Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Chicken Scratch Bookmarks Tutorial


Chicken scratch is such a pretty type of embroidery. It is quick and a great way to decorate up that stash of gingham you have tucked away. It is known by many other names such as Snowflaking, Depression Lace and Gingham Embroidery.

I'm completely addicted to chicken scratch now. The only items I have really seen it made into is larger pieces such as aprons, and pillows. I tried to come up with other objects where chicken scratch could be applied. They can't get too much wear because the stitches would get pulled or damaged. I decided a bookmark would be a nice small item that doesn't get too much wear, and would be quick to stitch up. So I made up a couple of small repetitive patterns. You can really go wild with these little stitches, and every little change has a noticeable impact on the finished piece. Test it out. I'd love to see what you come up with!

As usual, this tutorial is provided for personal use. Make up for yourself, gifts and charity. Please do not make to sell. If you are unsure feel free to email me. If you use this tutorial give credit with a link back to this page. And if you can give me a heads-up if you are making chicken scratch that would be great. I am thinking of starting a flickr chicken scratch group so everyone can see and share their creations, tell me what you think. Thanks!

For one bookmark you will need:
  • 1/4" check gingham (you could probably get 4 out of a fat quarter)
  • white embroidery floss (sewn with 3 strands held together)
  • embroidery hoop
  • needle
  • 6" ribbon

The final measurements are 7 1/2"x2" for the bookmark and 2x2" for the tab.

Here are a couple of quick pictures to familiarize yourself with the stitches. If you would like something more descriptive go here and come back.



Those are all the stitches used in the flower bookmark. They are Cross-Stitch, Double Cross-Stitch, Running Stitch and Woven Oval Stitch. The Woven Oval is made by passing the needle under the leg of the Cross-Stitches twice to make it thicker.


The same stitches are used in the second bookmark, only the Oval is substituted with Woven Circle Stitch. The Woven Cirle is made by passing the needle under the Running Stitches two times to make the stitch thicker.

Since this is such a small object leave your material whole for stitching and cut it out afterwards.

Here are the two patterns. Just a little 5x5 block.


The tab is made by stitching one repeat of the pattern. The bookmark is made by stitching 5 repeats. Follow the shading in the pattern. You want to start your cross-stitches on the darkest check in your gingham. I used 3 strands of floss, but you can try more or less to see what the result is. I knotted the ends because the back of the piece is covered and small stitches might be noticeable.

Once all your stitching is done. Cut the bookmark and a backing piece to measure 8X2 1/2". For the small tab cut out the stitching and backing into a 2 1/2" square.

Pin the bookmark pieces with right sides together with the ribbon in between. Let 1/4" of the ribbon peek out from one short side between the two layers. Leave a small gap open on the other end of the bookmark for turning. Sew 1/4" seam around the edge with the wrong side of the stitching facing up. Clip the corners and turn right side out. Press.

Pin the tab pieces right sides together and sew 1/4" seam around the edge leaving an opening for turning. Clip the corners and turn right side out. Press.

Slip the free end of the ribbon into the opening left in the tab and pin. Topstitch around the tab to secure the ribbon. Topstitch around the bookmark and you're done!

44 comments:

Katie said...

This is a perfect little project! I'm going to Joann's this weekend to get some gingham!!

jillytacy said...

This is great! I want to try chicken scratch and this a perfect little project to do. Does it matter how big the gingham check is when you do chicken scratch? What's your suggestion for the check size for a beginner like me?

Adrienne said...

ahhh!!!! I love it! I'm thinking stocking stuffers and Christmas presents. Thanks for the tute. I finally got a bubbled envelope to mail your book ... I'll ship it either Fri or Sat. Happy day!

Rebekah said...

This is a great idea. I have some extra gingham just sitting around. Thanks for the suggestion.

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

Love your bookmark - this is the perfect project to teach this technique to my 11 year old daughter. When I used to do it as a kid, I used cotton perle thread (saves separating the strands of floss) and is quite durable. I am still using the little tablecloth that I made about 30 years ago and it is standing up to repetitive washing.

willowluna said...

I love the way the gingham lends itself so well to the pattern. Beautiful and practical all in one!

kerri said...

I'm glad for the interest in this project!

I used 1/4" checked gingham for these bookmarks. The pattern fits just right on this size. If using 1/8 or 1/16th inch you'd have to do more stitching, but that's not a problem. hehe

Using these are stocking stuffers is perfect! It would also be a nice way to liven up books as gifts.

The perle cotton is a great idea! I will have to try that on my next project.

Happy stitching, ladies!

val said...

what an awesome project! I have bits and pieces of gingham everywhere......guess I'll have to attempt it!

AD creates said...

This is great, thank you.

susan said...

thanks for the tute, i have seen this before but never knew what it was. i will try to make a bookmark this weekend. they are so pretty. i think a flickr group would be great.

Alison Boon said...

Great project. I need to make a bookmark as well so off to find some gingham.

jovaliquilts said...

Oh, that's so lovely! My first embroidery project was a counted cross stitch Christmas tree on a gingham apron, but these added stitches are wonderful. Thanks for the tutorial!

Deepa said...

Great!!especially the embroidery.

Sarah C said...

Thanks for this great tut. I whipped up 3 over the weekend for a bookmark swap I am in and one for my nanna. I really loved the chicken scratch embroidery and managed to create my own pattern by accident. Your tutorial was very clear and easy to follow.
Pics can be seen on my blog.

Mrs.Kwitty said...

Very cool! I had forgotten all about doing chicken scratch--something my Mom taught me when I was a small girl! Your bookmarks are adorable.
Smiles, Karen

Joy said...

Adorable bookmarks!

TattingChic said...

pretty bookmark. Good job. Thanks for the tutorial it looks fun.

tammiemarie said...

it's too weird. i only recently heard of chicken scratch, and now i'm seeing it more & more! i love the bookmark, thanks for the tute!

Patty said...

Kerri, this is such a great idea! Thank you so much for this tutorial!

Jackie said...

I have just found your blog. You are very generous with your information, and have made some lovely things.

Rose said...

I have always loved gingham. I had three daughters. I did each baby nursery in a different gingham. Yellow for Missy, Pink for Candy and Red for Billie Jo.

Lutine said...

Thanks a lot this information !!

Sandra said...

I gave it a try this weekend, but I wasn't able to get a nice crisp finish on my bookmark - I found the gingham a bit fiddly to handle. The stitching went well - I used the woven oval design - I just need to do the sewing part better!

Next time I'll try starching the fabric before working with it - that might give it enough body to enable me to finish it more nicely.

I posted a picture on my blog today - thanks for the inspiration!
Sarah C - I peeked - your bookmarks are great!

Belovedgoddess said...

This tut has been the best I've found on Chicken Scratch.

I skipped hooping the fabric, the cheap hoop I have didn't hold the fabric taut. I used a fusible interfacing to firm the fabric up before stitching.

Brook said...

Oh I am totally going to try this!!! Love it.

Denise Felton said...

Wonderful! I found your tute through a link on Patty's (Pip Stitch's) blog. I've scheduled a link to Patty's post and yours to go live on my blog this afternoon (Central USA time). Thank you so much for making this resource available.

Denise
http://needlework.craftgossip.com

Aliselle said...

Thank you so much for the explanations and the photographs(because I don't read so well in english!...)
Bisous de Lyon en France...
Aliselle

dutchess of malfi said...

My mother bought me an outfit when I was in the eighth grade at our army base resale store. It was red gingham. A full skirt and a matching shirt and they were both trimmed in chicken scratch. But I didn't know till your tut that it was called chicken scratch. I loved that outfit!

Mary said...

I am definitely adding this to my list of stocking stuffers this year! I have never tried chicken scratch, but you make it look so fun and do-able! Thanks for the patterns. ~Mary

Kathleen aka Coffee Mom said...

Great idea! Thank you :-)

GeeGee said...

Love your bookmarks. I haven't done chicken-scratch for a very long time, but looks like it is making a revival.Thanks so much for the tutorial.

Anonymous said...

I have aprons that my maternal grandmother did using this technique! I admit that I don't use them, just treasure them for the wonderful memories of her!
Joan

Maggie R said...

Kerri, Thanks fot this tutorial... I will try it..
BTW I live in a small town in Southern Ontario Canada too.. where are you? I am in Ingersoll!!
small world eh?
Happy New Year
xoox
((((hugs))))
Maggie

Argery Araya C. said...

Sus trabajos son lindos la felicito me encantaria saber donde encontrar mas diferentes graficos por si puedes escribirme a mi correo gracias y que Dis te bendiga amiga

mommasunflower said...

i have seen a queen size quilt in this - it was also on the purple - it was GORGEOUS - it was to be used only for bedspread and the lady won a blue ribbon at the fair

Lingonne said...

Merci pour ce tuto très pratique pour moi qui suis novice dans la broderie suisse. Afin d'expliquer sur mon blog ce qu'est la broderie suisse, je me suis permise de mettre ton tuto en lien. Merci encore. Bonne journée.

Adventures in Dressmaking said...

Cute!! I haven't done a ton of embroidery but this looks simple enough, with those great instructions! =)
And I love that it's bookmarking a Tom Robbins book...

Alevac said...

Grazie dall'Italia......

Antonella

Anonymous said...

We are a small RV park and always looking for new craft projects. This one is perfect and the bookmark is a great starter project. Thanks so much for posting this wonderful old time craft that could have been lost forever. Rosanne

Anonymous said...

Thank you Kerri this will be a great new project for my little craft group that I run.

This was the only tutorial I can find and it really is so clear and easy to follow.,

Thank you again
Hazel C (UK)

P.S. I did gingham embroidery years and and brought lots of books but sadly they got lent out to a lady and she moved away and never returned them.

Namagiri said...

I made one of these. Such an easy project to do.

clais said...

Obrigada pelo pap, mesmo não falando a lingua, consegui entender bem o pap. Beijos.

Ruby Murray said...

Thank you so much, I love Chicken Scratch too.

I linked to your tutorial here:
http://rubymurraysmusings.blogspot.ca/2013/07/chicken-scratch-embroidery-not-for-birds.html

Anne said...

Just found your blog and I had to make a book mark for an ICA Competition. Your instructions were real easy to follow so many thanks even if i dont win!