Monday, July 25, 2016

Embellishments - Couching for my Old Growth quilt

How do the weeks get away from us?  Last week was so busy I didn't have time to tell you about the other embellishments I used for my Old Growth quilt. Read my first instalment all about Bobbin Quilting here.

Here's a small image of the final quilt.

There are so many wonderful threads and fibres we can use to add texture to our work. I'm talking about the ones that will not work in your bobbin.....they are too thick or they are too 'fluffy'.  Here are a couple of pictures of the sorts of fibres I have collected over the years.

This week I'm going to talk about how I use THICK threads. Here are some close-up pictures showing where I used them on my quilt.

The best way to use these types of threads, yarns and fibres is to 'couch' them.  So what is COUCHING?  In hand embroidery, couching is a technique in which yarn or other materials are laid across the surface of and fastened in place with small stitches of the same or a different yarn. No, I didn't attach these fibres by hand! I used my sewing machine. 

I have a 'Braiding' foot for my Bernina 440 (#21).

There is an angled hole in the front of the foot. You feed your thick thread through the hole and set your machine to stitch OVER the thread (normally with a zigzag stitch). This is not a 'free motion' foot so it works best for straight lines.

Of course, I didn't want straight lines for this quilt so I turned to another foot - Bernina's 'Free Motion Couching' foot (#43). This foot is designed for a straight stitch, with the feed dogs lowered.

There is a 'thread path channel' built into this foot. 
The pin in the picture below shows you where this channel is.


You feed your thick thread through the channel and the thread
magically travels the path you sew!

As long as it is a fairly thick thread, the straight stitching 
will anchor the thread to your work.

I can sew in any direction, any pattern - 
you can see swirls and lots of curves in the picture below.

Here is another area where I used this foot for couching.

Next time I'll talk about how I use those 'fluffy' threads for embellishing. 

I hope you are enjoying learning how I use lots of interesting threads and fibres in my work. Have you tried any of these?  I'd love to hear about your experiences and discoveries!

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