Fine needlework is technically anything done with a tiny needle, but for the purposes of the class it covered two types of work: madeira work and smocking. This post will be about smocking, as thanks to the pregnancy exhaustion of first trimester, I didn't fully complete my madeira work project before handing it in, and I'd like it to be done before I photograph it for the blog!
I've been interested in smocking in the past, even to the extent of buying a book on it, but the amount of preparation you need to do to pleat the fabric had always seemed daunting. There are techniques you can use to smock fabric without pre-pleating, like counterchange smocking, but it works best on stripes or checks and still requires some fabric preparation in terms of marking it up. So being given a pre-pleated sample piece for the purposes of the class was an ideal opportunity to try the stitching part without the initial time investment.
For our class and assignment folder we had to produce a smocking sampler, so just trying a variety of stitches. I do enjoy the freedom of producing samplers but it does occasionally end up looking a bit messy.
I ended up with about a dozen different stitches and variations on stitches on my sampler, and I'm quite happy with it. I didn't get the room to try picture smocking, or smocking with buttonholes for a ribbon insertion - two techniques I liked the look of - but it was a still a good range to get a sense of what is involved in the technique.
|The finished smocking sampler for the class.|
|These triangles are made up of one basic stitch - but are so effective!|
|An embellished trailing vine is so pretty - in a final project it might need backsmocking to keep it strong.|