube said...

Your creativity was used in such a touching and meaningful way in the 6 boards you made of your father's life. That had to have touched so many people.

pauline said...

these are so adorable. I don't know the first thing about stitching or embroidery, but it looks like something that requires a lot of patience. :-)

Obviously a labor of love... xoxo