Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas is for Sharing.....Santa Design and Graphs

This is a design that I did years ago. Years ago when I was publishing designs....when time seemed to be more plentiful.... when just getting that sudden creative energy was enough to make me want to spend hours stitching.

The original design was done for The Smocking Arts Magazine in 1986. I did a variation of this design for Austin when he was three years old. At times I feel that I'm in a time machine.....where have the years gone?

Austin's romper is smocked on Spechler-Vogel Imperial broadcloth insert, Children's Corner "Jeffrey" romper and Spechler-Vogel featherwale corduroy plaid. Santa also has blue pants.
This Santa is one that is much easier to smock that you might expect.
The body is symmetrical which requires less counting and positioning of stitches.
Basic Instructions
The design is worked over 12 rows. Pleat 14 rows. Begin border with a 2-step, half-space trellis beginning on row 2, working between rows 1 and 2; and row 11, working between rows 11 and 12. Use 3 or 4 strands of embroidery floss. Use the number of strands that will create a stacked figure with 5 rows of smocked cables beginning on one gathering row and ending on the next gathering row. See graphs. Arrows indicate stitching direction of smocked rows. Turn work as arrows change direction. Numbers on cable rows indicate consecutive stitches in the same floss color. Read graph colors from left to right. Red arrow-lines indicate where to end stitch (tie-off) sequence. Restart/continue smocking as indicated on graph. Note on graphs where satin stitch bars are worked over 1 or 2 pleats. Red dashed lines indicate backsmocking across back of work when moving over three or more pleats. When picture smocking, you must backsmock every row for support of characters except for front border design rows. These instructions are abbreviated, without cable-by-cable written text, in the hopes that this design with larger, more detailed color graphs will be sufficient to create this design.
Eyes for all figures are French knots wrapped 5 times in black/brown. Santa's mouth is a French knot wrapped 5 times in pink floss. Santa's belt buckle is a lazy daisy stitch in gold/yellow floss. Rabbit ears are lazy daisy stitches with pink straight stitch fill. "Snow" is randomly placed satin stitches over 2 pleats.
Santa is worked across 38 pleats.
Click graphs to enlarge.


This reindeer is smocked across 25 pleats. In the variation that I did for Austin's romper, I smocked this reindeer in reverse on the right side of the smocked insert.


The third character is a little rabbit that is smocked across 18 pleats.

Time seems to slip away and my productivity seems to be lacking at times....which is so frustrating. However, I always have a design just waiting for it's turn at my work table. I KNOW that Rapunzil will get done...right after the "new" Cinderella.
I would very much appreciate any feedback....please....regarding how much you like or dislike these new graphs. Also, I would be interested to know how many smockers prefer the cable-by-cable text. In trying to create new designs, with the limitations of a single page, I wonder if larger more detailed graphs would be favored or text.
Merry Christmas


Jan M said...

Oh, I love this design! Just wish I had time and eye energy to sit down and smock it now. Thank you so much for sharing it.
That is an absolutely adorable plaid romper. It looks just as wonderful for now, as it was for then. That is what I adore about "our" type of sewing! Thank you for continuing to be a source of inspiration!

Emily said...

Thank you so much for sharing this smocking plate! I can't wait to use it! I love, love, love the featherwale plaid corduroy you found. If you get a moment, come check out my childrens' book recommendations for those beautiful grandchildren of yours.

Emily said...

p.s. The graphs are PERFECT! I usually follow graphs best, only referring to the written text for placement and thread-count directions. I find your graphs ideal -- easy to read with the stitch number on the end of each line. I adored doing your Alice in Wonderland for my daughter! That's when I discovered your blog, through the Sew Beautiful article. And tonight I was tickled that you had a new post! I hope this lengthy response helps answer your question. Thanks again!

Laurie said...

Oh Gwen, for some reason I think you and I have alot in common!! Time seems to slip away for me too and my productivity seems to be lacking at times too....which also is so frustrating for me. I also always have a design just waiting for it's turn at my work table too, but it gets harder and harder to get to that work table as often as I would like to - again, it's very frustrating!
I LOVE your graphs and I LOVE this smocking plate - how generous of you to share it! I like the larger graph, as I don't have to put on peepers to see it!
I'm so glad you showed it made up in a boy's romper, since I have two grandsons to sew for. Altho it's too late for me this Christmas - again, it's that lack of time issue, I do hope to use this smocking design in future rompers! Thanks so much - I appreciate your friendship! Have a very Merry Christmas!

Robin Hart said...

While I love picture smocking, I hate doing it. The perfectionist in me is never happy... I am however printing out this graph to add to my collection. Thank you for your gift over the years.

Cassie said...

I like a large, clear graph, especially since I am left-handed. Line-by-line instructions don't help me at all, lol!

Aunt Honey said...

I love the graphs. I think the text is helpful for new smockers. Experienced smockers would probably prefer the larger graphs (especially if they have older eyes!). Thank you for sharing this plate! I have 4 little boys I smock for, and 3 little girls. No grandbabies yet, but I do have a hopechest!!

Karen said...

I, too, adore this smocking plate and thank you for sharing it with all of us. Emily explained just how I feel about graphs, too. I LOVE the larger graphs and use the text for placement, etc. You are so kind to share your talents with us. I feel like I got an early Christmas gift! I hope to smock this for a new godchild next year.

Joan said...

Thank you, Gwen! That is a classic treasure!

Penny said...

Thank you so much for sharing. This is just precious.

dandelionavenue said...

Thank you so very much! They are wonderful. You are so kind to give them away!

Adair said...

Thanks very much! This is definitely a design I would purchase! Your characters have so much personality and make each outfit unique. This must be the best graphic I've seen. I prefer to follow the printed design when smocking but also refer to the written instructions as a double check. I'm looking forward to using all and parts of this design for next year's Christmas outfits for several nieces and nephews, ages 1 to 5 years.

Rettabug said...

What a wonderful gift, Gwen!! Thank you SO very much for providing this Santa plate. These large, colorful graphs are so helpful. I think I could do this one without too much difficulty. I ♥ to smock but my PS skills are wanting. I need to practice it more.

Your little Austin looks so adorable in that WONDERFUL plaid romper! Plaid AND certainly ARE a pro. LOL

I look forward to seeing your PS Rapunzil!!!

Michie' Mooney said...

Thanks so much for sharing! I'll be looking forward to using your design next Christmas!

Samantha said...

Just now seeing this. I need to make it next Christmas for a little guy we know. As for the graph, I really like the way you graphed it. I find myself relying on the actual graph much more than the printed directions and with the helps you've included on your graph, I would think that would make the printed directions even less important.