Thursday, 1 December 2011

Detached Buttonhole Leaf on the bias and Kindle versus i-Pad

The book was returned by the publisher for signing off and consequently threw my progress with St Katherine out of sync.  Then, for some strange reason I noticed I now have a mountain of mending, including altering 2 sets of curtains!  However, in all of that I managed to return to a particular conundrum and apply some clearer thinking

Detached Buttonhole Leaf stitched on the bias

In August I was studying leaf formation, especial sharp points and serrated edges on period pieces.

I said then that I wasn’t happy with the version below but have since changed my mind and accept and stand by what I said in the Summer about stitching DBH directly and outlining the shapes afterwards:


Especially as someone – who has to remain anonymous – sent me a super large image of a period flower motif that you can clearly see has been stitched directly and neatly, without outlining beforehand.  It certainly fits in very much with certain configurations of thread that I can see on the images I have access to.   

That brings me back to a particular (blue) leaf that I keep returning to but have been unable to figure out.  It seems that now finally, I have made some progress.

I took a fresh look at it and realised it could not have been stitched in the normal way.  By that I mean it must have been stitched on the bias, or diagonally.

The reason I think they did that was because you find very quickly when attempting more complex shapes that if you start at a narrow pointed end, like the base of a leaf say, you end up having to stretch the tiny piece of fabric that you create too much.  Comparing period pieces, you can see their work was not stretched in this way, but rather fuller and more compact.  So I’ve found that its better to begin with a greater number of stitches.  In so doing, this makes creating points and later decreasing them, much easier.  Funny how when you begin to notice  shapes worked that way, you suddenly end up seeing a lot of more them.

So these next pictures are pretty self-explanatory.

DBH leaf stitched on the bias

Below you can see how I started the leaf on the bottom left hand side with a cording row onto which I placed roughly 14 stitches.

The shape is not outlined beforehand but when I completed it, I stem stitched some outer edges as discussed before.

What was different with this figure was, as I stitched I held the work in this position.  This made the whole thing a lot easier and much faster.

DBH leaf stitched on the bias 2

When I came to work the points, I extended the tips even more by finishing them off with a detached chain stitch, as I can see they have done on the original.

Old Books and Kindle Downloads

When it comes to choosing an e-reader, the choice is mainly between a Kindle or an i-Pad. 

I chose Kindle because as an e-reader, it has zero glare. 

I planned to download lots of really old, out of print, black & white books, like A History of Secular Embroidery by M Jourdain:


‘The Internet Archive’ website (sorry no links at this time, but you can Google it) is marvellous for offering Kindle format versions that you can download as a Mobi file, then send to yourself via your Kindle email account – the whole process is lightening quick.  The illustrations come out really well but as I said, I bought it mainly for text.

If I had bought an i-Pad, as its a device that displays colours, I could start say, buying craft books as e-books and save a lot of space but the i-Pad is a lot more than an e-reader and is basically another computer screen.  So, simply to read large amounts of text, I came back to my Kindle. 

I find, especially when my eyes are tired, the last thing I can cope with is any kind of glare.  Furthermore, you can increase the font size as a default setting for all your books.  Added to which, its one-armed reading in bed! 

Recently I extended that idea and bought a leather cover by Tuff-Luv which includes a hands-free stand in guess what colour….cherry yoghurt pink!


While I still had the original 1910 book out of the library I was able to compare the downloaded file to it for possible discrepancies and formatting compromises.  I was pleased to note that there was very little ‘lost in translation’, as it were.

The only thing to remember when selecting which version of a book to download, is that early Kindle conversion files tend to be not as smooth, so you should select copies that indicate how popular they are by the number of times they have been downloaded.  

Gotta go ppl!



  1. Beth Lea -

    I think of you often and hope you are doing well. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!


  2. Hi BethLea,

    Thanks for confirming what I've long suspected - that at least sometimes the motif was outlined in stem after the DBH was done. I think this would work better in motifs with intricate details like the leaf you show.

    The DBH on the bias is an interesting idea. Can you point me in the direction of some Eliz pieces in which they stitched the motifs this way? I've checked the images of pieces that I have, but can't find any stitched on the bias.

    I never thought of a kindle for downloading the old e-texts. I don't read much in bed as I find it too painful to hold a book, even while sitting. Do you prefer reading on a kindle as opposed to a regular computer, if you factor out the holding part? (I've been considering purchasing a kindle or e-reader of some kind)

    Love your work!

  3. Hi Shirley

    Sorry I haven't replied on here sooner. We have spoken since. Thank you for your good wishes, which are heartily reciprocated.

    We went to Madeira for some sunshine, have not caught up as yet. Phew!

    Beth :)

  4. Hi Kimberly

    Thanks a lot for your comment, I'm so glad I'm not the only one that suspects some of the outlining was completed after filling the shapes.

    I will dig out the image I was working from for the biased leaf and let you know the museum number. I'm pretty sure its a free a download from V&A website.

    Ah-ha kindles! Well it just so happens I'm making a Kindle cover at the moment, so will probably refer to it and more info, generally.

    I just read your post on Up + Down Buttonhole - great read, I like that stitch for curved areas, as you have done.

  5. Hi Beth,
    As I mentioned I'm looking into e-readers. You mentioned that glare is a problem for you on the iPad. It was for me as well until a friend showed me how to change the screen. Now I have the option to do white print on black screen, black print on white screen or the no glare at all option, black print on antique white screen -called a sepia theme.

  6. Hi Kimberly

    If I had the choice, I would own both a Kindle and an iPad. I really think they are each unique at what they do. For straight paperbacks I would always grab the Kindle: very relaxing way to read large amounts of text.

    The iPad however, would work so well to download craft books as the display is in colour and that would save soooo much physical space!