Stitching The Hounds

Flat Colour Layer
Flat Colour Layer

One of the delights of Laid and Couched work is the slight sense of a return to childhood, but with added skills, as it were. The first layer consists of the threads laid and couched (hence the name), and is rather like “colouring in”: it produces a layer of flat colour, which will be tweaked and detailed later.

Or in this case, not quite flat colour. The thread Tanya includes is wool that she has dyed herself using natural dyes, and there are unevennesses in the colour that only adds to the charm. As you can see from the two large blue leaf-shapes. I was a bit over-determined to pack in the stitches on the frontmost hound and didn’t have thread leftover for the leaves. This being a holiday project, I went rootling in my stash for an indigo wool, and they only one I have is both much darker, and a different structure. But that will matter less when the details are added, so onwards!

Trellis Variation
Trellis Variation

Each leaf-shape used the other colours in a different way – as grid, as outline, as couching stitch. The outlines are in split stitch, and each of the grids is couched slightly differently, with a horizontal stitch, a vertical stitch, and upright cross or a diagonal cross.

In addition, I experimented with grid spacing for the blue one shown here. I like this variation, even if it does produce a rather loud plaid effect!

I was quite glad to find the variations slipping in. They might be a sign that I’m recovering from Akhenaten!


  1. Lady Fi says:

    Nice work!

  2. Sue Jones says:

    Nice doggies! This is very bright and jolly, with plenty of visual interest and just enough stitch complexity. Exactly what you need at a gloomy time of year. I have booked up for a day course on laid and couched work with Tanya, at Ewe & Ply, Oswestry, on the 25th Jan. I know I shall itch horribly, working with wool all day, but I am really looking forward to it – especially after seeing what you are up to here.
    It’s always interesting going back to techniques and stitches that you mastered years ago, but with your current experience and outlook. You have a different appreciation of them – and that can be very inspiring.

  3. It is well worth clicking on your pictures to get an enlarged image – wow. your work is so neat. The laid work patterns give each leaf its own character.

  4. Kathy says:

    Oh how beautifully this is coming along, and I love the variegated effect on the blue dog. The various trellis patterns on the leaves are great fun aren’t they. I suspect you need a good magnifying light to get such a lovely even effect with the laid work.
    I help run a little stitching tutorial group for new stitchers with the local branch of the EG and we were discussing Akhenaten yesterday. They were very amused that you were going to turn him to the wall for a bit until his (or your) temper had improved. They understood the sentiment precisely, and were also very interested in the bubble wrap tip.

  5. Carolyn Foley says:

    Now they need names, you can’t just call them by their colour!

  6. Lin says:

    I have enjoyed following your progress on Instagram – what a great holiday project. xx

  7. Jen says:

    The hounds stand out so vividly! Great pattern and texture in this piece.