Flashback Fridays - Travels with Rain: Lesson 6: Part 2 of 2 Couching October 21 2016, 0 Comments

A few years back we had a feature called "Art Travels with Rain".  Rain did a wonderful series on sewing that we are reposting in our Flashback Fridays segments.  Please note these may be altered from the original posts to update links, provide information on newer programs, etc.

In case you missed earlier posts in the series:

Art Journaling Sewing Lessons 101

Lesson One: Making Borders and Pockets Using Automatic Machine Stitching

Lesson 2: Using Fusible Interfacings to Attach and Glue Papers and Fabrics

Lesson 3: Thread Painting and Interlacing, Part 1 of 2

Lesson 4: Thread Painting Part 2 of 2

Lesson 5: Interlacing, Piercing, and Couching Part 1 of 2



I am writing this blog post from Sedona, AZ., a few days before attending Tangie’s workshop at the new Artspirations Studio…totally exciting!

This week we will take a closer look at the making of the Junque Journal cover, pictured below, with a focus on couching:

Couching is basically where threads are laid onto the surface of paper or fabric and stitched down with another thread.  The couching technique is often utilized for larger threads and yarns that do not pass through the eye of a needle or paper easily.  I couched several heavier yarns and embroidery threads onto the printed Gypsy Diaries page for the Journal cover by machine, then used the threads for lacing with other threads and beads.

The paper or fabric needs to be heavy enough to support the attached layer of heavier threads on top, or be stabilized with other paper, fabric, or interfacing.

If I am couching to form an edge treatment, I will use a wider zigzag stitch so that the couching yarn is totally encapsulated with the edge of the piece.  Literally any machine stitch may be used to couch threads by sewing machine, including straight, zigzag, satin, in either free motion or automatic mode, as well as automatic decorative stitches.

Couching works for an amazing array of embellishments from wire and pipe cleaners to feathers, knitted I-cord, and paper beads, in addition to any size of threads and yarns.

Couching using hand embroidery stitches has all the same variations and considerations, and will often require piercing holes into the base paper or fabric first for a hand needle to pass through the fabric or paper.

Some options for hand couching:

*One thread in the needle straight stitching over a single or double strand of yarn or thread.

*Couching any number of strands with a cross stitch, open chain stitch, blanket stitch, or herringbone.

Below is an image of some automatic stitch notes from one of my sketchbooks:

Below is another example of couched felt strips and yarns using various machine stitches:

And the next image below features couching with various bits of painted paper, using the machine stitches to make links between the pieces, front on top and back below:


Let’s look at the making of the Junque Journal cover:

By machine, for a book or journal cover I line up the front and back cover and stitch at the same time.  In the image below I am laying down thread to lace, or use as the base of couching or interlacing.  I have both the front and back cover lined up, and make a jump stitch between by anchoring the thread at the end of one and the beginning of the other cover, pulling the thread between. 

Below:  Here are the covers with the base stitching complete:

So far I have added both free motion and automatic decorative stitches to the stabilized covers.  Below is an image of threads and yarns also couched by machine added to the covers.  Now I will use the base stitches to add further couching and beads as embellishments.

In the image below I am using hand-dyed embroidery threads to lace and stitch onto the machine base stitches.  I have also threaded beads onto some of the threads and interlaced between the rows of couched and machine stitches.

Below is another image of a Junque Journal cover that I am just beginning to pierce and stitch.  I will also be adding beads and couched yarns to this cover.  This is again a page I printed from Tangie’s Gypsy Diaries Workshop.  So until next week, I hope you find some time to make art!

take care,


This concludes the Art Journaling Sewing Lessons series.  Please join us next Flashback Friday as we will begin a new journey with Rain.

Have a great weekend!

[Posted by: Joy]