Happy Scarecrows Smocking Plate: Step-By-Step Cable Count

Milner151Happy Scarecrows: Jack and Jill Straw Smocking Plates

From Sew Beautiful #151 (August/September 2013)

By Gwen Milner

With crisp fall weather comes the autumn harvest and the delightful and ever-so-practical emergence of the scarecrow. Being one of the most familiar figures in the American rural landscape, this ragged character is a natural motif for back-to-school apparel. Let Jack and Jill Straw put a smile on the face of your little adventurer. Jack stands in a cornfield while Jill poses among the sunflowers.

Smocking plates and details images can be found in Sew Beautiful #151. Included here is the step-by-step cable count.

 

 Jack Straw…..Boy Scarecrow

The boy scarecrow figure is centered on the pleated insert. Corn stalks stems/centers are worked 15 pleats from the widest (arms) part of the scarecrow. Stems are satin stitched over two pleats. There are 20 pleats between the large and small corn stalk stems/centers.

Begin on Row 5 with Jack’s arm. Begin left hand with a down cable in lt orange on third pleat of 34 pleats designated for figure. Cable 2 lt orange, 8 med orange spice, 2 med lavender blue, 5 med orange spice, 2 med lavender blue, 8 med orange spice and 2 lt orange. Turn; move out one pleat, cable 3 lt orange, 8 med orange spice, 2 med lavender blue, 5 med orange spice, 2 med lavender blue, 3 lt orange. Turn; move out one pleat, cable 1 lt brown, 4 lt orange, 8 med orange spice, 2 med lavender blue, 5 med orange spice, 2 med lavender blue, 8 med orange spice, 4 lt orange, 1 lt brown. Turn; on same pleat, cable 13 lt brown, 7 med lavender blue, 13 lt brown. Tie off. Join in with med lavender blue at figure body. (Pleats for body increase at beginning and end of each of the following rows up to 15 cables.) Cable 9 med lavender blue. Turn; cable 11 med lavender blue. Turn; cable 13 med lavender blue. Turn; cable 15 med lavender blue. Turn; cable 15 med lavender blue. Turn; cable 15 med lavender blue. Turn; working left leg, cable 6 med lavender blue, go to back, move over 2 pleats, cable 6 med lavender blue. Turn; decrease 1 pleat, cable 5 med lavender blue, go to back, move over 4 pleats, cable 5 med lavender blue. Overalls are complete. Next: working legs and feet. For the left facing leg, turn work upside down and begin with a down cable on the second med lavender blue cable of the previous row. Cable 4 lt orange. Turn; cable 1 lt brown, 3 lt orange, 2 lt brown. There is a fill-in stitch in lt brown above this cable stitch. Turn; cable 6 lt brown. Turn, cable 5 lt brown. Left shoe complete. For right facing leg, work is held upright. Begin on the second med lavender blue cable stitch of the right lower leg overall. Cable 4 lt orange. Turn; begin with up cable, cable 1 lt brown, 3 lt orange, 2 lt brown. There is a fill-in stitch in lt brown below this cable stitch (work is being held upside down). Turn; cable 6 lt brown. Turn, cable 5 lt brown. Right shoe complete.

For head, join in at stitches for neck. These are worked, centered on the 5 med orange spice cables stitched at center of body. Beginning with a down cable, cable 3 lt orange. Turn work…figure will be upside down…increase two pleats, begin with down cable 7 lt orange. Check this row to make sure it is level in order for the head to appear level. Figure is now in upright position, add one pleat; cable 9 lt orange. Turn, cable 9 lt orange. Turn; move in three pleats, cable 3 lt orange making sure they are centered on the previous row. The face is complete. Working hair on right side, join in at last 3 lt orange stitches. Begin with up cable; cable 4 med orange spice, 3 dark lt brown (hat). Turn; work lower hat and hair, cable 1 lt brown, 2 med orange spice. Turn, cable 2 med orange spice. Turn work upside down, join in again at the last 3 lt orange stitches of the face. Cable 4 med orange spice, 3 dark lt brown. Turn, work lower hat and hair, cable 1 lt brown, 2 med orange spice. Turn, cable 2 med orange spice. Return to work upper hat with figure in the upright position. Increase one pleat. Begin with up cable. Note this cable can be worked at a slight angle to give the hat’s edge an “up-turned” appearance. Cable 7 lt brown, 5 med orange spice (hair complete), cable 7 lt brown. The last cable can be worked at a slight angle to give the hat’s edge an “up-turned” appearance. Turn; move in 4 pleats, begin with up cable, cable 11 lt brown. Turn; cable 9 lt brown. Turn, cable 7 lt brown. With work held upside down, complete last row of hat. Join in at the fourth cable stitch of previous row with an up cable, Cable 6, ending row with 2 trellis stitches to give hat top edge a tapered look.

Eyes are French knots wrapped twice in lt brown black. Mouth is worked in straight stitches in lt brown black using one strand of floss. See graph for placement.

The scarecrow frame is worked over two pleats in satin stitch. To make stitching more uniform, use two empty needles in the pleat channel to support the pleat as stitches are taken. It is recommended that a stab-n-stitch method be used for the satin stitches.

Locate pleats for corn stalk stems. Four corn stalks complete design. Each is worked with satin stitches over two pleats in the bright chartreuse color (704) as first step. The pairs of cornstalks are mirror images with stitch counts for leaves remaining same. Leaves are worked on rows 6, 7, 8, and 9 in chartreuse (703). All leaves should be stitched away from stalks. Instructions are given beginning from left to right. Begin with Cornstalk No. 1. After completing the stalk, begin on Row 9. Working right leaf, first cable is worked over the stalk, treating it as one pleat. Begin with an up cable, cable 5 chartreuse, skip a stitch, cable 2. With work still held in the upright position, join in below last cable stitch, cable 2 and 1 downward trellis stitch. Join back to finish upper part of leaf, cable 5. Turn, cable 3. All of the leaves are comprised of this stitch count, except for the top leaves of the taller stalks. Upper leaves of taller stalks begin the same as the lower leaves. The stalk is treated as a single pleat. For Cornstalk No. 2: upper leave, , turn work upside down and working on Row 6, begin with down cable, cable 5, skip 1 cable stitch, cable 4. Finish leaf tip with 1 cable stitch followed by 2 trellis stitches. Finish lower portion of leaf with 3 cable stitches near stalk. Finish upper leaf, cable 7. Turn, cable 3.
Cornstalks are completed with bullion stitched corncobs in lt tangerine. Using four strands of floss and a darning needle, work bulloin stitch in lt tangerine with eight wraps. Place as indicated on graph.

 

Jill Straw….Girl Scarecrow:

The girl scarecrow figure is centered on pleated insert. Sunflower stems/centers are worked 15 pleats from widest (arms) part of scarecrow. Stems are satin stitched over one pleat. There are 22 pleats between the large and small sunflower stems/centers.

How to smock it . . .
Begin on Row 5 with the arm. Begin the left hand in lt orange on the third pleat of the 34 pleats designated for the figure. Cable 2 lt orange, 8 med orange spice, 2 med lavender blue, 5 med orange spice, 2 med lavender blue, 8 med orange spice and 2 lt orange. Turn, move out one pleat, cable 3 lt orange, 8 med orange spice, 2 med lavender blue, 5 med orange spice, 2 med lavender blue, 3 lt orange. Turn, move out one pleat, cable 1 lt brown, 4 lt orange, 8 med orange spice, 2 med lavender blue, 5 med orange spice, 2 med lavender blue, 8 med orange spice, 4 lt orange, 1 lt brown. Turn, on same pleat, cable 13 lt brown, 7 med lavender blue, 13 lt brown. Tie off. Join in with med lavender blue at figure body. (Pleats for body increase at beginning and end of each of the following rows up to 17 cables.) Cable 9 med lavender blue. Turn, cable 11 med lavender blue. Turn, cable 13 med lavender blue. Turn, cable 15 med lavender blue. Turn cable 17 med lavender blue, turn, cable 17 yellow. Turn, cable 17 yellow. Turn, cable 17 med lavender blue.

Next: working legs and feet. For the right facing leg, turn work upside down and begin with an up cable on the third pleat from the last row smocked. Cable 4 lt orange, 1 lt brown. Turn, cable 2 lt brown, 3 lt orange, 1 lt brown. Turn, cable 6 lt brown. Turn, cable 5 lt brown. Right shoe complete. For left facing leg, work is held upright. Begin on the third pleat of the last row of dress smocked. Begin with down cable, cable 4 lt orange, 1 lt brown. Turn, cable 2 lt brown, 3 lt orange, 1 lt brown. Turn, cable 6 lt brown. Turn, cable 5 lt brown. Left shoe complete.

For head, join in at stitches for neck. These are worked, centered on the 5 med orange spice cables stitched at the center of the body. Cable 3 lt orange, beginning with a down cable. Turn work…figure will be upside down…increase 2 pleats, begin with down cable 7 lt orange. Check this row to make sure it is level in order for the head to appear level. Figure is now in upright position, add one pleat, cable 9 lt orange. Turn, cable 9 lt orange. Turn; move in three pleats, cable 3 lt orange making sure they are centered on the previous row. The face is complete.

Working hair on right side, join in at last 3 lt orange stitches. Begin with up cable, cable 4 med orange spice, 3 dark lt brown (hat). Turn, work lower hat and hair, cable 1 dark lt brown, 2 med orange spice. (Use an air-soluble marking pen in a slight arc to follow for the wheat-stitched braid. The braids are worked using the stem and outline stitch to form the wheat stitch.) Turn, cable 4 med orange spice, work 5 stem stitches for top part of braid, tie off. Join back in at lower face, cable 4 med orange spice, work 5 outline stitches for lower part of braid, tie off. Turn work upside down, join in again at the last 3 lt orange stitches of the face. Cable 4 med orange spice, 3 lt brown. Turn; work lower hat and hair, cable 1 lt brown, 2 med orange spice. Turn; cable 4 med orange spice, work 5 stem stitches for top part of braid, tie off. Join back in at lower face, cable 4 med orange spice, work 5 outline stitches for lower part of braid, tie off. Finish braids after all smocking is complete.

Return to work upper hat with figure in the upright position. Increase 1 pleat. Begin with up cable. Note this cable can be worked at a slight angle to give the hat’s edge an “up-turned” appearance. Cable 7 lt brown, 5 med orange spice (hair complete), cable 7 lt brown. The last cable can be worked at a slight angle to give the hat’s edge an “up-turned” appearance. Turn, move in four pleats, begin with up cable, cable 11 lt brown. Turn, cable 9 lt brown. Turn, cable 7 lt brown. With work held upside down, complete last row of hat. Join in at the fourth cable stitch of previous row with an up cable, Cable 6, ending row with 2 trellis stitches to give hat top edge a tapered look.

Finish hair by making loose hair braid ends from six strands of floss. Hair is stitched with ends left long on front, stitched to back; tack stitch to anchor, bring stitch back to front in the same point that stitch was entered. Gather all the loose floss ends and trim to length. Spray starch will help keep floss ends stiff.
Eyes are French knots wrapped twice in lt brown black. Mouth is worked in straight stitches in lt brown black using one strand of floss. See graph for placement.

Locate pleats for sunflower stems. Four sunflowers are remaining elements. Sunflowers are worked beginning with centers on Rows 5 and 7. Begin on sixth pleat from center, cable 4 dk yellow beige, 3 lt brown, 4 dk yellow beige. Turn; working bottom of sunflower, move two pleats, cable 7. Turn; lower flower tips are worked as single cable stitches ending with a single trellis worked loosely. Return to work upper flower. Cable 7 dk yellow beige. Turn; again work flower tips as single cable stitches ending with single trellis stitches. All sunflowers follow the same stitch count.

Stems are satin stitched over one pleat. Stems are worked in bright chartreuse floss color (704). (See graph for placement.) Leaves are worked in chatreuse (703) on Rows 7 and 8 for taller stems, Rows 8 ½ and 9 for short stems. Taller sunflower lower leaves begin on Row 8. Begin ten pleats to left of center stem. Cable 7 green, trellis 3 down, with last trellis stitch going over stem, Cable 1, trellis 2 up, cable 7. Turn, work lower part of leaf. Cable 5, finish top of leaf with 3 cables. Return to left leaf, work lower part of leaf. Cable 5, finish top of leaf with 3 cables. Upper pair of leaves is worked beginning on the eighth pleat to left of stem. Cable 5, trellis 3 down, with last trellis stitch going over stem, cable 1, trellis 2 up, cable 5. Turn; finish top of leaves with 3 cable combinations.

Begin lower right short sunflower leaf at Row 9 ½, working up to Row 9. Begin with cable 1, trellis 2 up, cable 7. Turn; work bottom part of leaf, cable 5. Turn; finish upper leaf, cable 3. Top leaf is worked just below Row 8. Begin on the eighth pleat to left of stem. Cable 5. Turn, cable 3. Left short sunflower leaves are worked in reverse but with the same stitch count.

The scarecrow frame is worked over two pleats in satin stitch. To make stitching more uniform, use two extra needles in the pleat channel to support the pleat as stitches are taken. It is recommended that a stab-n-stitch method be used for the satin stitches.

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