Last Friday afternoon the red gingham fabric I ordered for my chicken scratch embroidery project came in the mail from fabric.com.
When I was ordering it, I wasn’t sure whether to get fabric with 1/8″ squares or 1/4″ squares. The 1/8″ squares seemed awfully small to me, so I went with 1/4″ squares so I could really see the stitches on the fabric.
I cut a piece about 10″ x 10″ for this project, and I used a free chicken scratch embroidery pattern from Pegasus Originals which is available on their website.
From what I understand (and I could be totally wrong here), traditional chicken scratch consists of three basic stitches: double cross-stitch, straight running stitch, and woven circle stitch. The free heart pattern from Pegasus Originals uses only these stitches.
I started by stitching the double cross-stitches for the outline of the heart using the red floss and starting on a white square on the gingham fabric. I could have tried to stitch the double crosses and the running stitches and the woven circle stitches all together in the interior of the heart, but I decided to tackle each stitch separately. So, after I completed the double crosses in red, I stitched the double crosses in white for the inside of the heart. Next, I stitched all of the straight running stitches until I got to this point:
The pattern does not suggest specific thread colors, but I used DMC 321 for the red and DMC White for, well, the white. I also stitched using 3 strands of thread because of the size of the squares.
Finally, I stitched the woven circle stitches through all of the running stitches. The completed sample looks like this:
This project worked up really fast, and it was very relaxing to do.
Although some guidelines for chicken scratch recommend using a sharp crewel needle for stitching, but I just used a size 24 tapestry needle. The gingham fabric was so thin that the needle went through easily. I didn’t have any problems. The only tricky thing was anchoring the threads on the back. I admit I may have used a knot or two out of laziness.
So, huzzah, I have my sample done well before my September guild meeting, with plenty of time to spare to iron and finish it. The hart is about 5″ square, so it may make a nice little pillow.