The band sampler is progressing quickly, and I like it more than I thought I would. It’s good to get finished with the cool tones and on to the warmer ones; they really tie in the purple at the top. Technically the lime green is my halfway color, but the yellow really feels like the turning point for this piece. Now we’re getting into some of the stitches I’m really looking forward too – feather stitch, up-and-down alternating buttonhole, and even more interesting variants of chain stitch.
See: Baby Peasant Dress
Feather stitch is one of my favorite stitches to add a bit of color to an edge. We’ve put it on all sorts of things, from baby dresses to the collars of tunics. It can be worked straight, curved, evenly or very natural – and it’s a wonderful stitch to add a bit of greenery to a bouquet, as well. The little sprigs on each side can be done in all different ways; they can be doubled up, lengthened or shortened, or ornamented with other stitches like French knots. There will be a yellow line of feather stitch on the sampler, and a crimson line of double feather stitch down near the bottom too.
Up-and-down alternating buttonhole is a strange variation on an old favorite – buttonhole stitch. This one is third from the bottom, making a knotted line with pairs of stitches coming off either side. We’ve used buttonhole stitch twice already, both at the very top and for the line of open blue x’s. Both of these stitches involved stitching from the line up to the points of the buttonhole stitch, and then coming back along the line for another. Up and down buttonhole is a bit more complicated. The first stitch of each pair is stitched away from the line, but the second stitch is made back down towards it, and the working thread is wrapped around them forming a neat little bundle. It was a bit complicated to figure out, but I think it will lend itself to some interesting possibilities.
The yellow and orange bands bring us to several variations of chain stitch as well. Chain stitch in its simplest form can be seen third from the bottom (just above the yellow and orange interlaced band). It’s an easy stitch that makes an almost braided smooth line. Cable chain is a more open variation that makes what almost looks like an anchor’s chain of big links – the yellow in the interlaced band above. Those big open links can be interlaced or whipped just like simpler stitches and would make a very pretty frogging all in the same color. Another variation of chain stitch that we’ll be stitching in the orange section is called sailor’s stitch. Originally used to secure the edges of sails, this cross between chain stitch and buttonhole makes a sturdy and surprisingly decorative edge.
So far this has been a lovely little sampler, and it’s given me all sorts of ideas for more to come. I considered organizing this sampler by stitch type, but I think I’ll save that idea for another project. There are enough variations of common stitches to make half a dozen samplers each focusing on a single stitch family. One day, maybe, I’ll record them all. This has been a fun interlude, but I can’t wait to get it finished and mounted so I can focus on some other projects!