April 30, 2007

Chicken Scratch

Chicken Scratch is embroidery worked on gingham fabric. It is also known as Snowflake Embroidery, Amish Embroidery, Depression Lace, or Gingham Lace. The three primary stitches used in Chicken Scratch are: the double cross stitch, a straight running stitch, and the woven circle stitch. When many of us think of cross stitch we visualize counted stitches on an even weave fabric that was so popular in the 80's. However, cross stitch is also done on linen and looks great on gingham fabric. Just look at the embroidered gingham aprons in this photo! The picture is taken from Kristin Nicholas' book Colorful Stitchery. Kristin mentions that decorating gingham aprons with cross stitch was very popular in the 40's and 50's and that sewing aprons was one of the basic projects a young girl was taught in a home economics class. Well, there are many apron lovers out there today and making a Chicken Scratch apron is a fresh approach to the age-old cross stitch.

This picture of an apron embroidered with Chicken Scratch is borrowed from Linda B.'s photo stream on Flickr. It is a great example of the stitches that adorn vintage aprons.

To the right is an illustration of the double cross stitch. It is a simple stitch that is wonderful for the beginners as well as the more seasoned embroiderers.

Chicken Scratch, however, is not exclusive to aprons. Pillow, curtains, and tablecloths made of gingham and decorated with these primary stitches are all wonderful ways to showoff your skills.

Now go out there and Chicken Scratch!


  1. Oooo that's pretty! One more project to my quickly growing list of things to try out eek!

  2. In the Canary Islands this are very popular to show kids how to embroider - in fact my grandmother, who's was a sewer for 40 years, tought me to sew with this kind of embroidery when I was about five. If you have kids, I really encourage you to do so!

  3. I've never seen that before and I love it. I have ordered that book from my library a while ago but it must be popular because it's taking a while to arrive. Can't wait to try some of this.
    You guys have the best blog entries, I look forward to all your new posts.

  4. P.S. I love your link logo and would like to put it on my blog. Can you please e-mail me the code?

  5. My grandma used to do this type of gingham embroidery. I have some old instruction booklets for this. I have to photograph those...

  6. Can anyone provide advice on how not to leave the back of this messy? The back of my embroidered items always look messy with so many loose threads.

  7. I love embroidery your beautiful aprons bring back lot's of good memories. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  8. Cute, my Grandma used to do that, as well as tatting, etc...

  9. I made a quilt with chicken scratch blocks. Turned out very pretty.