Just a little house keeping here, so that you can easily find information on chicken scratch / embroidery on gingham here on Needle ‘n Thread when you’re looking for it!
This index will include all articles on Chicken Scratch, including patterns, tutorials, and other information on the technique. As more articles are added on the subject in the future, I’ll add them to this list, too, the keep them all neatly in one place.
Chicken Scratch – or embroidery on gingham known by its myriad other names, from Depression Lace to Snowflake Embroidery – is a simple form of embroidery worked on gingham or checkered fabric, that incorporates different types of foundation stitches and lacing stitches to form a lacy design over the gingham.
A Little History of Chicken Scratch
There are extant examples of embroidery on gingham from as early as the 1800’s, but it was made more widely popular during the first half of the 1900’s, especially during the Great Depression, because it was an inexpensive and simple way to decorate gingham fabric.
Gingham embroidery has enjoyed little bursts of popularity in many countries, from Europe & the UK, to the US, to Australia, so it is not a “local” technique that can be claimed by any one country or culture.
The term “Chicken Scratch,” though it was one of the many names attributed to this type of embroidery, was not actually widely popularized until the late early 1980’s, mainly by Pegasus Originals, who produced several books on Chicken Scratch that became popular. Soon, many companies were producing Chicken Scratch charts and books, but after a few years of popularity, interest waned.
Most of the companies producing Chicken Scratch charts during this resurgence of interest in the early ’80’s are now closed, although Pegasus Originals is still going, and you can find three of their books and a chart pack available on Amazon.
Just like the vintage embroidery patterns from the 40’s and 50’s and beyond (and really, just like any style of anything!), the Chicken Scratch of the early ’80’s has a definite look to it – a look that places it in a certain context in time.
Today, Chicken Scratch is becoming popular again, probably due in part to the present popularity of gingham in general. But, as is normal, the style of the embroidery is morphing a bit to suit the times. The Europeans especially have made embroidery on gingham a little more delicate, a little more intricate, a bit fancier – so that, although the roots are still there, the current “flavor” of gingham embroidery is quite different from the Chicken Scratch of early ’80’s America.
But whatever you call it, and whatever style you prefer – whether trendy or vintage, fancy or simple – embroidery on gingham has a definite place in the history of popular embroidery styles. In concept, it’s a fun and simple type of embroidery to learn, it offers a lot of room for dabbling and playing about, and it’s certainly worth developing and passing on to future generations of embroiderers.
Chicken Scratch / Gingham Embroidery Articles List
If you’re planning to do a little Chicken Scratch or embroidery on gingham in the future, feel free to bookmark this page, add it to your Pinterest boards, share it on your Facebook profile, or do whatever you do to make sure you can find a favorite webpage again!
The articles below are arranged with the most recent articles first.
- How to Embroider on Gingham – a Chicken Scratch Tutorial
- Chicken Scratch / Gingham Lace Pattern: Floral Corner #2
- What’s in a Name? A Chicken Scratch Argument
- Chicken Scratch / Gingham Lace Pattern: Floral Corner #1
- Gingham Embroidery (or Chicken Scratch) for Spring
- The Many Looks of Gingham Lace Stitch
- Summer Fun with Gingham Embroidery
- Guide to Gingham Embroidery
- Hand Embroidery on Gingham – Christmas Trees
- Drawn Thread on Gingham: Tutorial
- Chicken Scratch: Embroidery on Gingham
Whenever I revisit the subject of gingham embroidery down the road, I’ll add the articles to this list, which can be found permanently on the Tips & Techniques page here on Needle ‘n Thread, under “Hand Embroidery Lessons & Step-by-Step Projects.”