Take a Stitch Tuesday 2018 stitch 10

Before I announce Stitch 10, there is a quick bit of housekeeping. Next week, I am going to declare a catch-up or rest week and some people are beginning to flag as they have slipped behind. When people slip it is common to lose enthusiasm for a challenge, then put the challenge down. In an effort to help prevent this, next week will be a catch-up week. But! and there is always a but, if you are all caught up and don’t want a little rest I will propose a little mini-challenge task. So, if you are a TAST addict, don’t worry – you do not have to go through withdrawals.

Okay, on with the challenge! Stitch 10 for Take a Stitch Tuesday 2018 is to learn or experiment with Couching. Follow the link for instructions and eye candy. Couching is a quick way to add textured line to a design. It is also a great way to incorporate textured and novelty threads and yarns in your projects.

couching sample 5

Couching is another quick and easy technique. You can use it to couch metallic threads, novelty fibres and thicker threads to an embroidered piece, and in the process, building up rich complex decorative surfaces. You can use it in a freeform manner as I have done above or build more regular grid-like patterns as in laid work.

In the sample above, I couched a blue chenille yarn and novelty knitting yarn to a foundation fabric that is hand painted. I then covered it with textured embroidery and beads.

The sample below is a pattern built up by couching a grid of thicker navy blue thread to a background of hand painted fabric, before adding a pattern of cross stitches, detached chain stitches and bugle beads.

Couching sample

Beyond TAST

The sample above is a hint for those who are doing the Beyond TAST challenge as the sample is an example of contemporary laid work. Couching as a technique is the basis of Laid work. The next Beyond TAST ‘season’ is to explore couching techniques that create patterns for surface fills. Couching is the basis for laid work. If you google “Laidwork embroidery” you will find lots of ideas. Remember you do not have to stay strictly to the tradition – this is a challenge that allows for a modern twist to be added to a traditional technique. So give it a go – you have a good block of time to explore a few ideas.


How to take part in the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge

If you are new to hand embroidery the challenge is to learn the stitches. Learn how to work Couching and share what you have learnt. If you are an experienced embroiderer, enjoy the Beyond TAST challenge instead. Try and give your work a modern twist and share it online so beginners can see what can be done with a little imagination.

For those who have done TAST before or if you already know the basic embroidery stitches join in on the Beyond TAST challenge. Beyond TAST is a season of 4-6 weeks that allows time to explore an aspect of a design, technique, style, or family of stitches. See the TAST FAQ for more details.

Where to share

Stitch a sample of stitch 10, photograph it, put in online on your blog, Flickr site, share it in the  TAST facebook group or where ever you hang out online. If you have a blog leave a comment on the  Couching stitch page with your full web address so that people can visit your site and see what you have done.  For Flickr people, the group is Take a Stitch Tuesday. Hashtags are #TASTembroidery and #PintangleTAST on places like Instagram etc.

If you need more information the challenge guidelines are on the TAST FAQ page.

Have you seen my book?

holding my book in front of quilt

My book The Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design: Simple Stitches, Stunning Results shares detailed practical methods on how to design and make a crazy quilt. Topics such as fabric choice, tricky challenges like balancing colour, texture and pattern, and how to create movement to direct your viewer’s eye around the block are covered in detail. I also explain how to stitch and build decorative seam treatments in interesting and creative ways. My book is profusely illustrated as my aim is to be practical and inspiring.


  1. Wow wow wow and WOW!!!! Just found you and your work, and I can feel the creative juices flowing~~how exciting!!!!! And so much needed! Your work is exquisite, and bless you for sharing with us. Have a wonderful roam about–mayhap I can/will start on Block ONE and get somewhere before you return. THANK YOU, my dear. (Loved the embroidery; was then gobsmacked when I saw the blocks in a quilt. Even though you called them blocks, for some reason I wasn’t expecting a quilt. My goodness gracious!)

  2. Sharon – that freeform piece of embroidery is absolutely stunning. I love it. The colours are lovely and the subtle painted background is such a good idea. Must try it!
    We were snowed in last weekend which was rare but it all went suddenly on Monday and now it is very mild – bizarre! Best wishes
    Andy LW

    Andy Lloyd Williams
    1. HI Andy thanks – so pleased you like it – it is part of a larger piece that was exhibited years ago – I have this photo of the detail but cant find the full photo of the piece! Think I sold it too – any way it was one of the early freeform break out pieces I did

  3. Although I’m not doing the challenge, I continue to check into the TAST as it reminds me of stitches I can use on the various things I do. And, I always have an excellent tutorial on any stitch. Thank you beyond thank you for doing this.

  4. Oh my word Sharon – that image of your (blue) work makes my mouth water! It’s “SEW” up my street! Thanks for accepting my application to join in on this site of yours. Absolutely no promises of being a good student as it were – just WAY too busy, but so far love what I see. Our Book (Di van Niekerk and Toody Cassidy) has also recently been published: The Art Of Felting and Silk Ribbon Embroidery. Love the look of yours!

    Toody Cassidy
      1. Lovely reply – so amusing – thank you Sharon, but I’m of the opinion that we can’t be replying to each and every comment as then one’s inbox just gets so cluttered. At the same time as a total “newby” I’m not sure of the protocol and didn’t want to just ignore your excellent reply!
        Thanks Sharon!

        Toody Cassidy
        1. Toody if you are getting all the messages in the conversation delivered to your inbox you have probably subscribed to the email replies. If you don’t want them and I understand they can be annoying there is an unsubscribe option at the bottom – just unsubscribe there and poof all the chatter is gone! Magic in the morning just like that.

    1. Please R Rana, don’t be scared of couching! It’s a wonderful technique! It’s quick and easy – once you know how and there are limitless ways in which you can couch… with which thread / yarn / ribbon and onto whatever fabric you choose! Couching is really simply attaching a piece of thread or fabric onto another (background) piece of fabric.
      Your couched yarn (or similar) can be flat or ruched. Enjoy!

      Toody Cassidy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *