Thursday, August 19, 2010

100 Stitches - Couching

Couching is the latest stitch on my journey through 100 Stitches. Can you see it on this pretty flower? I love this stitch now that I think I know how to do it! Here is my version:
First, you need two different threads. One is the "laid thread" and one is the "stitching thread". The stitching thread holds the laid thread in place.
This is an excellent stitch for outlining curvy lines so I am transferring this flower that is full of curvy lines to use as my stitching example:
I am using two different colors, a light pink- dmc #957 for the laid thread and a darker pink- dmc#602 for the stitching thread. For the laid thread, I am using all six strands of floss and for the stitching thread I am only using three strands of floss. Notice, only the stitching thread has a needle: This first step is where I realized I didn't really understand how to start or end this stitch, but I am going to proceed with how I thought you did this and then explain what I have figured out at the end of my post. So the first step according to 100 Stitches is to lay the laid thread down on the line of your design: Taking the stitching thread, come up through the fabric on one side of your laid thread:
Now go back into the fabric on the other side of the laid thread: Pull all the way through to make a small stitch:
Now come up through the fabric at your preferred distance from the first stitch and go back into the fabric making another stitch:
Just continue stitching the laid thread in place along your curvy line by making these small stitches at evenly spaced intervals:
Keep outlining until you have oulined the whole shape.
Now to what I don't understand. I finished my flower outline and just snipped the laid thread ends - they were just raw ends held down by the stitches but I don't think that is correct - you don't want floss that isn't secure poking out, I know it would eventually work itself loose. I did a lot of internet research and no one really explains how to end the stitch. I think in the future, I will take the laid thread and knot one end and come up through the fabric and then lay it on my design line and stitch it in place. Then to finish, I will take the laid thread back down through the fabric and weave it through the floss on the underside of the fabric to secure it in place.
The instructions for this stitch must be one of the shortest in the whole 100 Stitches book! If anyone has any tips or suggestions about this stitch, I would welcome your input!


Annie said...

Hi Kim!...You have it!...In my stitch book for this stitch, they bring the laid thread to the front of the design, then lay it and couch, then at the end they bring the laid thread to the back of the fabric...In the beginning, maybe leave a long enough tail on the laid thread, where you can go back & rethread in the needle and weave that also into where you have stitched...Love the gingerbread design!...Happy sewing!...Annie

Lynn S said...

About 35 yrs ago, my mom-in-law made me a small holder for my embroidery scissors. It had an embroidered boquet of flowers (daisy stitches, french knots, etc.)--by my scripted first name is stitched in the couching stitch. It's a really fluid stitch! I have found me a copy of the 100 stitch booklet and am loving your blog!

John'aLee said...

What a beauty that flower is. I love the 'stitch'. What a good idea to work through stitches like that. Your pictures and sketches are so inspiring!

Kim said...

Annie - Thank you! I am so glad your stitching book explained how to do it this way - I am stitching another project and I am using the couching stitch and that is just how I am starting and stopping my laid thread. It looks so good - I will post a picture soon!
Lynn - Thanks! It is a fun little book isn't it? I really want to try using the couching stitch on lettering - it will be a great fit!
John'aLee - Thank you so much for your nice comment :)

Silver Sisters said...

Often the couched thread won't go through the fabric so that the ends can be held int he other side. I usually begin and end by putting a few couching stitched close together at the ends. None of them have come loose yet :) If your couched thread is really thick - yarm or something similar you could put one of the first stitches through the thread rather than going over it. Remember that you can couch all sorts of things - even rolled up bits of fabric and fancy yarns that can't easily be stitched with. Couching lets you think outside the box with embroidery - how about couching twigs or nails or wire?

Rosali said...

Gracias por compartir el tutorial de puntadas, feliz fin de semana.

Kim said...

Silver Sisters - Thank you for the information! That is a good point about thicker items - so far I have just been using floss.
Rosali - De nada, gracias por tu comentario dulce - feliz fin de semana :)

Anonymous said...

My embroidery teacher showed us a way of couching with ribbon or thicker items where you pull the ribbon through from the backside. It actually pierces the fabric and you being couching on the front side. When you end the piece, you again pull the tail through to the back side. The tails can be woven into the couching stitch on the backside. It prevents any fraying on the front and the pierced areas are usually hidden by other stitches and parts of the design.

Kim said...

Hi - that sounds like a good method - I would love to try couching with ribbon - there are so many beautiful ribbon and trim pieces out there.

Farah said...

Very lovely flower with such simple stitches,I just found your blog and really happy that I am with you now, its lovely , informative and with such a cute and simple project. I want to GRAB a BUTTON of your blog to put it on my blog, how can I ?
you can find me at

Kim said...

Hi Farah - Thank you so much for your comment - you have a beautiful blog! Yesterday, I added a button on my side bar if you want to copy and paste it to your blog!

PaisleyJade said...

Your work is beautiful!!

Kim said...

Thank you PaisleyJade!