This is the opportunity you have been waiting for. A legitimate reason to sit back and put your feet up and be couching. Not as the regular couch potato, but as a very industrious seamstress using the technique of couching to create some beautiful embroidery.
Couching makes use of two threads at a time. A top thread or surface thread and a stitching thread that holds the surface thread in place. The surface thread is held on top of the fabric and is stitched over by the stitching thread holding it firmly in place.
Couching can be a ‘free form’ experience or it can follow a pattern. It is especially suited to monograms.
The surface thread can be thicker or textured because it does not enter the fabric but rests on the surface.
In the modern-day variations of traditional embroidery, couching lends itself to using different types of thread, wool, yarn, beaded work, ribbon and any other medium you could successfully stitch into a design.
You need two threads and two needles for this technique. The needles recommended are tapestry with a bigger eye and a point to enter the fabric.
How to Do Couching Embroidery
Step one: Draw your design on your fabric and set it into your hoop. A hoop is essential to keep the surface thread stable and help you maneuver the other thread as you stitch over the surface thread.
Thread your two needles with different threads. One is the surface thread and the stitching thread can be a contrasting color depending on your design. This technique works well in a shade lighter or even the same color, the choice is yours.
Step two: Bring the surface thread up through the back of the fabric to your starting point. Here I have used 2 strands of surface thread to get a nice thickness.
When you have started to stitch or couch the thread in place, move it to the side and pin it gently, so it does not flap around and get in your way. As you continue to couch the surface thread along the design you can move it gently into place.
Step three: Bring the stitching thread up from the back of the fabric to a place next to the surface thread at the starting point at (1).
Stitch over the surface thread with a small straight stitch at (2) and pull the needle and thread to the back of the work.
Step 4: Return to the right side of the work a bit further along the surface thread, make another small straight stitch that catches the surface thread by stitching over it.
Repeat this process as you follow the line of your design until completion. Then pull both threads to the back and end off by weaving the loose ends into the stitches at the back.
There is another way to stitch and get the same effect and that is to make the little straight stitches in their places along the design first.
When you have mapped out the whole design in straight stitches that resemble little hoops, you can take your surface thread and run it along the design by weaving under the little stitches and pulling the surface thread gently along your design.
The result will be the same and using this method can make corners and circles a little easier to complete.
Now you know what couching it is about is time to try this beautiful facet of embroidery and feel justified to ‘couch’ all afternoon.