Since it’s been a tooth-pulling kind of week here, we need a little cheer. Two of my children had to undergo not-so-pleasant dental procedures this week. One child received a treasure chest to keep her two baby teeth in.
So for some cheer; last weekend our family traveled to Sauk Rapids, to the north in Minnesota. Hannah and Lydia competed in a 4-H Quiz Bowl State Competition. Their Dodge County team won third place out of eight teams. Hurrah.
During the quiet drive home, with sleepy kids and passing through the lovely rural Minnesota, I worked on my picture smocking homework. This is my cheery bluebird.
Cyndy Pond, from the Lakes & Prairies chapter of the Smocking Arts Guild of America, taught a very well-organized class on picture smocking at the Textile Center in Minneapolis. Though I wasn’t able to attend the two-day class, I appreciated her class notes and kit. She gave several tips to make picture smocking more precise. A key to picture smocking is ensuring that the cable stitches are closely stacked onto each other. The needle must be horizontal, that is parallel to the pleating threads; and the four strands of Presencia embroidery floss must also lay parallel to one another. It’s also important that the pleats are not distorted by the cable stitches. This short lesson was intended as a good learning tool and practice session, and I appreciated Cyndy’s complete kit, including this pleated piece of broadcloth, embroidery floss, and #7 embroidery needle.
Cyndy recommends the Texas Smocking Company’s archive files for a picture smocking tutorial. (I’m currently only seeing part 6; I’ll look into that.) She also discussed possible uses for this needle art. I can see this cheery bluebird insert cropped and placed on the pockets of maybe a white or denim Spring jacket for a certain nine-year-old Perry girl. We’ll see.