Laid and Couched Work

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Icelandic Laid and Couched Work Cushion

Laid and Couched Work, is a form of embroidery where a thread (usually wool) is laid on a ground fabric (usually wool or linen). This stitch is created by laying a set of ground threads, that work from one side of the pattern to the other. Over these threads, in the opposite direction, are laid another set of threads at regular intervals. These cross threads are then held down by a series of couching stitches. The whole process results in an area completely covered in thread. This technique allows for large areas of pattern to be covered very quickly.

One of the most famous works completed in this technique is the Bayeux Tapestry.

The image below is of a reproduction design, based on a 14th century Icelandic wall hanging. The design below is a cushion and illustrates the laid and couched technique.