Stitch Explorer: Chicken scratch results

It’s time to make a cuppa and settle back because there is quite a bit of eye candy here. Since the 15th and the next stitch explorer challenge is near I thought I would do a round up of what people have done with chicken scratch. Its really very interesting what directions people took it in.

Connie of Scoop Score and Deal has worked some great samples. You will find all her experiments under the category of Stitch Explorer challenge in her blog

Don’t miss Elizabeth’s Quieter moments for loads and loads of samples of chicken scratch variations.

Leena of Creative Instincts has made a baby quilt of chicken scratch!!! Visit her site to see it.

Coeur de freesia  has worked some lovely subtle samples.

Manuela of Plaid and Herringbone has also worked a subtle sample

Miriam of Borduurblog has worked a whole series of samples

Annie has worked a miniature apron on her band sampler

Kay Susan of S’mockery Sm’Art has worked a dramatic sample on spotted fabric

Tenar of Tenar’s Cave has worked some chicken scratch in hand dyed threads.

Nancilyn records her stitch explorer discoveries in Mindblogings  and you will find her chicken scratch experiments on her sampler 

Diane has worked a tea cosy!

Eva posted her explorations on her flickr site.

Kalico Kate has worked a heart in chicken scratch

Gayle has also worked a heart of another sort. You can see it on her flickr site

Emily of the Floss Box is working a delightful sampler and has included some variations.

Mandie of Story of a Sampler has also worked some chicken scratch on a sampler 

Helen Conway of From Down the Well  has worked some interesting variations on her sampler

Doreen of  Creative Meanderings has published a piece that demonstrates the same design worked on opposite squares.

Barbara has a colourful example of chicken scratch on her blog Barb’s Spirit Song 

Over on Fat Quarter Annet has her chicken scratch experiments listed under the label of  Stitch Explorer 2009

Jacqui of Puddle of Dreams has worked some interesting patterns in her explorations.

Marg of No Idle Hands has worked a sample after thinking about it for years

Joy has her sample on her flickr site. The bottom section of her samples would be good to use in crazy quilting.

Christiana also has her explorations on flickr

Valerie has posted a photo on flickr of her explorations

Raphaela of Textile Explorations has included beads in her experiments. You can see them under the label stitch explorer

Deb of Just Enough Time has worked her sample on an evenweave fabric.

Mady of Snow Days has also worked a chicken scratch sample on evenweave fabric.

Ruth has worked a lovely monotone postcard sized sample which you can see on her flickr site.

Saskia works in miniature!

Sandy of Focus on Fiber has a pretty sample

Diane of Sojourner Design has worked a beautiful contemporary interpretation.

Maryann of Backwoods Creations has also worked a contemporary sample

Leslie of Greasyming  drawn inspiration from several sources for her chicken scratch.

And Valerie has an interesting piece

Virginia has worked a dramatic piece on an orange check

Jane has worked some samples on tartan fabric. It has produced some very interesting effects do check it out.

Fiona of Neverending Lists came up with the idea of photocopying a piece of gingham and working out designs on that.

I hope you enjoy this little round up and return on the 15th to see what the next challenge will be.

Added Later

I have just established a Flickr group for those who want to use it. The name is Stitchexplorer

Stitch Explorer 2009 January

Many readers have been waiting for Stitch Explorer 2009 to start so without any teasing or fuss I will get on with it.

During the TAST challenge many people were surprised at what could happen when you take an embroidery stitch and push it. Once free of the  injunction “you must do it this way” a stitch could become the starting point for all sorts of interesting mark making in thread and inspire new ways of working.

The same holds true of embroidery styles. You can take a style and push it in other directions.

The first style I am going to suggest is chicken scratch. This is an ideal first challenge as the basic stitches are simple so that those who are new to embroidery are still able to participate yet you can do so much with it. It is also quick to do so lost of experimentation can take place.

Chicken scratch  it seems to be enjoying a revival among those that like vintage and retro craft techniques. This style of embroidery is actually a combination of cross stitches and a simple lacing technique. A foundation layer of stitches is laid down then other threads are laced in. It was often worked on gingham but I have also seen it worked on Binca fabric. Usually this style of embroidery worked in soft thick embroidery cotton like Anchor’s thick cotton.

If you are not sure what I am talking about there are step by step photos on Janet McCaffrey’s blog Primrose Design and another set of detailed instructions with clear photos exist here too. These are some more  basic instructions found online.

Chicken scratch is known by a number of names Depression lace, Depression embroidery,  gingham lace, gingham embroidery, Chinese Pinwheel, Tic Tac Toe Embroidery, Colonial Lace,  Mountain Lace, Snowflake Embroidery  Norwegian Embroidery,Hoover Star, Hoovers lace or Amish embroidery. It is also know incorrectly as Teneriffe lace. This is wrong here is an example of Teneriffe lace. On the Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving, Textiles, Lace, and Related Subjects site if you scroll on this page to ephemera under Lace there are some booklets and images in pdf file format about Teneriffe lace.

Suggestion 1 Change the foundation fabric

Many people like the charm of gingham check and usually chicken scratch is worked on this simple fabric but under this challenge there is no reason why you have to. One way to push this style is to work it on a different foundation fabric.

Chicken Scratch embroidery is normally done on check fabric but Elizabeth of Quieter Moments has been adapting this style and applying the technique on a foundation of spotted fabric. An excellent tutorial on adapting to  round chicken scratch is to be found on her blog.  It is an excellent example of adapting a traditional technique to a new context. In fact, track through Elizabeth’s category on chicken scratch and you can see what I mean by pushing a style to create something else.

Linda B worked some Chicken Scratch on denim with 10 count waste canvas and this is what it turned out like

Suggestion 2 Change the stitches

As you can see the stitches suggested are area double cross stitch and a straight stitch. There is no reason why these have to be this combination as you could substitute one or both of these stitches  with any stitch which allows you to lace a thread between them.

Note this example uses simple cross stitch

On this apron you can see simple cross stitch is used with needle weaving has been incorporated.

Suggestion 3 Change the lacing thread

Normally the lacing thread is the same as the thread you create the cross stitches in. Under this challenge there is no reason why you could not change this thread.

Suggestion 4 Change the lacing pattern

In Australia, you can often find different lacing patterns are this is where it does become interesting.

Have look at this example

Suggestion 5 Change the pattern

You can change the layout of the foundation stitches to form a different foundation pattern

Suggestion 6 Add another colour 

Often another colour can add real drama such as this sample

Suggestion 7 Combine it with another technique

Chicken scratch can be also incorporated into crazy quilt tale a look at chicken scratch in  Linda B’s crazy quilting

Thanks to Linda B of Chloes Place for adding so many examples to her flicker set

Other Tutorials and patterns online: 

Kerri of Kerri made has written a tutorial for a book mark that uses a slightly different lacing technique.

If you like the vintage look has some free chicken scratch patterns

There is also this free pattern for an angel motif worked in chicken scratch

How to participate in the stitch explorer challenge

Stitch some samples that push this style

Blog it or put images somewhere online where people can see them

Come back to this post and leave a comment with your web address in it so that people can visit and see what you have done.

Have fun!