Before we start double check that you are not planning to smocking on the wrong side of your pleated fabric. On some pleaters the thread between the pleater will be longer on one side or then other. As Martha Pullen says "Long is Wrong".
Now let break it down to the lowest common denominator........The Cable Stitch.
Lets get started on the perfect cable stitch.
- For this exercise I am going to thread a large eyed needle with 4 highly contrasting strands of floss. For example....1 strand each of red, blue pink and yellow floss.
- My floss has been stripped and I have ran it through a piece of wool. My thread has been knotted at one end.
- I am going to first start on the back of the fabric and secure the knot.
- Because the knot on 4 strands of thread is large I do not want to bury it in the valley of a pleat. It will just get in the way of my picture smocking.
- So instead I am going to secure the knot on the back of a pleat. I am making sure I am not going through any pleating threads.
- FYI-I have covered the back smocking in a previous tutorial.
- After the knot has been secured, I am going to bring my needle up from the bottom of a pleat. Again I am not going through any pleating threads.
- If this was a picture smocking design, I would be coming up in the valley one pleat to the left of where I want to start.
- Since I am right handed, I am going to bring the needle through the bottom of the pleat on my left. If I was left handed I would go to the right instead.
- When Picture smocking I need to take a deeper bite of the fabric to help support my design.
- I smock with my fabric turned sideways. I find I make better cables and it reduces the Carpel Tunnel because my wrist is not always bent. This is a personal preference. See what works for you.
- I am going to be stitching my cable stitch away from me. If I was Left Handed I would be stitching my cable stitch towards me.
Your eyes are not seeing things. I changed the colors of my multicolored floss because they did not show up as precise as I wanted in the photographs.
- I wanted to show you in this picture how separated the threads are coming out of the fabric. This is a result of using a very large eyed needle.
- Now I am going to take my first stitch. I am stitching my cable stitch just a few threads above my pleating thread. I do this to avoid hitting the pleating threads.
- My needle is straight up and down and at a 90 degree angle to the pleats. The needle is going into the fabric and coming out of the fabric at the same depth.
- Gently pull the floss to complete the first cable. The cable stitch should lay across the pleats. It should not choke the pleat. Think light and fluffy. :-)
- When I look at the cable stitch I should see every strand of the multicolored floss laying side by side. This also includes where the floss exits the fabric at the start of the cable and where the floss reenters the fabric at the end of the cable stitch.
- Ready for the next cable? It will be the same as the first cable. The needle is at a 90 degree angle to the pleats. I am following an imaginary line. No matter if it is an Up Cable or a down Cable the needle will follow the line.
- Some times no matter what, my floss get twisted. I always read in other Picture Smocking books to let your needle dangle and let the thread untwist. My floss is never that well behaved.
- Notice the circle I have drawn on this photograph? When I am Picture Smocking and keeping my threads separated, I really only concerned about the 1/2"-1" length of thread at the base of the thread.
- To untwist the floss I can pull up the cable stitch with the eye of your needle. Place your finger in the loop. With the eye of the needle separate the strands of floss.
- Another way to untwist the floss without unthreading your needle is to bring your needle all the way down the floss so that it is sitting on the fabric. Then I can untwist and separate your floss.
- I am going to continue stitching my cable row with the multicolor thread. Remember that every stitch is important.
Note: I have switched to pink thread for photographic reasons.
- Here is my cable row. I am going to stitch 2 more cable stitches.
- To stop the last stitch of my Picture Smocking from making a "Y", I am going to slant the last stitch.
- This picture looks a little deceiving. I am still going to keep my needle straight just as I have previously done. But, before I pull my needle through the fabric I am going pull the needle eye to one side twisting the pleat. Then I pull my floss through.
- Now to finish off. My floss is just above the last pleat. I am now going to bring the needle straight down into the bottom of the pleat.