Photos by Michael Cole
Conventional couching offers an array of interesting effects, but Romanian couching is a useful and inspiring variation. Only one thread and needle is used, which means that it is not suitable for intricate, curvy designs. It can, however, be worked as long or short lines and as a filling stitch. Also, if the first straight stitch is left a little slack, soft curves can be achieved. To work Romanian couching, a straight stitch is made across the ground material and the needle and thread re-emerge to stitch the long thread down on the return journey (see diagram). The oversewing stitches are long, and placed close to the main yarn. A similar stitch called Bokhara couching is also worked with one thread and needle, and begins with a straight stitch worked in the same way, but on the return journey small, slanting stitches are worked over the laid thread or yarn to hold it in place.
This sample was inspired by a rock surface. The background fabric has been bonded with glistening materials. The textured surface is created with heavy couched threads and cords which give a ridged surface. The holding-down stitches have been placed close together and feature much more strongly than usual, in order to achieve the required effect. Straight stitches worked in a fine metallic thread have been worked over parts of the design to draw it together. See more...
This sample shows heart-shaped leaves placed fairly close together to make an all-over pattern. The main shapes have been couched in the usual way using two threads and two needles. Some of the filling stitches are worked in Romanian couching.
This little apple is worked in several threads, each couched in place by toning sewing cotton. Tiny running stitches add textural interest.
Stitches layered one on top of another with sections wrapped with other threads. Matt threads, including paper string, have been used. To achieve the curvy effect the initial straight stitches were left slack to enable the curves to be stitched in position.
A silk thread and a torn fabric strip being sewn into place with appropriate yarns. Although the overstitching has been placed at regular intervals, longer, haphazard or contrasting coloured stitches can be worked to create a variety of effects.