Couching is a wonderful technique that many embroiderers forget about, but it is easy to do and a wonderful way to use interesting textured novelty threads in your embroidery. You can create wonderful surfaces by couching down threads and then embroidering over the top of them. Combined with beads and textured stitches in interesting threads, you can really make your embroidery pop. It is quick to work, easy to do, a heap of fun, and opens many doors. Couching is used in Laid-work and also known as convent stitch or kloster stitch — for its association with medieval monastic (literally, cloister) embroidery in Germany and northern Europe. It is also used in Scandinavia, for example in Hardanger embroidery.
How to work Couching Stitch
With couching, a surface thread is laid on the fabric, and anchored using a second thread. I have used a contrasting thread so that the couching can be seen, but you would normally match the colour. Use a large-eyed needle to bring the heavy thread through the fabric.
Use a finer needle and thread at regular intervals to make small, straight stitches over the thick thread to secure it to the fabric. Work in this way until you have completed the line or filled the area.
Take the end of the heavy thread to the back of the fabric using a large-eyed needle. Secure both ends with small stitches using the fine thread. Do not clip the heavy thread too close, otherwise, it will pop up to the surface.
There are many ways to use couching. You can create patterns of the thread itself. In this case, I have used a metallic thread to couch chenille thread in a spiral pattern.
Three examples of couching stitch
Couching is ideal for attaching highly textured or thick threads the foundation fabric, building up rich complex decorative surfaces in a freeform manner. In the sample below, I couched a blue chenille yarn and novelty knitting yarn to a hand-painted fabric and then covered it with textured embroidery and beads.
In this example of couching, I have used it to create a pattern along a crazy quilt seam. The metallic yarn was too thick to stitch with, so I couched it down in a zig-zag pattern before adding beads.
Here is another example of couching used on a crazy quilt block. The seaweed is made up of novelty threads couched tot he surface, and the tendrils of the jellyfish are also made of couched threads. This is a block on my I dropped the Button Box Quilt. You can read more about block 81 here.
This last example of couching is a small scene of summer grasses. It is mainly made up of couching and straight stitch worked in free form manner, French knots and wooden beads.
I hope I have given you a few ideas on how to use couching in a contemporary way.
Have you seen my Stitcher’s Templates?
As someone who loves crazy quilting and embroidery, I designed these templates with other stitchers in mind. With my templates, you can create hundreds of different patterns to apply to your stitching and crazy quilting projects. They are easy to use, totally clear so you can position them easily. They are compact in your sewing box. And we laser cut them ourselves in our own studio workshop to ensure the highest quality.
For more information, see what they look like, find out about the free ebook of patterns visit the information pages in the shop where you can also purchase them.
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My simple couching samples are here.
Do you a video that demonstrates the use of your templates? I’m understanding what they are for Thanks!
HI Marsha there is a video on the product page https://pintangle.com/product-category/stitchers-templates/
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Week 10: Couching metallic floss turned out to be easier than stitching with it!
TAST 2018 week 10!
Enjoy your pilgrimage Sharon:D
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My project challenge is stitching onto paper.
Couching stitch (with chain and the next 3) are found here.
Sandy in the UK
Here is my couching sample – http://hokkaidokudasai.blogspot.jp/2015/09/take-stitch-tuesday-9-couching.html
I’ve posted about the Couching Stitch at my place.
Have a great day!
My Week 9 contribution http://stitchinfingers.ning.com/photo/wk09-couching?context=user
My stitches from March are on:
I used couching for a fabric bookpage:
Here is my couching sample :)http://stitchingtimelinda.blogspot.ca/2012/03/couching-week-9.html
Not finished yet, but I posted my turtle tuesday on my blog: http://borduurblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/couching.html
made it a day late but i am glad i persevered, as i liked the end result.
My first try at Couching stitch… I liked this stitch.
couching – http://artwhiz.blogspot.in/2012/03/tast-2012-couching.html
What a fun embroidery stitch! Here's what I did this past week:
I am trying some spirals with this couching technique on my blog-
My couched piece called Forest is now posted to my blog here: http://dinkydideequilts.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/couching-around.html
My stab at couching is here:
Here is this week's couching :
Hope you'll all stop by for a visit!!
Some more of my experiments are here:
??? ????? 8-9 ?????
This took longer than I thought it would 🙂
I made some progress on my February work, and I blogged about it here: http://christinaroland.blogspot.com/2012/03/bad-bentheim-en-borduren.html And posted a bigger image of my heart in couching technique here:
Here's my blog post about my couching sample: http://kirajones.co.uk/?p=643
Not completely done, but I've missed so many stitches on my holidays, I didn't want to miss yet another! My couching sample blogged about at http://smallestforest.net/2012/03/04/httpwp-mepeep9-kp/
here is week 9
I forgot to put this link to my photos on stitchinfingers.of my second couching attempt. My photos page is here
My couching sample:
I hane never done any coyching stitch before! At first, I didn't know how to use it and what to do with it… but finally it turned out ok ( I think!)
Couching on Japanese. Here's a bit of cross culture for you – Celtic design on a Japanese temari ball with a Medieval (English?) technique of couching!
Sharon, your challenge program has been such a support to my work toward my June exhibit, thank you so much! my latest adventure, in couching, on handmade paper, is here:
I send the picture of my Tast for week9 here:
I'm catching up this week, two weeks in one post over on my blog: http://quiltisland.blogspot.com/2012/03/catching-up.html
Chain Stitch and Couching. Enjoy!
Have been trying out something completely different this week:
Done a little bit!
Hi everyone ,I just post on my blog exemples for the challenge of this week,I like use non conventional matérials(other than threads),exemples in "pink and blue" in http://lumieresbleues.blogspot.com/
and in brown in http://cocody-art-patch.blogspot.com/
See you soon!
Sorry I think I have forgotten to give a link to my trial of couching….:)
My Couching sample:
What a lot of wonderful work the TAST project is generating. It is such an inspiration to read the comments and learn from others. Thank you all for sharing.
This is what I added to my sampler: http://web.me.com/queeniepatch/Queeniepatch_Quilts/Blog/Entries/2012/3/3_TAST_2012%2C_Week_9.html
Did anyone couch a couch yet? I figured Luis would have done that.
I enjoy seeing both the meticulous samplers and the pieces that tell a story. It's all great.
You can find my sample of couching in this post: http://theshopsampler.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/tast-week-9-meets-studio-journal/
I have used couching in previous samples/posts. See if you can spot where!
My samples new and old are at
thank you so much Sharon for creating this wonderful format to learn, experiment and share the love of stitching~!!~
i've had fun with couching. if you would like to see what i've done please visit me at:
Couching was a real challenge to me as I don´t practice it too much. So I looked for a new block and experimented on different threats. The result can be seen on http://my-cuddly-quilt.blogspot.com/
Well. I found some couching that I've done previously. Too busy fighting with car problems to stitch this week at all! 🙁 http://bit.ly/wUu8Jz
One more post for Couching!
My post for the week:
I created a sampler page for my book and played with a maze.
my couching sample here http://sarahansson.blogspot.com/2012/03/couching.html
Here is the link for my trials of couching..
Just a sneak peek on my blog of the project I'm working on. This stitch was just what it needed!
I've posted my couching on my blog http://focus-on-fiber.blogspot.com
Now I have updated my page on coating. http://ullabritt.wordpress.com/tast-2012/9-coaching/
This is all from me this week.
Next week I will attend a spinning cours at Sätergläntan, Dalecalia, Sweden. http://www.saterglantan.se/index_en.php (if you ever come to Sweden put Sätergläntan on your wish-to-see-list). I am sure we will make some intresting yarn, suitable for coaching, but i doubt there will be time for stitching the new TAST-task.
My Couching for the week. Thank you Sharon http://labastidane.fr/journal/?p=2088
My experiments for this week 🙂
Here's my couching sample: http://stitchinfingers.ning.com/photo/treeofwishes-couching
No stitching for me this week, but I have some past machine couching to show. I hope it counts! http://debbiesfiberwork.blogspot.com/2012/03/tast-week-9.html
My sample for TAST 9 is here on my blog:
(If you scroll down the post there is a second photo which also includes my TAST 8)
I finished my picture using the couching stitch. I like the results. You can view it here:
Thanks a bunch.
My couching sample is from a sketch of a wood grain pattern. This weekly challenge is making me stretch my stitching boundaries.
My February sitich pages are complete and worth a look. I had so much fun with the couching, which was good, because there was still a lot of space to fill in after the chevron and chain stitches. The photos are on my flikr photostream here: (there are three of them)
I thought I had added a comment here but I must have hit the wrong button.
I have posted to my blog:
and to the Flikr group
Had fun with this one.
My new samplers WK 8 & 9 are here :
Thank you for the visit
I like couching although am not proficient at it. Have worked another sample called Dancing in the Dark which I have put on SF and it will appear on my blog at stitchesandlife.blogspot.com
I've added some couching to some of my current works in progress.
As I promised earlier, here is a little bit special application of the couching stitch :
My samples can be seen on my blog
I posted my couching now on my blog:
Here are my couched stitches: http://thatyankstitches.multiply.com/journal/item/279/Take_A_Stitch_Tuesday_2012_Challenge_-_Week_8
bonjour, voici mes travaux des semaine 8 et semaine 9
J'attend la semaine 10 !
Hi Sharon, I've had such fun with couching………my creative juices are overflowing……….Thank you Sharon, I am learning so much
This is my sample for week 9 COUCHING ! You can find it here……………
Here is my couching sample and posted on my blog. It is so good to make sure I post every week it keeps me on my toes. Still so much fun.
I have posted my couching design on my website at:
I really enjoyed doing this. I had fun!
Having fun with another AMC …
Couching is a stitch I love! Here http://6stem5.canalblog.com my Tast page and an old work I stitched for a online class. And now, I will visit the other blogs ….
I have done only one small couching exercise. My combined work for the month is on my blog.
Hi Sharon & Everyone.
My second attempt for couching. with a especial participation of Photoshop's extrude filter!
Thanks Sharon for giving us this wonderful opportunity to explore so many stitches. Here are my first attempts:
A very new stitch and concept for me this week, I gave it a go at: http://christinaroland.blogspot.com/2012/02/tast-week-9.html. I also uses all 5 stitches of january on a little naive freehand work, and blogged about it on: http://christinaroland.blogspot.com/2012/02/tast-overzicht-januari.html. Tonight I start working an the four stitches of february, hope to mention that work here in a month.
I had given my hands into couching. I uploaded in my blog.
I like to stitch varity of stitches and happy watching others.
My couching can be seen on my Flickr account.
Here is my attempt on couching: http://fabricfusion.blogspot.com/2012/02/tast-9woche-ufo-abbau-und-andere.html
On my blog, http://backvalleyseasons.blogspot.com
both this weeks and last weeks TAST a bit of comination of the chain and couching and also detached chain and chain. Not a lot as the arthritis in my wrist is not letting me do too much at the moment.
Here is my post for this week.
Hi Everyone, enjoy TAST very much. Here is my little fish ( about 8 inches long) with couching and chain stitch. http://stitchinfingers.ning.com/photo/tast-week-9?context=user thank you all for the interest and encouragement.. It enriches my life. Hugs
I created a couched snail with flowers.
Just put my stitch photo on flickr group. I love couching! Perfect for crazy quilts.
Because I was out of town for a couple of Tuesdays, I allowed myself to get behind. But I'm proud to say that I am now caught back up! It may be \\\"cheating\\\", but I did small samples of all of the stitches that I missed on my quilt over the last few days, and added couching stitch this morning. The post is on Beading Arts:
I love couching. One can do such interesting things with it. I am watching the TAST challenge closely and it makes me wish that I had the time for it. Very fun.
I wrote a post with a few older couching samples today:
Perfect timing for the couching stitch! I just bought a lovely knitting fibre to use with couching. You can see it here
Here is a first example of couching used for Christmas ornements
I will return soon with a very special use of this technique
This week I will show tangle thread coaching, and coaching on knit. Later there will also be some oc my usual denim swatches. http://ullabritt.wordpress.com/tast-2012/9-coaching/
I've been thinking about experimenting some more with couching so this was a good encouragement. Earlier this month I tested couching ball chain: http://wildrosesandblackberries.blogspot.com/2012/02/couched-ball-chain.html (and as a beader I've of cause made bead embroideries with couched beads, this being my first try back in 2008: http://wildrosesandblackberries.blogspot.com/2010/09/revontulet-one-of-my-first-bead.html )
In fact, couching thread or yarn — as I will do this week — will be pretty much a new thing for me, having just couched jewellery supplies before…
My TAST 2007 couching sample is here: