February 13, 2009

Exploring Chicken Scratch

Ah. So. Here we are. January was a bust, in terms of crafting. It was for good reasons, of course, but I found my fingers itching to get back at it. Mustering up the energy to do so, however, was easier said than done.

Last year, knowing that I was going to find my time and energy more limited with the arrival of another wee one, I thought that a little monthly kick in the pants would be a good thing. Thank goodness for Stitch Explorer 2009! I signed up for it in the hopes that it would keep me motivated and accountable to my crafting once I hit the new year. It's just in the nick of time, but here I am, skating in at the last minute with my sample pieces.


The first challenge was chicken scratch, a stitch I, being pretty new to embroidery, had never heard of before. It uses a double cross stitch, a straight stitch, and lacing, and it's typically done on gingham. The challenge suggested taking the basic stitch and expanding on it by changing from the traditional foundation fabric, trying different stitches and colors, and so on. I've been working on variations for a couple weeks now, and I've found this pattern and its possibilities quite enjoyable. I also got a bit snowflake obsessed, as you'll see as you make your way to the end of this post.

First, I did the traditional version for practice, with some scrap gingham and white floss.

Then there was a brighter pattern with a different fabric that maintained the square idea but changed it up some ...

... another pattern on another fabric ...

... and the same pattern with different colors, done two different ways ...

... and another two pieces done with leftover colors and fabrics because I was too lazy to go upstairs for new materials.


And then there were the snowflakes. Oh, the snowflakes. We haven't had a lot of snow this winter, so I made my own. First the gingham ...


... and then the freehand versions that were sort of eyeballed for evenness and done on a charcoal muslin.
(Detail photos on my flickr page.)

These might have been a stretch in some ways, as I strayed a little more from the traditional method, but I really, really love this piece best of all.

There might be more chicken scratch to come--but I'm looking forward to the next challenge for something different. There also might be more posts and a snazzier site design to come--but I'm looking forward to the day when I once again get a good night's sleep, and the former is directly dependent on the latter. Ha!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great to see your work with chicken scratch. I love these experiments and the lovely piece at the end.

Best wishes,
Elizabeth

Tweed Delights said...

Welcome back to blogland! These are gorgeous, I really enjoyed looking at the lovely photos of your work. Hope you and your little one are well :D

(I'm still having the odd run-in with embroidery when I'm feeling patient enough!!)

Conni said...

Great samples - love your snowflakes!

Pinkflowerbuttons said...

Looking Good. Embroidary is fantastic.

Anonymous said...

the stitches are gorgeous and look so cool against the gingham, I guess the gingham helps give provide a grid or guidance for your stitches rather than using cross stitch fabric.

thanks for taking time to leave comments on my blog. i hope your new wee one is doing terrific!

bookwormbethie.wordpress.com

Katy said...

You are so talented! Even your sketchbook pages are lovely!

Mr X Stitch said...

This is a really interesting experiment with something I'd not heard of before. I can understand how it might get a bit obsessive, and so i applaud you for being able to put the piece down and stop! :)

Aubrey Longley-Cook said...

What lovely color combinations. That brown fabric really makes the blue threads pop!