Friday, February 4, 2011

it's national smocking month!

Did you know that February is National Smocking Month? In honor of that, I am going to devote at least one blog post to smocking each week, for the month of February! 
Hand-smocking has been a part of my life for over 28 years! I began smocking when my first child, a daughter, was born, and I have never grown tired of it. For me, smocking is very relaxing and I enjoy having something to keep my hands busy while the TV is on. There is almost always a piece of smocking sitting on my end table or tucked just inside the drawer.
I also keep several spools of my favorite colors of DMC Pearl Cotton #8, close at hand. I love the look of pearl cotton for smocking - it gives such a pretty dimension to the smocking stitches. I also love it because I don't have to separate the floss - just one strand will do! It also never loses it's sheen as you work down an entire row. A word of caution tho, pearl cotton should only be used for geometric smocking and not for picture smocking. For picture smocking you really need the floss to lay flat, so that the stitches will fill the figure in properly.
I think what I love most about smocking is that it has so many different types of techniques within it's own art! You can create endless designs by color, fabric, types of floss, stitches and texture. Adding beading and ribbon can also create a whole different look to smocking. Often times the ideas can be endless in what you can do with smocking. I guess that's really why I love it so much - it never gets boring! 
I am a member of the Smocking Arts Guild of America, and thru SAGA, I have learned many unique techniques, not just in smocking, but other needle arts too. I think it's very important to preserve and foster the art to share with future generations, so that it doesn't become a lost art. I'm glad that thru the internet I am able to share my knowledge of smocking and sewing to help others. I created a link on my sidebar so that you can easily reach all my YouTube tutorials - please join my channel, so that you will know when new tutorials are posted. 
Next week I will try to work up a smocking tutorial for you - anything special you would like to learn? If so, please leave a comment!


Sue said...

Your smocking is something very beautiful. Never have done that and I don't think I could :/

Southern Gal said...

Well, since it's national smocking month, maybe I should start that smocked bishop using your tutorial like I intended way back when. Easter is just around the corner. I may give it a try. I'm scared of the pleater I borrowed though! Once I get past that I may make some headway. Thanks for the tips about floss. I'll have to try pearl cotton next time.

Laurie said...


I've been following all the smocking you've done lately and have looked locally for pearl cotton #8 thread with no luck. Do you know of an online source?

Also, someone suggested using a number 5 darner. What do you think? I know you have recommend a number seven darner in the past.



Marlena said...

Looks beautiful! I think I am going to try the DMC Pearl Cotton #8 next time. Can you tell me again what needle do you use? I remember you mention on one of the videos but I did not make a note of it. Thanks.

Julia said...

Beautiful. I love to smock, too. I have 5 Easter dresses to make, some of which will be smocked.

Jeannie B. said...

I enjoyed your post. I only knew it was National Smocking month from Martha, and now your post. Guess I will need to look into it. loved the color of blue you were smocking with. Can't figure out what you are making tho!

Ginny said...

I would love some instruction on picture smocking.

Auntie Pam said...

Happy National Smocking month. You know without asking my first request is for a video on how to do simple three circle/level bullion roses to add to Smocking projects. Second would be honeycomb Smocking stitch. Your work is always gorgeous. I saw # 8 pearl cotton at but I know you have me another source.
Auntie Pam

Susan said...

Your smocking is beautiful..I am smocking "Corrine Elise" for my DGD Easter dress...I had not thought of the pearl cotton, going to try that next geo design.
And I agree we must be passing this art down to future generations. Also interested in the needle you use with the #8 pearl cotton.

patricias fabric art said...

Oh smocking bring back memories,the first and last time I did it was 20 years ago on my son's christening robe!!

CAS said...

You do lovely work. I haven't done any smocking since my daughter was little & she's almost 40, yikes. Maybe I'll have to try it again as I have 5 granddaughters & 2 of them are very young.

Janet said...

The smocking looks beautiful! You are SO talented!

Esther Grant said...

Always beautiful and inspiring. Happy smocking month to you, Laurie.


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