Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Karahana, Petal Turnover

Many years ago, I saw a gold work sampler on display in a local embroidery shop. I was very taken with it, particularly one technique that I dubbed 'wave effect'. The first time I saw Karahana, I recognised the 'wave effect' on the petal turnovers. In Japanese Embroidery it is known as box couching.

It is usual to stitch the decorative outline of a shape last, to neaten and define the edges. Unusually the turnover on the petal is outlined with two pairs of #4 gold, couched round and round before the shape is filled with box couching. A grid of guidelines is then stitched before the padding is worked. The padding is strands of padding cotton, that are couched with very close stitches to form a firm, smooth support for the gold.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

The couching method used is called 'single strand, to and fro'. A single strand of #4 gold is stitched into place at one side of the shape and then laid across the shape at right angles to the padding. It is then secured with a stitch at the other end before being bent back on itself to form a pair of threads. These are couched as a pair, working back from the second stitch towards the first stitch.

To form the box pattern, the gold is only couched after every second row of padding, so that the thread is raised over a pair of padded rows and a valley is created between the pairs. This is repeated for several rows, couching into the same valley, after which, the couching stitches are made between the original pair for the same number of rows.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

The valleys continue alternating in this way until the shape is filled.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Happy Stitching


Doris said...

beautiful effect!

Anonymous said...

this tutorial is absolutly babulous for a novice embroideress like me...