August 1, 2015

Learn the Couching Stitch

To those of you just now experiencing the height of summer weather, let me just share with you how incredibly jealous I am. Here in the South it's been the height of summer for a couple of months now, and the heat and humidity are definitely starting to take their toll! About all I can do these hot, sunny days is fan myself on the couch with a large glass of lemon-aid ice cream sandwich. Which of course makes our stitch today oh so appropriate, as we'll be learning to couch!

As much as I'd love to just share with you how I relax, couching is the name of our new stitch for August, and it's a pretty important one to have in your arsenal of stitches.

Couching keeps all your primary thread above the fabric, and you use a secondary thread to anchor it down to your design. It's a great way to work with materials that are otherwise hard to work with. Think metallic threads, unusually thick threads and a variety of other fibers.

So, let's begin! Start with your fabric stretched tightly in a hoop. I'm using cotton, but another beauty of this stitch is that as long as your fabric and your anchor material works well together, you're all set to use pretty much whatever you like.

Start by laying out your top thread, in my case all six strands of a super fun silver metallic, where you want it on the fabric, and hold in place with a finger or two. Using your anchor thread, in my case two strands of a bright red for easy to see contrast, come up with your needle just below the top thread. Stitch over the top thread and reinsert your needle into the fabric. Pull tight!

Working left to right, choose a small distance away to place another anchor stitch, repeating the same steps as above.

For your first few stitches, you'll probably need to work a little harder to hold your top thread in place. This can be both a good and bad thing, as it allows you to adjust your top thread as you go, but can also mean if you aren't careful you could end up pulling it right out of your anchors. Of course, you won't need both of your hands to take pictures while you stitch, so you might be a bit better off!

When couching you can really work in any shape. You'll want to up the quantity of anchor stitches around sharp turns and curves but the result is a nice thick line. Since I'm working in a nice shiny metallic thread, I drew a quick gemstone shape to stitch up.

I was able to stitch the entire design, including corners and curves, without changing out my top thread. If you've ever worked with metallic threads before you know how amazing that is!

When I got to a section that overlapped, I simply worked on top of the previous line of thread. When you're down, simply use your needle (I changed to a bigger one) to bring your top thread through the fabric, and tie off in the back. Once you get all those anchor stitches in, I promise the design isn't going anywhere!

And that's how to use the couching stitch! Hope you enjoyed learning with me today! Be sure to upload your examples into the Feeling Stitchy flickr pool, and let me know in the comments below how you plan to use this stitch. Happy Stitching!

Hi, I'm Whitney - I share a new embroidery stitch on the blog once a month, learning as I stitch along with the rest of the blog. Embroidery is my first and true crafty love, though I also enjoy painting, sewing and other crafts. My other loves include graphic design, craft beer and baking.

You can also find me on my blog Whitney Makes and on Tumblr.

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