Couching is an embroidery technique for attaching a thread, laid on the fabric surface and in place with small stitches over it at regular intervals. The two threads can be the same or contrasting colours to add pattern. It is a technique often used in Goldwork and attaching metallic threads to the work.
Satin Stitch is an easy hand embroidery stitch to work and can quickly fill in shapes with a flat and elegant effect where you can really appreciate the threads used. The tricky thing with this stitch, is to maintain neatness - especially on the sides and edges. For this reason, shapes are sometimes given an outline stitch - Back, Chain or Slip stitch. You also need to make sure that your tension remains even so that the fabric is not pulled and distorted.
French knots are such a pleasing stitch to embroider. They are cute little knots of thread that can be used as a filling stitch or placed singularly to create spotty motifs, eyes, flower centres etc. Placed close together they can form a dense and very textural surface and add dimension to your embroidery.
Hand embroidery is a great tool to have in your sewing repertoire. Gone are the days that hand embroidery is the pastime of spinsters. This traditional skill is seeing resurgence in popularity, not only for its beautiful aesthetics but also for its therapeutic qualities, the rhythm of stitching is a slow but completely satisfying way to work. So, have a go and start to hand sew!