Thursday, January 31, 2013

Couching -- Not the laying around one!

I had an incredible time last week teaching at Quilting in the Desert and one of the workshops was embellishments by machine...and the very first technique I began sharing was couching.
There was a happy buzz as everyone got ready for the demo
-- and one voice said 'what's couching?'

What is this wonderful, fun thing we call couching?
We know it is an action word...right? and all,
and the action is -
creating a design by laying down thread and using small stitches to hold it in place

In my own quilt-works I use it to not only create a design,
but to also cover/decorate my raw edge applique. (this is what I will be showing here)

Rather than thread I like to use yarns.

Before I get started with the stitching, I create my quilt sandwich:

3 layers; first face up becomes back of quilt; next batting, and last the quilt top face up as well
I use masking tape to keep all flat on the table while I use a few safety pins to hold it together.
here I have the layers and have started to tape them down to my board
the pins go in -- once they are all in, then I close them
Now it's time to set up the sewing machine:
Select a fun thread for the top;
and be aware that what's in the bobbin will show on the back of your quilt.
Set the machine for zig-zag, and select your foot.
the cording foot on the left is my favorite, for it holds everything in place as you sew
the open-toe zig-zag on the right will work as well but you'll need to make sure
yarn remains in place as the stitching proceeds.
with everything set up...
place foot on the edge of one line;
stitch width should be 3.5 ; length 0
now take 5-6 stitches in place to lock;
then open length to 3.5 and stitch to the end of that line
at the end; make length 0 again and lock the stitches.
keep moving in one direction and finish up the couching!


 I'm working on my other three winter tree skeletons and will share soon.
Hmm.. what to do next?

Stitchin On!


  1. Little bit of confusion--length 3.5, length 0, length 3.5, length 0...seems like your sentence read as both lengths at the same time. Should one measurement be width? Or are you straight stitching and just locking stitches at beginning and end of line? I use couching all the time, but always with the zig zag stitch. Hmmmm...

    1. good catch Kathy...sorry for the confusion
      you start width 3.5-length 0 (lock stitch)
      then open the length to 3.5 to stitch
      lastly shorten the length back to 0(lock stitch)

      I've fixed it above, too. thank you!