The Inexact Buttonhole
Or how imprecise a woodcut can really be.
As I started this article I thought this would be the best description of the woodcuts that all publishers were using about 1880 to 1910. See if you think it was a good title.
As to woodcuts, they were just about all the publishers had to give the readers a picture of what was being discussed in the books. They were carved from wood, a tedious, time consuming task that required great skill. But, that skill did not extend to the topic they were carving.
If you look at the right side of the second row of stitches in this drawing you will see that the last two stitches are different from the rest of the stitches in that row.
The picture or diagram of those last two stitches shows the working thread coming up behind the loops in the previous row. (This idea is wrong, but if you wanted to do it that way it would work if done consistently.)
Imagine the poor stitcher looking at that diagram. You might be thinking that 'anyone' could see that error and ignore it. But what if you never stitched before?
All the author says is the following: "The loops should all be of the same length, and the buttonhole stitches must fall in even lines, forming parallel diagonal lines both from the upper right-hand corner toward the lower left, and from the upper left toward the lower right."
Lots of luck! Nowhere is the individual stitch diagrammed. I have seen this over and over again in the books I have researched from this time period.
In the middle diagram, if you look at the third row, the last two sets of stitches, you will see another error. The working thread needs to cross the loop it just formed in this case.
At least the woodcutter was consistent in his work, the last two rows and last two stitches are done differently on a consistent basis in this book.
And imagine the experience of the novice trying to copy the rows in the last diagram. The first row is okay and the second row would be easy to do as diagrammed if the stitcher took the working thread behind the loop above it and then followed the diagram and worked from the left.
The problem is that the second row is diagrammed as having started at the right side of the diagram. Looking at the right edge, the wraps are vertical so the working thread can start at the second row, right side.
But how can it go left? The working thread needs to swing left as it finishes the stitch. The diagram does not offer a solution for that.
I have seen this so many times. Maybe details like the 'buttonhole' stitch diagrams were just not seen as necessary by the publisher.
This is not corrected until the individual stitcher began publishing. Her experience with novice stitchers helped her understand their needs. We try, we really, really do. copyright 2011, Linda Fontenot, http://www.americanfolkarts.com/
Welcome back to American Folk Arts' blog. Technology keeps moving forward and I have to keep updating my website. This Google Blog will contain all the projects from us and the site will be the reference for all the topics mentioned here. You will be able to access anything you want from us at either portal.
I've been busy preparing a new module for you about the laces I want to share with you. Lace is a forgotten and very much misunderstood art form. And I realize your time is limited so the projects will be smaller ones that you can do quickly. And I will offer a variety of ways to display your treasures! These little jewels are a wonder, I would like to have a box full of them so that I could arrange and rearrange them ceaselessly.
Something New I have a new feature to the left of this column at the bottom of that column, it is a listing called 'Stitch Dictionary.' There you will see an item called 'Wrapped Bars', if you click on it, you will be taken to the explanation. Sometimes, you will have to scroll down the page to find the exact item I have mentioned under the heading like the one called "Diagonal Wrapping of Bars" in the topic 'Wrapped Bars.' I know they have 'targets' for these topics but I have been around a long time and I remember having to rework my website because they did away with the 'targets.' %^(
Top of the Page You might have noticed there are topics running across this article. You can explore those pages for projects and drawings.
I have spent a lot of time arranging these pages in the past and have decided to change the style of my pages because I would really rather sew than spend hours with the layout of pages of instructions. To that end the photos that accompany the instructions will be at the end of the article, they will be large and can be printed. They are copyrighted by me, but you have permission to make a single copy for your personal use. These designs are not for resale or distribution without written permission from me. If someone wants a copy of any of these articles please direct them here to make their own copies. These are all copyrighted items.