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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Needle lace appliqué…

In between slowly putting my quilt blocks together, I've been doing a lot of needle lace. I think it's the flitting between differing scales that appeals, my quilt is quite a beast so is reserved for Sunday sewing when I can play with all my toys and spread out for hours on end. On the other hand, these little appliqués are just a few centimetres high and are therefore perfect sewing projects to carry around with me.

I start by drawing an image on lightweight card, preferably an enclosed shape—an open motif won't hold its shape as well. Then I pierce the outline and use those holes to couch a piece of string to the front of the card. Next, I cover the couched thread with buttonhole stitch, it is important only to sew onto the couched thread on the top of the card and not through the card itself. Then I work into the loops of the buttonhole stitch to form a lace pattern. At the moment, I'm experimenting with a combination of random stitches and more regular patterns.

Finally, turn the card over and cut the couching stitches. As long as you haven't sewn through the card the appliqué should peel away quite easily, without too much fuss. All that's left to do is to remove any rogue couching stitches, a pair of tweezers can be useful when doing this.

I love the simplicity of this technique although I'm not sure what to do with all these appliqués I'm amassing. However, my real dilemma with needle lace appliqué is choosing whether to have toning or contrasting couching stitches. Do I use contrasting thread, which is easier to see, but which can get trapped and remain visible forever, or, do I use toning thread and run the risk of cutting the appliqué threads when I mean to cut the couching stitches. What would you do?



  1. What lovely motifs!
    Have you ever considered using clear nylon thread for anchoring the base thread to the card? It should be obvious THAT is the thread to remove.

  2. That's an excellent idea, and if it gets trapped it will hardly notice any way, thank you!


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