Tambouring is slow progress

Tambouring was very popular in the 18th century. It involves using a crochet hook to pull loops of thread through the fabric, and produces an effect very like chain stitch: in fact you have to look closely at the back to see a difference. It's a technique I am trying to get to grips with, but it is a very different movement from embroidery with a needle.

When I started it was hard, but it's beginning to get easier. When it goes smoothly it is quicker than chain stitch, especially using the stab method of stitching chain. However, at the moment it is not going smoothly for long at a time! Overall I think it is just about quicker, but I've a way to go yet. It is going longer between hang-ups, I think. I keep telling myself that.........

Interestingly, I think the direction of the twisting action affects whether the thread is more or less likely to untwist and split, so I need to be more careful about that. It may just be the 100-count crochet cotton I am using: it's fairly old thread I've had for a while, but I've started this sleeve ruffle with this thread, so I'll persevere with it. It also needs good light: I don't know how they managed in the 1760's!