Laid & Couched Christmas presents

I'm a blank image because this stupid WP layout is stupid and makes an ugly forced image if I'm not here

Chase and I don’t do Christmas, except that we do. For the past couple of years we’ve gone to Anne and Foley’s for Christmas morning and it’s been a joy. Anne is my favourite present monster and it’s always the most pleasurable challenge to make or find her something. Last year I did a 25-day advent calender for her, so I wasn’t sure how to top that. And I gave Foley something way too goofy for her birthday, so I needed to figure out how to balance that. Chase suggested I hand-embroider cowboy shirts for them, which was genius.

I love embroidery and all the different styles and stitches available to use. I’d recently tried laid and couched work for the “pin” detail on a friend’s toddler’s Hobbit cape and knew it’d be the perfect counterpoint to the modern rodeo-cowboy style Western shirts are. I learned laid and couched work by following the stitch-a-long on Opusanglicanum, this post in particular. Time factors meant I’d have to supplement with other stitches, like some of my favourites from Sharon B’s stitch dictionary.

For Foley, I knew I’d need to have a shark. Just one simple shark buddy at the breast, then wave patterns of couched cord to go with the white piping on the shirt. The waves were a right bitch at first, until I figured out a jig with quilting pins to set up my wave shapes.


The finished shark was derpy and darling and I’m quite happy with it, even if I forgot a couple of those fins down by the tail.


Look at this face.



For Anne, I knew I needed to do a Robin Hood, but what? It was actually the Robin Hood theme that really decided the laid and couched work, because it seemed time-period appropriate. I eventually figured out do do old Robin Hood launching an arrow from his deathbed (to be buried where it landed) on the left shoulder, then having that arrow track across the back to the right, where it lands splitting an arrow in a tree next to young Robin Hood. Cyclical nature of myth and all that. I stupidly didn’t get a full finished shot, but I hope to soon.

Old Robin.



New Robin.


I finished it all off with some fancy stitches at the piping on the front and little arrows at the collar points. Which, I also spaced getting pictures of.

I’m super into this old/young Robin Hood imagery and would love to do a full laid and couched piece at some point soon to revisit it. Hopefully, I’ll get some more pictures of Anne’s finished shirt when we go play with LEGO together next week.

Also published on Medium.