Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Let the Smocking Begin

This is what I ended up with last night. This is two rows of cable stitches on pleated rows 2 and 3. The first pleated row is left unworked, since it is a holding row. Normally, I would use row 1 as a guide for a seamline (if I was stitching this to a bodice, for example), but in this case its only job is to hold the pleats up nice and pretty.

Candle asked a question in the comments about smocking an entire bodice--more particularly, when was I going to cut out the actual bodice shape. The answer is after I have finished all the smocking. This photo may help explain:

I put the front bodice guide over the smocked work and check the fit again before I do any more smocking. After all the smocking is completed, I will draw this off and sew around the outline. If you like, I'll put up photos of that step. By now it may have dawned on you that I will be cutting into this smocking! Yes!

While I'm doing this, I decide to check the pleat depth:

By folding up the guide I can see that the marked seamline does in fact line up nicely with the bottom pleat row. Nice. Things are looking really good here, until I make this Amazing Discovery:

Can you see what is right above my thumbnail? A Boo-Boo. Those three cable stitches don't look exactly like all their little friends, now do they? Time for Mr. Backspace (which is my term for smocking in reverse).
So I took it out. And reworked it. Because otherwise I would never be happy with it. Because it would stick out like a sore thumb after I worked the rows below it. Because I am overly obsessive. Because I want it to be perfect. Because I am a nerd.
Thanks, Candle--if you hadn't asked your question I wouldn't have discovered this until later, when it would have been much more aggravating to correct.
Anyway, I might as well show you the way I make a cable stitch, shouldn't I?

This was the best photo I could get. I enter the pleat in a perfectly straight line, lining the needle up with the pleated guide thread. I'm careful not to actually pierce the pleat thread.
Starting the first real row of this design:
I've worked the first half of the first row. The yellow thread marks the center pleat, which is the starting point. I work from the center to the right side, then turn the whole shebang upside down and work the other side. This will be a 5 cable-wave crossover pattern using two colors. The smocking design (Clementine) is in this issue of Australian Smocking and Embroidery, Issue 26, Spring 1993. Of all the issues I have so far, this one is my absolute favorite. Gorgeous stuff. If you can find this one, buy it. While you're on E-bay, I'll be smocking.

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