A plunging lasso is a little get-up involving a piece of string and a needle, and it’s used to plunge couched embroidery threads – and most often, goldwork threads – to the back of the fabric.
I prefer using a plunging lasso to using a larger needle to plunge threads, although I use both methods. The plunging lasso is more convenient – it’s easier to thread the loop of string than it is to thread a needle eye. The lasso also works easily with short lengths of gold thread, so in the event that you accidentally cut your couched metal thread shorter than you intended and aren’t sure how to get the short end to the back of the fabric, the plunging lasso will save you!
Incidentally, the lasso can be used to plunge other threads in addition to metal threads – whenever you’re couching threads and need to pull your laid thread to the back and are having trouble getting it there with a needle, this little home-made devise works great.
You don’t have to be super-specific about the type of string you use for this! I’m using this #80 lace cotton from DMC because I had it on hand and it is fine enough for the small threads I’m working with. I find that this type of string and linen thread work really well for plunging lassos, but in a pinch, I have even been known to use a piece of silk floss, when I didn’t have anything else available. Stranded cottons and wools don’t work that great for this – cotton isn’t quite strong enough and wool? Well – fuzzy!! (I haven’t tried it with wool, just in case you’re wondering!)
Really, all you need is a standard little piece of string – like crochet cotton.
I’m threading a #7 crewel needle with about a 4″ piece of the above-mentioned string. You can see that one end of the string is going into the needle from left to right.
Then I brought the other end of the same string around to the back of the needle, from the opposite direction in which I threaded the first end…
… and I threaded the second end of the string into the needle from that direction. In a nutshell, you’re threading both ends of the same piece of string into a needle from opposite directions. That’s it!
And this is what you end up with.
How does it work? Well, you sink that needle into your fabric at the point where you want to plunge your thread, you pull the needle through until just the “lasso” or loop of string is on top of the fabric, you feed the end of the thread you want to plunge into the loop, and you give a quick little tug. Voilá! Your thread pops to the back.
You can see the plunging lasso in use here. The end of the gold thread was plenty long enough to use a larger needle to plunge the ends to the back, but I had a lasso on hand, so why thread a needle when you don’t have to?!
Enjoy your day!