Sunday, 24 August 2008

The Crafters' Way - Chicken Scratch

I write a weekly craft column for a local paper. I share it here with bloggers or you can view online at

Chicken Scratch Embroidery is a type of embroidery worked on gingham fabric. It is also known as Snowflake Embroidery, Depression Lace or Gingham Lace. The exact origins of this craft are unclear as is the origins of the name ‘Chicken Scratch’. Chicken Scratch embroidery is worked on gingham fabric and uses 3 embroidery stitches. Couldn’t be simpler. In fact many of us can probably recall being given a piece of gingham, needle and thread as children to sew with.

The needle should have a long eye and a sharp point, a number 20 Chenille or number 5 embroidery needle are perfect. The thread is embroidery floss or stranded cotton. White is the colour of choice but you can certainly experiment for different effects. The number of strands you choose to use will alter the finished look again experiment.

Chicken Scratch is worked from a chart; anyone familiar with Cross Stitch charts will be able to follow one. Before beginning to stitch it is important to measure you fabric. Do not guess this. While gingham checks come in a variety of sizes most are not square. Measure the number of gingham squares in 1 inch of fabric, top to bottom and side-to-side. This will determine the stitch count necessary for your project. If you do not do this accurately you may find that you don’t have enough fabric to finish the work.

Work Chicken Scratch in a hoop. Remove the fabric from the hoop when not working. Some of the gingham fabrics are very fine and they will mark if left in the hoop for long periods. The stitches used for Chicken Scratch are already familiar to most Stitchers. The Double Cross Stitch, the Straight Running Stitch and the Woven Circle Stitch are worked in various combinations to produce a multitude of patterns. The Double Cross Stitch may be more familiar to some Stitchers as Smyrna Stitch. Chicken Scratch is worked in order. The outline is completed first. The Double Cross Stitch is worked next followed by the Running Stitch. The Woven Circle Stitches are worked last.

If you are unfamiliar with any of the stitches used in Chicken Scratch a quick ‘google’ will reap you many useful resources

No comments: