Bokhara Couching

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Bokhara Couching is a method of embroidery couching that is named after the city Bokhara in southeastern Uzbekistan where this technique originated. It is common to see this style of couching embroidery in Suzani wedding cloth and other textiles originating from that region.

This method of couching is done mostly to cover very large areas with a fill stitch and typically uses only one thread to achieve the desired result.

Bokhara Couching
Bokhara Couching

This method of laidwork is done so that the thread is laid one line at a time from side to side as a long straight stitch in the space to be covered. Using the same threaded needle, this long strand of thread is then couched down by taking slanted stitches in consistent intervals across the stitch.

How to Do Bokhara Couching Stitch

To do this couching technique, you will usually want to work from bottom to top and using a fine embroidery thread. If you’d like to stay true to its traditional workings, use a bright, boldly colored silk thread in red, royal blue or orange.

To begin, create a long straight stitch that begins on the left and goes to the right. The length of this stitch will depend on what size of area you are filling – if you just want to practice and try this technique in a sampler, 1 inch is a good length to start with.

After you make this long thread and have the needle on the underside of your fabric, you will then come back to the top with your needle at the bottom of this thread to couch it into place with a small angled straight stitches around the thread. Repeat this process until the thread is tacked on in place, taking care to keep an even spacing between each couching stitch.

The next row will be done right on top of this thread you just couched on and you will repeat the same process to create a new straight stitch and then coming back to couch it again. As you do each stitch, you will want to bring your couching stitch to the left of the previous stitch in the first row, so that these rows create an angled effect in the embroidery.

These stitches need to be placed close together and positioned in a way so that they build up slanting diagonal lines across the surface. The tying
down stitch should be tight and the laid silk between a little slack, for
this gives the right effect to the finished work.

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