Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Module 2 Chapter 2

Sew far so good!

The first part of this study concerns working couched metallic threads by hand. Using both classical and contemporary approaches.


The above image is a composite of small worked examples, where I've explored various different methods of couching down a selection of metallic threads and metallic look materials. The BG is crushed velvet with no stabiliser and the whole was worked in a circular hoop.


The couched thread is a silver 'Passing' thread, - silk core wrapped with flat metal/or modern equivillant. The couching thread is hand dyed silk.


This is Perlé used double and couched down with silk thread making a basket weave pattern.


The purple metallic look thread was couched down in a spiral and overlaid with a shiny acrylic yarn to form the spiral spokes. All couching threads were silk.

The fourth classical sample is worked using underside couching which is covered in the next chapter.


This contemporary sample is worked over silver wrapping paper with metallic look thread using silk thread to couch it down.


This is my favourite sample in the goup and is worked with gold coloured wire spirals couched down over a disc of gold wrapping paper with plastic metallic look thread. Gold purl was then added to the centre. It reminds me of a contemporary gold brooch.


This last sample was created with discs cut from the metallic sealer used on a dried milk tin, the couched threads are red lamé and the couching thread cotton perlé. I like this one as it's a bit of a stretch into the contemporary for me.

Ever so slightly 'pear shaped'. Now, as I've always been a machine embroiderer more than a hand stitcher I was surprised to find that I didn't warm to this part of the exercise at all. Maybe it was because I decided to add some gold to the BG of this beautiful shot silk in the form of iron-on metallic paper and I think it's killed the samples. Also working with the feed dog up and conventional stitching felt very constricting.


Bunches of metallic threads have been laid down and couched with different machine stitches, changing the length as they were stitched.


Plastic metallic look thread has been wound round a metal wire former and Madeira Glissen Gloss has been wound over the top. The piece is then couched to the BG with a wide zig-zag and the former removed.


This is my favourite sample as I like the feedome of the top curve against the straight lines of the inside. I used a silver perlé wrapped loosely around a fine wire former and machine stitched it in place on the BG with a straight stitch, then removed the former.
Inside the shape I laid lines of very fine Madeira Glissen Gloss, by hand and then machine couched them down in silver thread.


This last sample is bundles of different metallic look threads laid down carefully and stitched across with a straight stitch. They have then been overstitched with a pattern stitch that has a resemblance to some of the decorative stitches used in the Opus Anglicanum embroidery.

Fabrics threads and colours for these exercises have been chosen to compliment the previous historical study.


  1. Hi Sharon, I really LOVE these couching samples, and as you say I also think number 5 would make a fantastic modern bold brooch, number 6 too I believe with its very exciting mix of materials - I'm thinking here of Spanish jeweller Ramon Puig Cuyàs ...

  2. Such beautiful stitches and samplers. I really enjoyed your post. Thank you for sharing and thank you for visiting my blogs and leaving lovely comments on mine too :o)