I've been doing the buttonhole stitch recently. I'm mentoring in a Basic Hardanger Class for the Yahoo Group StitchMAP and the current lesson is on the buttonhole stitch. I thought I'd better refamiliarize myself with it in case I get asked some tough questions.
The buttonhole stitch is used for blanket edgings and wool embroidery for appliqueing:
I've also used it on crazy quilts:
In these cases, the buttonhole stitch is free-form and fun. In Hardanger it is a bit more precise. Always over 1 thread across and 4 threads down (except when turning corners).
I've done alot of buttonhole edgings:
Althought tedious, they look great, especially filled with eyelets.
The first inch went slowly. I found myself getting off, sometimes over 3 and sometimes over 5. I started over and kept going.
The next day I didn't pick it up - everything else on my to do list looked like more fun. Time for some serious will power. Whenever I want to stitch, I will pick this up first and do at least 2 threads until I'm done. Then I can switch over to something else.
My second session went much smoother - no mistakes on the straight sections but trouble going around corners. The third session went even better. Before I knew it I had stitched 3 threads worth of buttonhole and rounded the first corner (all with no mistakes). All I needed was a little practice to get into the groove.
On the fourth session I rounded the half way mark. It's much easier now. - I barely have to think at all. Now I know how I was able to do those huge buttonhole borders years ago.