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In the Loop

Smocking

Smocking is a great decorative technique that's a lot easier to do than you may think. Seen most often on yokes of baby dresses, smocking can also be used at the tops of knitted bags or as an allover design on pillows and even scarves. Here are two different ways to create knitted smocking.

Click here for larger image.
Smocking

Smocking Method 1

The smocking is worked over a group of k1, p3, k1. For flat knitting, use a multiple of 8 stitches + 5. The sample includes two edge stitches, which are not included in the pattern instructions below, and was knitted with 39 stitches ([8 x 4] + 5 + 2).

Smocking Pattern 1

Row 1: *K1, p3; rep from * to last st, k1.

Row 2: *P1, k3; rep from * to last st, p1.

Row 3: Rep Row 1.

Row 4: Rep Row 2.

Row 5: *Smock, p3; rep from * to last 5 sts, smock.

Row 6: Rep Row 2.

Rows 7-10: Rep Rows 1-4.

Row 11: K1, *p3, smock; rep from * to last 4 sts, p3, k1.

The smock stitch can be worked in one of two ways. The results are almost identical; you may choose whichever method you prefer.

  1. Insert right needle between fifth and sixth stitches on left needle (Photo 1).

  2. Click here for larger image.
    Photo 1

  3. Draw a loop through to the front (Photo 2).

  4. Click here for larger image.
    Photo 2

  5. Place the loop on the left needle (Photo 3).

  6. Click here for larger image.
    Photo 3
  7. Knit the loop together with the first stitch, p3, k1 (Photo 4).

  8. Click here for larger image.
    Photo 4

Smock Stitch 2

  1. Place the next five stitches onto a cable needle and hold in front (Photo 5).

  2. Click here for larger image.
    Photo 5
  3. Wrap the working yarn around the stitches on the cable needle twice, moving from back to front, back to front, and back again ready to knit the next stitch (Photo 6).
  4. Click here for larger image.
    Photo 6
  5. K1, p3, k1 from cable needle (Photo 7).
  6. Click here for larger image.
    Photo 7

Smocking Method 2

Smocking Pattern 2

Row 1: *K1, p3; rep from * to last st, k1.

Row 2: *P1, k3; rep from * to last st, p1.

Rep Rows 1 and 2 to desired length.

Click here for larger image.
Photo 8

Sewn Smocking Stitch

Thread a tapestry needle with a long length of yarn.

For this method, you knit the entire piece to be smocked in a rib pattern (Photo 8), then smock the rib with a needle and yarn. The sample is worked on 39 stitches, which includes two edge stitches that are not part of the pattern instructions.

  1. Bring the needle from back to front through the first stitch to be smocked on a column of knit stitches (Photo 9).
  2. Click here for larger image.
    Photo 9
  3. Pass the needle behind the corresponding stitch on the next column of knit stitches to the left (Photo 10).
  4. Click here for larger image.
    Photo 10
  5. Now pass the needle behind the original stitch (on the right) and the second stitch (on the left) again (Photo 11).
  6. Click here for larger image.
    Photo 11
  7. Pull up taut. Continue to the next group of stitches by weaving the yarn along the back of the work (Photo 12). When it's time to move up to the next set of smocking stitches, weave the yarn through the back of a column of knit stitches.
  8. Click here for larger image.
    Photo 12

That's all there is to it. Happy smocking!

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