SB Victorian Santa Step-by-Step
Posted by Claire on Nov 10 2010, in magazine article, Smocking
I’ve got a lovely velvet pillow in the current issue of Sew Beautiful . It features a very different method of picture smocking. Essentially, I threw out the rule book, which usually advocates using multiple needles for complex picture smocking, and smocked it like you would a cross stitch picture, block of colour by block of colour.
I’m such a rebel 😉
It’s a great project and I’m really happy with how it came out. What I wanted to share were the ‘in progress shots’ that I actually remembered to take while I was smocking it this past summer. What a miracle!
I think it’s neat, watching it take shape, and I hope you find the images valuable, especially because they illustrate the ‘block’ method very clearly.
You can see the gathering threads; I use one colour to indicate my whole spaces and another colour to indicate my half spaces. Makes finding your way around a big picture like this much easier!
Santa’s coat is smocked using a very non-traditional thread choice for smocking – it’s Rainbow Gallery’s Very Petite Velvet thread. It was fantastic to work with – great coverage, lovely texture. Will definitely use it again!
I don’t worry about completing a whole area. I get bored – short attention span, I guess, and so I often jump around as I smock a picture like this. The skirt, a bit of the fur, the underskirt, a foot. It also helps me gauge whether a colour or a thread is working without having to commit to the whole area first. I often change my mind as I design, tweaking and refining as I go.
I used a lot of colours in this design – fifteen or twenty, I think, and the block method allows me to add a touch of colour, like the straps, the beard or the cheeks, as I go. Gives a lot of depth to the picture, I think.
Of course, you don’t have to restrict the block method to just this pillow; once you get use to looking at picture smocking by block and not by individual row, it becomes very easy to use it for any picture smocking design.