Size 3 pearl cotton thread is huge! And by that I mean thick, much thicker than your regular size 8 pearl cotton thread. Size 3 is also a little difficult to stitch through fabric. So how do you stitch this bulky thread to your fabric? Use couching.
is a method of securing thick threads, like the yellow Size 3 pearl cotton thread
above, to the surface of fabric. The heavy thread lays on the fabric and a finer, easier to handle thread, like a Size 8 pearl thread
, is stitched over it to fasten it to the fabric.
Here’s how to add Couching to your fabric:
- Come up at point A with the Size 3 thread using a Size 1 embroidery needle. Come up at B, about 1/4’’ from A, with a lighter weight thread like a Size 8 or Size 12 pearl cotton using a Size 3 or Size 5 embroidery needle respectively. (See the Needle and Thread Chart here.)
- Stitch the big needle into the fabric to hold it out of the way. Bring the smaller needle, used with the finer thread, over the thick thread and insert the needle back into B. Draw the thread through the fabric. The finer thread traps the heavy thread into place.
- Bring the small needle up at C about 1/4’’ from B. Insert the small needle on the other side of the thick thread and back into C. Draw the thread through the fabric.
- Continue to couch down the thicker thread to make shapes, draw lines, or outline shapes. To end the stitching, bring both threads to the back of the fabric and tie them off.
During the month of June I’ll be giving away a skein of hand-dyed size 3 pearl cotton fabric with any purchase from the Artfabrik store. Give it a try!
Lately, I’ve been exploring stitch combinations to make my free-form hand embroideries. In free-form embroidery there is no pattern or set of instructions to follow. You make it up as you go along. So I can easily spend hours agonizing over what stitch and what color thread to use on a project.
I’ve tried to approach this exploration logically and made a sort of chart for various stitch combinations that build line, texture and pattern. They range from the simple Blanket Stitch plus French Knot plus Running Stitch like you see above to more complicated combinations.
Well, this has turned into a major rabbit hole! There are endless combinations. And even though I’ve tried to limit the number of basic embroidery stitches to use in exploring the combinations, it looks like there is no end. Maybe that’s the beauty of hand embroidery. There are endless possibilities!
In preparation for a new class in July at Quilters’ Affair, I’m making multiple garden stitcheries using felt shapes and size 8 pearl cotton threads. This one was going along great until I got a little carried away.
See all those yellow Lazy Daisy stitches filling in across the bottom section? Don’t you think it’s a little too cluttered? The reason I like working with the felt is that it has a clean, simple look that is easily enhanced by embroidery. But those yellow Lazy Daisies are messy looking. They really bug me!
So I’ll spend a little time ripping them out and come up with plan B. What ever that is!
Would you like to see beautiful hand embroidery and learn more about embroidery artists from around the world? Then I recommend the weekly Inspirations All Stitched Up newsletter from Inspirations Studios. The stitch projects are amazing and the photography is gorgeous. I know you’ll enjoy it.
Organic Gardening by Laura Wasilowski
In the February 15, 2019 issue #173 of the newsletter, you’ll find my work under the What Are You Stitching? section near the bottom of the newsletter. See it here.
You can also sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of the page. It’s like eye candy for stitchers!
And now for the fun part in making this Felt Like Gardening composition. Connecting the flowers with Chain Stitches that curl and loop to the ground adds motion and liveliness to the design. It’s always good to give a composition as little activity.
As I set this aside for a new project, I’m reminded that we all have so many ideas in our head there’s not enough time to finish them all. You have to pick and choose. And sometimes we must give ourselves permission to choose the fun project over the obligatory project. Think we should all go play play with our fabric now!
Thank heavens for my skills of disorganization. As this embroidery evolves (without a plan), I am forced to discover new ways of using stitches and thread colors to enhance the felt. When in doubt, go with old Chain Stitches. They hold down the little yellow leafy things and Straight Stitches make the veins.
Next up: have Blanket Stitches girdle the flower lobes in place. (Girdle, haven’t used that word on years!) Add a few Bullion Knots to top off the flower and a Stem Stitch to outline the bud.
This strategy of not planning too far ahead for a project started years ago. I had a specific look I wanted to achieve for a piece of artwork. That look never approached what I saw in my minds eye. It was so disappointing that I did not live up to my own standards. And so I gave up and chucked my standards. And feel much better now, thank you. Give it a try. Chuck your standards today!