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Monday, February 21, 2011

Turning Corners on Couched Borders

My progress on Ocean Waves is continuing. The border continues with a few more rows of couching.

When stitching a couched border such as this, you may face a dilemma because the couched thread ends in a hole at the corner and then has to come up in the same hole for the next side of the border. I'm not sure how other stitchers handle this problem but I use a very simple technique to turn these corners. I don't precisely recall where I learned this trick. I think it was through a correspondence course or other class.

The best way to describe how I tackle these corners is to say I actually couch the corners in place. Instead of keeping the couching stitches on top of the fabric, I pull the couching stitches and the couched thread to the back of the canvas. As always, some of these things are easier shown using pictures.

Bring the couching thread up in the canvas hole where you want your couched thread to turn for the next side of the border.  Stitch over your couched thread, and sink your couching thread into the same hole.


Before pulling this stitch tight, leave a little slack on the couched thread on the front of the canvas, as seen here. On the back of the canvas, give a sharp tug on the couching thread. If you pull hard enough, a bit of your couched thread will actually pop through the canvas in that spot.

You may have to play with it a bit on the front of the canvas to make sure your couched thread lies smoothly, but this method can create a sharp corner without wasting a lot of the couched thread on the back of the canvas.

I'd be interested to hear if any of you have tried this technique and what you thought of it!

Oh – and here’s the finished border.


Unknown said...

Hi, the technique you describe was used in last year's ANG Stitch of the Month Mystery Design, and Sue Reed called it "underside couching". It was originally used to conserve metal thread by keep all of it on top of the fabric, and yet allowing one to work a piece of metal thread back and forth across a given design area. I was really excited when I first used it, and am glad that you are sharing it with others. It makes a very nice square corner for a couched border or frame.
Your couched border on your piece is beautifully done. What type of metal thread are you using, and is the rest of the design worked in metallics also? Sandi

Donna said...

You explained that perfectly. And this piece is going to be absolutely gorgeous!

Joanie R. said...

I love the border...pops out and says look at me, i'm special.

Joanie R.

MeganH said...

Thankyou for that tip!

I'm looking for a good border (couched in gold thread) to outline my 16thC Elizabethan sampler.

Do you know a good source of couched borders at all?

best regards, and your border is just lovely!

Rachel said...

It's an old technique, as Sandi says, and that's because it works. It looks lovely!

Edy said...

This is really beautiful...thanks for the "tutorial".

Sara Leigh said...

I really liked this method of cornering when I was working on the 2010 ANG Stitch of the Month. It was done with a minor difference from the way you've shown it, but it's basically the same. Your border is absolutely gorgeous!

nina said...

Hi Jeanne,

I tried in vain to find a link to your email but either I am blind or there is no such function. I wanted to ask you a question about the EGA. I have read your ENTIRE blog! It is wonderful! You have a real gift for explaining and breaking down complex stitches into clear, concise tutorials, as well as a wonderful writing voice (trust me, I read a lot stitching type blogs, and I don't generally read entire archives-- I only do surface embroidery for the most part, but I found your blog fascinating none the less).

Anyhoo, I am entirely self taught, save when I started, around 9 years old with cross stitch at summer camp. Eventually I went to college for textile design where I learned to weave, but now that I have no loom I have returned to embroidery and after discovering the INSANE community online (blown away to put it mildly)I have become very interested in all these classes that are run either at shops or by guilds. I would LOVE to learn from an expert some of the more elaborate stitching techniques (white work/ drawn and pulled threads, gold work etc in particular interest me), I am not bad from a book, but its no replacement for a live person.

The problem I have is I live in NYC which has classes in everything (EVERYTHING) you won't find anywhere else, but is sorely lacking in classes on advanced embroidery such as you find detailed in people's blogs. This is in part because there are not a great many local needle work shops and the ones that do exist have only classes in needlepoint.

I know you have been active in the EGA and I was wondering if you had any insight into the New York City chapters? The closest one to me is Manhattan and they meet in a very ritzy neighborhood, and the only information I could find on them is that they have no meetings in the summers! I just picture a group of wealthy, snobby, elderly ladies (with summer houses). I am a broke, "artsy", 32 year old. If I knew they were welcoming and friendly it might be easier. Any Advice?

I'm sorry for how long this is, please don't feel your reply need be more than a few sentences! I am not so good at editing!

Thanks for reading if indeed you got this far, and thanks for the blog, and your daughter is absolutely beautiful!