Monday, 21 April 2008

I was up way too late

Last night I sucked it up and pulled out the purple gingham. I got out the embroidery floss and went looking for patterns online. The lack of available patterns was disheartening, but I soldiered on with the plan that if I could at least find basic directions I could draw up my own patterns. What am I talking about, you ask?

Well, it's this.


Why, yes. That is Chicken Scratch, aka Depression Lace, Snowflaking etc.

Online there is a great little instructional .pdf from the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. I read through the instructions and plotted out the pattern (there is a large star pattern on the last page). I like stars. I sat back on my desk chair and started stitching, then I moved to another chair, and soon I was propped up in bed still stitching. It was nearly 3 a.m. when I finally put this little piece of gingham down.

I love the simplicity of the stitches partnered with the effects the shaded checks have on those simple little stitches. For a very long time it just looked like stitches and I worried that I was doing it wrong, where is the 3 dimensional-ness? Where is the lacey overlay? Why doesn't mine look like the image in my head? I was feeling cheated. Instead of throwing it into a drawer I just kept stitching.

You work the stitches in order: double cross, then running stitches, and finally woven circles. The double cross-stitches are alot of stitching and they take by far the longest. Once all these were stitched I sat back and was not impressed. So I went on to the running stitches, which were quick and satisfying. It was as I was repositioning my hoop that the stitches finally came to life.


Those running stitches lightened up the background just enough to make it look like I had sewn down a nearly sheer applique! It was so exciting, almost magical to watch how your stitches and the fabric affect one another.


Once the woven circles were added it was love. The only thing I might have done differently is used 1 more strand of embroidery floss for the woven circles. If you have ever thought about trying chicken scratch I highly recommend it. It is relatively fast, and the end product is totally worth the loss of sleep!


As I was browsing online some more I came across this site. It is french but the images are great. All the same stitches, different placement, and completely different results. Just thought it was interesting plus there are also a couple of free patterns as well.

Now I want gingham everything just so I can Chicken Scratch it.

29 comments:

MarmaladeKiss said...

Wow .. that looks interesting. I love gingham too.

Katie said...

That looks so cool! I'm going to have to try it...someday! Your's looks awesome!

Adrienne said...

wow. that is pretty amazing. i'll have to file that away in my brain for when the boys are ... in college! ha!

Kristin said...

OH. MY gosh. That is INCREDIBLE. I am going to have to go through my fabric stash searching for all things gingham so that I can give this a try. Your chicken scratch work is BEAUTIFUL! I'm quite impressed! I'm bookmarking this post so that I can refer back to it later when I do find some gingham! :D

(and thank you for the so-sweet comment about my new babushka on the blog! - HUGS!)

ikkinlala said...

Very pretty!

jillytacy said...

I love your gingham star. It turned out beautifully! It's one of the pretties stitcheries I've seen. I'm addicted to stitching and find it very relaxing yet rewarding. You can stitch while you watch TV or as you're chatting with friends. I feel like I was productive even though I was relaxing. Stitcheries make great framed gifts, pillows and wall hangings. I even stitched my blogger picture using one of my doodles. Happy stitching!

periwinkle said...

hi, found you via winning Adrienne's blog.. congrats on winning the giveaway. Love the outfit from 4th April
Lisa x

me said...

wow - that looks amazing!

willowluna said...

I love the close-up pictures. Seeing the texture of your beautiful work is great.

Tracey said...

It is so crazy that you had a blog about this. In my apron book I just got they had a picture of an apron with the same chicken scratch design. I totally wanted to try it and then I came to your blog and there it was again. I have some more projects to complete, but this has been added to the list!!!

The Caffeinated Crafter said...

Holy crackers that looks extensive.

Wow.

~ANG said...

I love this...it is soooo pretty. I am going to have to try that. I have some seriously cute pink gingham that is being saved to make cute dresses for my girls. I'd love to make a star like that on the front bodice.
Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm glad you got a giggle out of it!---Giggle out if it, I'm glad you got!

val said...

that is so beautiful.....I've never tried it though....
What a lovely job you did!

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

Looks really effective and worthy of some sleep deprivation! My Grandmother taught me to do that stitch when I was a kid. I am still using one of the picnic cloths I made.

susan said...

it is beautiful!!
see now, i am thinking you need to do a bit more research and write a book on chicken scratch so it isnt a lost art! simply lovely

mkjn said...

This is so beautiful! I am definitely going to have to try this at some point. I had never heard of this before, so thanks!

Rose said...

I have searched high and low for instructions for Chicken Scratch!! I must have 60 vintage gingham aprons where some dear lady long ago worked her chicken scratch. Thanks so much for this post!!

Anonymous said...

Your stitches are so perfect! My daughter shared this link with me as she knows how much I like embroidery work. Thanks for sharing your craft.
Cindy

Kristin said...

chicken scratch!!!!

*swooooooooooon*

Thank you so much for this tutorial! I will have to see if I can make some up. I need a few good projects (and a few good bookmarks too!)

Kristin

http://homegrownrose.typepad.com/reclaimingthehome/

v�ronique said...

hello !

I'm french and I like very well your work !

thank you for the link!

have a good day !

véro21
http://onsemotiveencore.over-blog.com/

Mamaoune said...

C'est magnifique, j'aime beaucoup mais jamais essayé
Bonne journée
Pascale

Julie said...

I had committed to making a gingham tablecloth so went to google for some help and found your blog and story - so helpful. I have nearly completed a star and you are right - it just came alive when I started the circles - just love it. Thanks from down under.

Cheryl said...

I love it. Your pictures are great! I can't wait to try it!

Cheryl

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Armelle said...

Oh my God, it's so beautiful. Thank you so much for the link to the pattern, I simply can't wait to try it.

Nima said...

wow...awesome...thank you so much for the links...i'm going to try it

Mindy said...

This is so pretty! Have you done any more since this piece? I love this look and am trying to decide what to start it on.