Let’s admit it, one of the most aggravating things about smocking is stitching a beautiful row and discovering when you get to the second row that you were off a stitch. Yes, no one will probably notice, but for the next 5 or 6 rows you will have to deal with adjusting stitches to make it work. And unfortunately years and years of practice makes no difference, sometimes your counting just isn’t accurate. So here is the hint of the day….. I stagger my smocking for the first two or three rows. No more completing an entire row only to discover that I skipped or picked up too many pleats. I simply smock several inches of the first row and stop. Then I thread a second needle and stitch the second row until it catches up with the first. Continue the process until the first two rows are completed. I can now complete the smocking without having to make the design work because I had apparently lost my ability to count way back on row 1.