I found that I really enjoyed the smocking stitches, but marking out thousands of dots and running the gathering stitches by hand was not fun for me. The pleater does the boring (to me) part quickly and consistently. They're expensive, though, and I don't do very much smocking, so I can't justify buying new.
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A smocking pleater machine is an extremely specialized non-motorized machine that makes the tiny folds, and runs multiple lines of gathering stitches thru at the same time. It is like magic to watch. After using the pleater, you have to still to do other steps to finish your project - the gathering stitches are more on the lines of basting.Eleanor Deyeson--Manage your subscription at http://listserv.unl.edu.listserv.unl.edu lists do not accept incoming email from Yahoo.com, AOL.com or Dropbox.com due to their DMARC policies.