I know that those of us over 40 have seen this type of smocking before. Think back to your old Aunt's pillows. It's been around a long time. It's not like traditional smocking, no elasticity, the stitches are worked on the back (don't show). It's most often seen on checkered homespun - avoiding the tedious job of marking out a grid of dots.
The samples have three rows marked in colored pencil. The only stitch required is a knot. Start that knot in the bottom corner of a solid color square. In this case it's the white square. Leave slack in the thread .
Next pick up a few threads just under this knot and a few threads in the opposite corner. Pull the corners together and work a knot.
On to the blue. Pick up a few threads and tie a knot in the next solid colored square. Remember to leave slack in the thread, you don't want this to gather.
That's all there is to it. If you are planning to give it a try you might want to mark out some rows. The washable colored pencils grocery store are great for marking rows until you get the hang of it. Use different colors for each row so you don't get lost. Try starting out with a large check, and a much bigger section of fabric than you will need for your finished project.
Thank you for your interest! If you have any further questions I would be happy to answer them.
Bren, Yes I do distance quilting. I even have a little map with with some interesting dots. It's fun to know where some of the quilts end up.
Now I really gotta get back to the workroom..... that dolly dress quilt won't quilt itself....Cheryl