Speciality stitches are a quick and easy way to enhance your stitching. Royal School of Needlework graduate Zoë Patching picks some of her favourites that you can master in minutes...
Gold work and crewelwork designs commonly use couching. This is where a thicker thread is anchored to the fabric's surface by a series of finer, couching stitches. It's a fantastic way to outline different elements, as curved lines can be easily achieved, plus it means you can include different threads that you wouldn't have otherwise used.
When to use couching
Try substituting backstitched outlines with couching. The number of strands you choose to use is a personal preference, but remember you want to enhance your design rather than overpower it with bulky outlines. Another effective tip is to use contrasting threads to secure your couching thread. For festive sparkle, try metallics, or for a more contemporary feel, try DMC's Color Variations threads, which change in shade from light to dark.
How to couch
1. Work from right to left. Place the thick thread on the fabric's surface following the line to be couched.
2. Hold this thread with one hand and then work small couching stitches to hold this thread in place. Use an embroidery needle, and keep your couching stitches neat and evenly spaced.
3. Once you have reached the end of your thread take the ends through to the back of the fabric and secure.