A Fun Use of Needlepoint Couching

What happens if your needlepoint presents a flower with folded petals. (Lotus Garden by JulieMar)

lotus garden by JulieMar

Or, your dog’s ear is bent. (Boston in purse by KAMALA.)

boston in purse by KAMALA

The ear and petal are obviously turned over on the painted canvas, but once stitched the fold seems to disappear. Short of folding over the canvas, how do you create a folded effect?  Read on and see how Needlepoint Couching can help you create the floppy ear effect you were hoping for.


Needlepoint couching is the term used for laying down and securing a thread on top of needlepoint canvas. This is in contrast to regular needlepoint stitches that are usually stitched into the canvas.

We’ve learned the technique in our tutorial on Needlepoint Couching. Just CLICK HERE for a reminder. Needlepoint Couching has many uses ---

  •  To create even, smoothly curved lines. (Remember, needlepoint is on a square grid – curved lines can be a challenge.)

red dimensional ball by purple palm

Couch Kreinik silver braid in the Dimensional Red ornament by Purple Palm above to make long lines of silver.

  • To add definition and texture to a feature on the needlepoint canvas.Needlepoint Couching

  • To introduce unusual fibers to your design– ones that might not thread through the canvas well, but can sit on top of it.

Blue pots III by purple palm

The leather around the pot is the perfect area to couch a thicker fiber that will add definition to your canvas: a strip of leather, #16 Kreinik braid or ribbon.

  • And, the point of this lesson, to create a folded effect on needlepoint canvas. Yes I finally got to the point -  so keep reading!

What do you do when your needlepoint presents a flower with folded petals. Or, your dog’s ear is bent.  Your options are several -- you could ignore the fold, pretend it doesn't exist.  (And we won't tell.)   You could make the floppy portion a totally different color - just like the dog in "You just need a good run"   by Maggie Co.

You just need a good run by Maggie Co.

But what if you don't want your dog to have orange and green ears?  Well, you could couch a thread to create a folded effect and to add dimension to your needlepoint. Couching can be added whether you are basket weaving the entire needlepoint canvas, or doing decorative stitches.  

Here's how to do it.  First stitch the entire area as if you were not going to embellish it by adding a couched thread.

Lotus JM132903

Once the area is covered, cut a piece of the couching thread and cover the area of the fold. Couch it in place.

Lotus Garden by JulieMar
In this JulieMar canvas called Lotus Garden I've added couching to the two petals on the bottom in pink to create the fold, and to the center of the flower to create definition.

The best threads for couching are those which add some dimension or glitter. Kreinik braids, Glisten by Rainbow Gallery or even heavier DMC Perle cotton with an accent color.

needlepoint couching

And, don’t limit yourself. Couching is easy, so use it on part of a circle to create 2 half circles . . .

Custom Alphabet Letters by Beth Gantz

Make gold earrings stand out by couching some heavy Kreinik braid . . . .

Lady in Wait facing left by S Carpenter

Couch a heavier thread in the narrow squiggles . . .

Wavy Harlequin by Sally Corey


Or just use it in the traditional way & couch a curved area that’s difficult to stitch.

Pacific Wavy by Unique NZ Designs

So start using needlepoint couching on your canvas.  If you have any questions just contact us.  We'll be happy to help.

Needlepoint couching: how to do it, where to use it and the best threads to use