Sunday, 12 February 2012

Couched ball chain

I was planning on showing some pics I took today (it snowed last night so I had to get the camera and go for a walk), but the computer acted up and I haven't been able to edit all the pics yet. So instead I'm showing you this little WIP. Or, well, it's not a WIP, rather a test piece. I'm thinking about doing a brooch or pendant using ball chain couched with colourful embroidery floss (or perhaps will floss blending with the felt background).

Ball chain -- as well as rhinestone chain -- is perfect to couch because of the spaces between the balls. The downside is that you can't make sharp turns as you can with e.g. zippers, though on the other hand it's easy to make coils as you can see (the coil isn't couched, it's just rolled up).

Before I start a new project embroidering with the chain I have a few things I'm thinking about. Do I want to fill in the empty spaces with beads? Or perhaps with embroidery floss (e.g. satin stitches/laidwork), which will look more like it's painted compared to beads that add texture and shine. Applique felt/fabric? Or just keep it as it is, not adding anything but the chain and couching thread. And what to stitch on? Felt is always useful, but if keeping the open spaces unbeaded and unembroidered it's not the most exciting material. Might also be too much of a contast between the hard, shiny chain and the soft, fuzzy felt.

Anyway, I should be focusing on my challenge jewellery right now so this will have to be put aside for the time being.


  1. What a clever idea!

    I love the look of the colored floss, and I think the chain would look beautiful on something smooth, like black ultrasuede. :)

  2. Hi! You surely live surrounded by beauty. What a lovely landscape.Thank you for sharing...
    Now back to bead business: What is a WIP?

  3. I should have used my brain instead of asking you about WIP! So embrassing, of course I know that a WIP is Work in process...I just thought it might be one of those secret beading words.I have a lot to learn about beading vocabulary.

  4. I really like the look of the floss with the chain. The mix of hard and soft is very inviting.

    1. The contrast between metal and fabric is exciting.
      Of course you could build a visual bridge between the two materials by using embroidery floss or some other kind of yarn when attatching the chain to the fabric. Hard and cold vs warm and soft also gives tactile interest to a piece. Anna

  5. Thank you! I'm glad to hear you liked it. Hopefully I'll get around to doing a finished piece with this technique soon.

  6. I like this! Love the contrast between the metal and the floss.

  7. How clever! The idea is great and the look even greater. Keep up the good work!

  8. changing the color of the thread you used to fixe the chain is a good idea and give a interesting result

  9. I never thought about couching a ball chain. You are quite creative and I am stealing your idea for a crazy quilt project.

  10. Thank you, all!

    Yes, please, do feel free to steal the idea. It works with e.g. zippers too (trim the fabric they're attached to first) if you don't have any ball chain or if the chain isn't flexible enough.


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