How to use a Koma
Need another pair of hands? Komas come to the rescue.
What is a Koma?
This wooden spool serves as an extra "hand" to hold threads you are couching on the surface of your fabric or canvas. Originally used in Japanese embroidery, komas are used world-wide by stitchers of all ages and skill levels. Kreinik's Komas are made in Ohio, turned with West Virginia and Ohio wood.
What is couching?
Couching is a surface embroidery technique in which you tack down a decorative thread with an invisible, coordinating, or contrasting thread. These tacking stitches can be either side to side, down the middle of your couched thread, or a decorative stitch such as Herringbone, Elongated Cross, etc.
Couching is a traditional Japanese embroidery technique that has become popular in all needlework and crafts today, including counted thread, needlepoint, quilting, crazy quilting, surface embroidery, stumpwork, goldwork, crewel, and samplers. Komas are an easy way to hold — and direct — your couching threads as you stitch.
Which threads can be couched?
Couching is an excellent way to use threads that are too thick to pass through fabric or canvas, however you can couch any decorative thread: real metal, metallic, silk or ribbon. Kreinik threads you can couch include Japan #5, Japan #7, 1/8" Ribbon, 1/16" Ribbon, Facets, Petite Facets, Micro Ice Chenille, Heavy #32 Braid, Canvas #24 Braid, Medium #16 Braid, Silk Serica, and Kreinik Real Metal Threads. Kreinik threads that you use to couch these decorative threads include Silk Bella, Silk Mori, Silk Couching Thread, Japan #1, Cord, Blending Filament, Very Fine #4 Braid, Fine #8 Braid.
Why does the koma have square ends?
They prevent the spools from rolling around or off your project as you stitch.
How do you use a koma?
Wrap your decorative thread around the barrel of the koma, then set it on your needlework to unwind the thread as you couch. Move the koma as you work to keep your thread in proximity to your stitching area. This gives you greater control over your couching, and the wooden spools won't roll off as you work.
Why are komas sold in pairs?
Having two komas allows you to couch more than one thread at a time. This creates exciting embroidery effects and expands your creative options: imagine the dimension you can achieve by layering fibers like round Fine #8 Braid on top of flat 1/8” Ribbon, or placing them parallel as in two rows of smooth gold Japan #5. You can create new textures, trims, borders, and edgings by couching multiple threads, and komas make couching easier.