Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Crathorne Bug - trailing

starting trailing - pin is the starting point of the design
needle up
needle up close up
needle down
needle down close up

Trailing is a form of couching, where a core thread is oversewn completely using another thread in a needle.  Use DMC Col.3782 stranded cotton for the trailing, five strands of this colour for the core, and one strand for oversewing.

To give the trailing some tension, knot the core thread, and bring the thread up a good inch or so away from the starting point.  The starting point is the beginning of the design, or where the pin is placed to show YOU, where I started trailing - image 1.

Secure the single thread to the fabric, using a No. 9 or 10 crewel embroidery needle.  Then start trailing. 

Tips on trailing - 
  • Make sure there is always some tension on the core thread.  I am right handed, so I use my left hand to hold the core thread, whilst I stitch with my right.  Whatever works for you!
  • Bring the needle up on the design line, oversewing over the core thread, taking the needle back down on the design line.  Completely cover the core thread, encasing it.  No core thread should show.
  • When I bring the needle up - I move the core thread to the side so I know I am bringing the needle up on the line.
  • When I take the needle back into the fabric - I move the core thread in the opposite direction so I can see the design line.
  • All the time, I am holding and keeping tension on the core thread.  This keeps the line of trailing very fine.
  • Don't forget to keep good tension on the single couching thread too!
  • Finally, ensure your working thread retains its sheen.  Finish and start a new thread if it looks worn as it travels through the fabric many times.
This technique looks great when worked well, but may take a little time requiring some practice.  My advice would be to take your time and not to rush it.

Next post will show you what to do when you come to the end of the first line of trailing. 

Apologies for not blogging sooner.  I mentioned in a previous post that I may have a slow start as I have an enormous amount of work and responsibility, but I hope to work on this over the festive period, when I am less in demand and hope complete it 'very soon' before my next term of teaching begins to take hold. 

Thanks for your patience if you have been waiting.


  1. Thank you for these excellent instructions about trailing. It is a technique I have long wanted to master, but while I had found general instructions, I had not been able to resolve some of the finer points, all of which you cover in your posts. I'm very grateful to you for so generously sharing your expertise.