COUCHED METAL THREADS

There are many types of metals threads that are couched down over felt padding or directly onto the ground fabric. The couching threads can be broken down into three groups. Either the English name, French name or both are given for the metal thread.

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Type 1:  Metal threads that are couched down and the ends of the threads are taken through the ground fabric to the back of the work and secured to the stitches at the back of the work. All the threads in this group are made up of a soft fibre core which is wrapped with a fine metal thread or foil.

Type 2: Metal threads that are couched down and the ends of the threads are taken through the ground fabric to the back of the work and secured to the stitches at the back of the work. All threads in this group are cords or twists and are made up of a soft fibre core which is wrapped with a fine metal thread. Three strands of the metal thread are twisted together to make a cord.

Type 3: Metal threads that are couched down and the ends of the threads are cut sheer to the edge of the design on top of the work. All the threads in this group are solid metal made from either copper or white metal and plated with gold, silver or copper.

Metal threads are packaged in clear acid free plastic or paper bags or tissue paper.

TYPE 1

Check Thread is made up of a wire wrapped around a cotton core. The cord has wavy (kinked) serpentine appearance. Check Thread is couched down singularly or two strands at a time in the same colour sewing thread or a contrasting thread. Check Thread is similar to Rococco, but much finer and more flexible and has a closer wave.

Flat Worm is made up of wire wrapped around a cotton core. The thread is straight and smooth in appearance and turns corners easily when using a mellore. Passing is couched down singularly in the same colour sewing thread or a contrasting colour.

Japanese Thread is made up of a metal foil wrapped around a thread core. Japanese threads are usually couched down two threads at the time (as it fills in the design area faster) and couched down with the same colour sewing thread or a contrasting thread in a bricking fashion. If sewn down with a contrasting thread the Japanese thread can be couched down in colour in a pattern or with a range of shades, this is known as Or nue. Synthetic thread so will not tarnish.

Large Back is made up of wire wrapped around a cotton core. The thread is rounded and smooth in appearance and turns corners easily when using fine tipped tweezers. Large Back is couched down singularly in the same colour sewing thread or a contrasting colour. The thread is similar to passing thread No. 7 but is about 4 times the thickness.

Smooth Passing is made up of wire wrapped around a cotton core. The thread is straight and smooth in appearance and turns corners easily when using fine tipped tweezers. Passing is couched down singularly in the same colour sewing thread or a contrasting colour. SOME of the passing threads are synthetic thread so will not tarnish.

Rococco is made up of a wire wrapped around a cotton core. The cord has wavy (kinked) serpentine appearance. Rococco is couched down singularly in the same colour sewing thread or a contrasting thread. Rococco is similar to Check Thread, but much thicker, stiffer and has a more open wave.

Standard Lurex Thread No. 371 is made up of gold synthetic thread wrapped around a cotton core. The thread is straight and smooth in appearance and turns corners easily when using fine tipped tweezers. The thread is couched down singularly in the same colour sewing thread or a contrasting colour and can be used for the plaited braid stitch. This thread does not tarnish but has the appearance of a real metal thread. Synthetic thread so will not tarnish.

TYPE 2

Cords, Twists (Torsade) are twisted cords. The twists are couched down by sewing the stitch at the same angle as the twist of the cord so that the stitches hide in the twists and are invisible. A couching down thread of the same colour is used to sew down the twisted cord.

DMC Metallic Embroidery Thread Light Gold No. 282: DMC Metallic embroidery thread is a twisted cord. The thread is synthetic so will not tarnish and makes a good alternative to the Elizabethan Twist. The DMC metallic thread is good for filling in shapes in the couching method with the same colour or contrasting colour. It can also be used in blackwork and other embroidery techniques as a highlight. The three strands of the twist can be separated and sewn down singularly. Synthetic thread will not tarnish.

Gimp Cord is made up of three separate gold strands made up of a fine gold wire wrapped around a thread core. The three gold strands are twisted together to may the Gimp Cord. The strands can be separated. The Gimp Cord has a mat appearance.

Grecian Twist is made up of four gold strands, two strands with a smooth surface two strands with a serrated surface, all four gold strands are twisted together to make a cord. This cord is great for outlining on goldwork

TYPE 3

Jaceron is the same thread as Pearl Purl in appearance, but the manufacturing process is slightly different. Jaceron is a wire that is wound into a tight coil that looks like a strand of gold pearls. In manufacturing the wire that is wrapped around the needle to create the coil is slightly larger relative to the needle where as in the manufacturing of Pearl Purl the wire is the same size relative to the needle.

Jaceron needs to be stretched before it is used which enables the couching down thread to slip down between the twists of the gold thread. Tiny stitches are used to sew down the Jaceron at 3 or 4 coil intervals in a thread of the same colour and at the same angle as the twist of the wire so that the thread slips down between the coils and is invisible. Jaceron is used as an outline for designs or in combination with other couched threads as a filling thread for designs such as leaves. Fine tipped tweezers are a great tool to help bend Jaceron.

Lizerine also known as Lizardine is a similar thread to Pearl Purl and Jaceron but the manufacturing is slightly different resulting in a squared flattened appearance rather than rounded and the pearls are less pronounced.

Lizerine needs to be stretched before it is used which enables the couching down thread to slip down between the twist of the wire. Tiny stitches are used to sew down the Lizerine at 3 or 4 coil intervals in a thread of the same colour and at the same angle as the twist of the wire so that the thread slips down between the coils and is invisible. Lizerine is used to outline designs or in combination with other couched threads as a filling thread for designs such as leaves. Fine tipped tweezers are a great tool to help bend Lizerine.

Pearl Purl's is the same thread as Jaceron in appearance, but the manufacturing process is slightly different. Pearl Purl is a wire that is wound into a tight coil that looks like a strand of gold pearls. In manufacturing the wire that is wrapped around the needle to create the coil is the same size relative to the needle where as in the manufacturing of Jaceron the wire is slightly larger relative to the needle.

Pearl Purl needs to be stretched before it is used which enables the couching down thread to slip down between the twist of the wire. Tiny stitches are used to sew down the pearl purl at 3 or 4 coil intervals in a thread of the same colour and at the same angle as the twist of the wire so that the thread slips down between the coils and is invisible. Pearl Purls metal threads are used as outlines for designs or in combination with other couched threads as a filling thread for designs such as leaves. Fine tipped tweezers are a great tool to help bend Pearl Purl.

Milliary Wire is a two part thread, consisting of a central core wire, with a coiled wire around it. The Milliary wire is couched down in a thread of the same colour so that the stitches are not visible. Milliary wires are used as outlines for designs or in combination with other couched threads as a filling thread for designs such as leafs.

Plates there are two types of Metal Plates:

1. Broad Plate is a broad flat shiny metal.

2. Whipped Plate is a broad flat shiny metal plate with a wire wrapped around the plate at an angle. The plates are couched down in a thread of the same colour. The plate is laid by folding the plate back and fourth across the shape, the turn of the plate is on the edge of the shape (the shape should be simple with a smooth edge) the couching down stitches are hidden in the turn of the plate.

Spangles (Paillette) are metal sequins and are of superior quality. The spangles are couched down with one stitch that crosses the join of the spangle.

Examples of Couched Metal Threads

Check Thread

A leaf is worked in check thread over felt padding. A single strand of the check thread is couched down at intervals in the kink of the thread for the length of the leaf. The ends of the thread are taken to the back of the work at the top and bottom of the leaf. The leaf is outline with pearl purl


Japanese Gold

The center of a Goldwork Tudor Rose petal is worked in Japanese Gold. Two strands of the Japanese Gold are sewn down over felt padding using a sewing thread of the same colour.

The Goldwork Heart is worked in Japanese thread sewn down over crochet cotton padding to create a pattern in the Heart shape.


Japanese Gold - Or nue

          

The body of the Goldwork Cardinal is worked in Japanese Gold, couching two strands down at a time over felt in the technique of Or Nue (using shades of couching down threads to sew down the strands of Japanese Gold).

The flower head of the Goldwork Tulip is also worked in Or Nue couching down one strand of Japanese thread at the time.


Passing

 

A leaf is worked in passing thread. Two strands of smooth passing thread is couched down in a sewing thread of the same colour over felt and string. The leaf is outlined with Pearl Purl.

An Or Nue Dragonfly is couched by sewing down two strands of silver passing thread with coloured silk thread and metallic threads.

The scroll of the passing design is worked in passing thread and outlined with pearl purl.


Rococco

 

Three leaves of the Goldwork Heart Design are worked in Fine Rococco which is sewn down singularly over felt padding using a single strand of polyester sewing thread.

The head of the Goldwork Or Nue Peacock feather is worked in Very Fine Rococco which is sewn down two strands at a time using red silk thread or Kreinik metallic threads.


Cords/Twists (Torsade)

The left leaf is worked alternating between working a row of twist along the length of the leaf and a row of stem stitch in green silk thread.

The leaf in the center from the Goldwork Marguerite embroidery is worked by sewing down two strands of a twisted cord. The twist is turned back and fourth across the width of the leaf and couched down with green thread on the vein lines and the edge of the leaf.

Red satin stitch drops on the Goldwork Passing Design are outlined in a single strand of No. 1 twist.


Milliary Wire

The red s-shape on the Goldwork Plate Design is outlined with Milliary wire. The Milliary is sewn down using a single strand of yellow sewing thread, working a stitch over the main wire and over the loops of the Milliary Wire. The ends of the Milliary wire are not taken to the back of the work so great care is taken to cut the ends so that they meet exactly and are sewn down securely so that they do not stick up and unwind.

The body of the pineapple on the Goldwork Still-Life embroidery is outlined in Milliary wire.


Pearl Purls, Jaceron or Lizerine

 

A passing leaf is outlined with Pearl Purl (similar to Jaceron and Lizerine) to finish of the edge neatly and then worked down the center of the leaf for the vein.

Three leaves and veins of the Goldwork Heart Design are outlined in pearl purl.


Plates

 

A acorn head is worked in Gold No. 6 Broad Plate over felt padding. The Acorn head is outlined with Pearl Purl.

The center of the Goldwork Plate Design is worked in Gold No. 6 Broad Plate. The triangles at the side are worked in Gold Whipped Plate.


Spangles (Paillette)

 

A leaf is worked in Rough Purl with a spangle threaded on the end of every third purl.

The ground underneath the Goldwork Tulip is decorated with spangles

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