Friday, 21 December 2012


Which is a word rather like couchant, which comes from the French word for lying down, which has a particular meaning for me as it appears in one of Ganna's novels, spoken about the sight of a headland, rather like. Beachy Head. This headland is in Swanage, know there as Ballard Down, I have a tinted photograph just outside my bedroom door.

The novel is called Glory Down. I have read it several times, but so long ago now I can't remember the detail. I'm off for a couple of weeks over Christmas, and might read it then.

Working notes in Ganna's handwriting

But I digress. Couching. Using stitch to apply thread, or other, to a ground material, in this case the piece I've already used for the laid work.

I had been over in Eastbourne, and wandered into the little mall beside the station, looking for things to couch down. There's a little embroidery shop there, which always has something a bit out of the ordinary. I brought my treasures home, and, unpacking them, thought to look for what else I might have tucked in a drawer or two! I came up with these.

Then I thought to look further, what else might I couch down? A piece of fabric from a dyeing experiment, some fragments of Mum's dresses from. My scrap box, a vivid bit of turquoise, all repurposed fabrics, stitched to a charity shop find damask napkin which served as ground for the laid work.

Then I started stitching down the dyed fabric and did a little what if, which I am just starting to understand after following Jude's Blog for some years now? What if I bring the needle up and put it down within the profile of the strip of fabric?

A slight ripple in the fabric, which could be exaggerated but here is just held in with some turquoise fly stitches, their tails lengthened to accommodate the narrowness of the fabric.

I also discovered one has to have a full stop, or the fabric will flip up in an ungainly way!

Here some French knots and a little nine patch to echo the one in the centre hold everything in place, and stop the fabric from fraying any further. A little bit of fray brings out that lovely contrast between warp and weft.

Here, the same technique with the same thread gives me a flower garden, and allows a bit more of mum's dress to show behind the flower fabric.

I did my best to continue the colour theme from the central piece of stitching, it must have some common theme to pull it all together, colour seems a good start.
I also try to use an elbows length of thread, as advised by Barbara, more or less, depending on the thing I'm stitching, the change colour - so what follows can contrast entirely, so long as it works with the colour theme and with what's being stitched down.n


  1. Thank you so much for introducing me to this technique - I'm having such fun with it, although I think I'm going to be tied to the kitchen for a few days now - I'll be back to it as soon as I can. Merry Christmas. x

    1. Still work in progress but I am learning so much! Luckily, I have a good man to do the cooking, so am feeling reasonably stress free!! Have a lovely Chirstmas