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.