Silk couching thread is used in many different applications in hand embroidery, but probably most commonly used in goldwork.
There are a variety of threads I use for couching metal threads. Which one I use is determined by a couple things: what’s easily on hand without having to dig through supplies, what type of thread I’m couching and what it’s made out of, and finally, what I want the finished product to look like.
I sadly admit that often, convenience plays a big role in what couching thread I happen to use! Normally, I keep a spool or two in my work basket, but sometimes, I have to dig for the right thread!
Kreinik silk couching thread: This is a gold-colored thread, size 0. It’s a smoother thread than Soie 100/3, and has more of a shine to it. I like it because, when I’m couching smooth passing thread, the color and shine blend in with the thread.
You can find the Kreinik silk couching thread through local or online needlework shops that carry Kreinik threads.
Soie 100/3 in light gold or dark gold: this is an excellent couching thread, but it’s a bit thicker than the Kreinik, and it isn’t as shiny.
It comes in a variety of colors, but for couching gold, I like the light gold or the dark gold. The dark gold looks best, I think, with 2% gold threads, while the light gold looks better with gilt threads. Because it’s a bit thicker than Kreinik, I don’t use it for finer sizes of pearl purl (it tends to show, and sometimes, it really moves the pearls apart), and I don’t use it for finer sizes of twists (like Elizabethan twist…)
For Soie 100/3, you can purchase it at any fine needlework shop that carries the Au Ver a Soie silk threads.
Tire Silk: this is a new thread for me, but after using it a bit on the latest samples of goldwork, I really LIKE it a LOT! I think it may end up being my favorite thread for couching!
It’s called “Machine Twist (50 weight),” and it comes in a nice darkish gold. You can also find even a finer weight Tire Silk (100 weight), which I’d like to try for the really fine gold threads, like Elizabethan twist. I’ve put it on my wishlist.
If you want to try Tire Silk, you can find it through Superior Threads online.
So those are the types of silk couching thread I use and some of the places you can find them. I’ve used polyester for couching as well. There’s a yellow one that looks just like the Soie 100/3, but a little brighter. But I’ve found I prefer the silk. And a little goes a long way, so it isn’t that much of an investment.