Monday, July 2, 2012

Chicken Scratch Embroidery or Depression Lace

by Kelly

Chicken scratch embroidery is basically Smyrna stitch (a cross stitch with an extra cross, so that it looks like an asterisk) done on gingham fabric. When done right, it looks like lace and is a cheap and easy way to decorate the edges of ordinary gingham aprons and curtains, and jazz them up a little. That's one reason why it was so popular during the Depression, I guess.

via Tie One On

I have been wanting to try chicken scratch embroidery for quite a while now, but didn't have any gingham fabric. So a few days ago, I broke down and actually bought some, instead of waiting for it to magically appear in my crafting bag. Two dollars worth of fabric and I was all ready to finally give this a try.

It's very easy to do, if you already know how to cross stitch. The results aren't the same, because it's usually done with only two colors - white and the darkest shade of the gingham you're using, whether it be red, blue, or whatever. On the other hand, there's no fooling around with charts or multiple colored skeins, either, which is a plus.

The fabric I bought is pink. My mom would laugh if she found out that I bought pink fabric, since I was so vehemently anti-pink for so many years. Even in the thick of the '80's I wouldn't wear pink, and no amount of persuasion by the mighty fashion industry would break me down. Luckily, my mom is as anti-computer as I was once anti-pink, so she will never read this.

I'm using size 30 variegated crochet thread, which is working out really well. I have come up with what I think will be a really neat idea using this graduated color scheme, so we'll see how it turns out. Stay tuned :)

Meanwhile, if you have some gingham and want to use it for something other than Chicken Scratch embroidery, Tie One On (a blog about aprons and making aprons, in case you're wondering) is currently running a sew along with a gingham theme. Check out her blog for more details.

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