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Gold twist application

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Gold twist is a 3-ply twisted gold thread which is anchored with tiny stitches.  The stitches are worked at an angle which ensures they sit between the twisted threads and cannot be seen.  It is often used to edge motifs, or to form lines.

Gold twist can also be couched in a similar way to gold passing.

This method can also be used to stitch 4 or 5 ply threads; see Elizabethan twist application for a way of working a 2-ply metal thread twist.

Gold twist application is generously sponsored by April Astley Birtwistle


There are two methods desribed here: to couch down the gold twist, see steps 1 and 2; to attach the twist so that the stitches are not visible, see step 3 onwards (1 min 19 seconds into the video).

Use a thread matching the metal thread or the background fabric to ensure the stitches are not visible.

Wax your couching thread to ensure durability.


To couch over the gold thread: bring the needle out from under the gold, pointing the needle away from the thread.  Take the needle over the gold twist and back through the fabric by angling the needle back under the gold on the other side.


Continue to couch over the gold at evenly spaced intervals.


The second method is to stitch it down invisibly: bring the needle up on one side of the gold twist.


Look at the single ply that lies closest to the fabric at the point your thread appears from it. Follow this ply backwards with your needle and open the twist by rolling in your fingers.


Take the needle through the twist and into the fabric under the centre of the twist and slightly back from where it emerged to stitch down the single ply. Roll the twist back up so that it tightens the ply and disguises the couching thread.


Repeat every few millimetres to secure along the length of the gold twist.


If working the gold twist onto a fabric that is not flat (such as edging of a cushion) work back along the twist on the other side to make it extra secure.

Gold twist application

Embroidery Techniques


  • Tracy A Franklin, New ideas in goldwork (2002) , p.43

Examples of Gold twist application

Ecclesiastical sampler (IHS, Lamb of God), RSN Collection No. 243

Gold twist is used to edge the letters IHS and the roundel, plus other motifs.