A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Couching is defined as "a method of embroidering in which a thread, often heavy, laid upon the surface of the material, is caught down at intervals by stitches taken with another thread through the material." Usually, the thread that is couched is too thick to pull through the fabric, so it can't be added simply by sewing it "into" the fabric. The thread used to do the couching can either be decorative or strictly used just to attach the heavy thread.

On my extreme texture piece, I used couching to "connect" all the little "puffs." I call the piece "Six Degrees of Separation," because we are ALL connected in some way. Each "puff" in the piece is physically connected to the other with the sari yarn I couched to the surface. I chose to use a thread for the couching stitch that matches the sari yarn. I chose NOT to make the couching stitch a part of the design; I wanted it to be hidden and used it simply as a way to attach the sari yarn.

 On this next piece, couching is used for the worm's body and for the snail's body.
First lay the heavier thread (on my extreme texture quilt, that would be the sari yarn) across the fabric. It is best to use a hoop of some kind to keep an even tension on the fabric. Depending on what is more comfortable for you, you can start either from the left or the right. (I find, that for me, it is easier to work from left to right.) In the illustration below, the pink part of the drawing represents the decorative thread being couched down.

If you'd like to learn a bit more about couching, you can go to this link--Couching Tutorial. (Sarah has given me permission to link to her blog.)

Tomorrow, I'll go over French knots. In the next day or two, I'll be giving you information about another giveaway, so be sure you check back.


  1. Oh LOVE the snail and the worm! What a creative use of couching as a design element!

  2. have to try this on my postcards. Thank you!


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