not quite chicken scratch

This is the last of my finds from last weekend's trip to Kutztown.


The seller who I bought this from had two and the first was traditional chicken scratch made into a pillow top (another idea for using this style of embroidery) with a ruffled edge. Nice but nothing you hadn't seen before. The one I bought had that little something extra. More like a lot extra!


The small crosses have a twisted thread which is a great variation of the traditional double cross stitch. To do this variation, make your cross first, then the straight line from left to right. Then, when making the final stitch from top to bottom, loop your thread over the center of the crossed threads and the left-to-right thread.


There are also great examples of the ribbed spider's web stitch using twenty threads and skewed into a spiral. This is done a little differently than the spider web stitch. Instead of simply passing under and over the cross threads, the threads get wrapped over each cross thread, forming a raised tube. It could be straight but, in this example, it's twisted to form a spiral. Will have to try this to figure out exactly how it was done.


The spiral designs alternate with woven crosses, also done over twenty base threads. In this design the thread is woven in four sections back and forth over the five threads in each corner.


All done in ivory-colored lightweight wool on a heavyweight red gingham background. It looks just like lace from a distance. I can't even imagine how long it took to make this—the work is flawless. I'll probably frame this piece because it really does deserve to be preserved and, because the threads sit on the surface, it could easily get snagged.

Updated to add the size of this piece, which I should have stated before because it has so much going on in a not-very-large space. It's just 18 inches square and each spiral block is 1.75 inches across!


Genevieve Gail said...

WOW- that is incredible! Truly a work of art!

Alberta Art Classes said...

Oh. My.

Denise Felton said...

Fascinating! I just put a link to this post on my blog. I hope it brings you a few extra visitors.


Carla said...

This is truly beautiful. I am always in awe of a designer who knows how to make something look quite complex with only a few motifs repeated over and over. I think you just have to know when to stop adding different things sometimes. Thank you for sharing, Janet!

KR said...

This is absolutely INCREDIBLE.

May I just say... WOW.

Also wanted to let you know that I am having a big giveaway on the blog and sign-ups last until Sunday night! The giveaway was given to RTH by the ever-inspiring author of Craft Nectar. Hope to see you there! :) http://reclaimingthehome.blogspot.com/

Vicki W said...

That is so cool!

Lakshmi said...

Hello Janet,

woww..its fantastic piece of needle work. we Indians call it as kamal(rhombus shape) work and Dori work(spiral) with only 8 base stitches using cone thread...but here it is a new technique giving twist in the spiral weaving..will definitely give a try..

WoolenSails said...

Wow, that is a beautiful quilt. A lot of work and time went into that and it shows.


Martha said...

I am in awe of this stitching and thank you so much for the fabulous photos and explanation. It's just amazingly beautiful and intricate.

tammyCA said...

I like how you also see the design of stylized crosses in the red background (seen in the first pic)- amazing piece of work.

Sweet P said...

Wow! That is stunning work!

Anonymous said...

Love the design.Never have seen this type before. I have just gotten into chicken scratch, and I love it. Is there any way I can get a copy of this pattern.

janet said...

Lynette, I didn't make this so I have no pattern for it. The crosses are simple enough and I think it's possible to figure out the spiral from my link to spider web. The cross uses the same base thread arrangement. I haven't had time to try these stitches for myself but, when I do, I'll make a stitch school lesson from them. Too busy with holiday orders and craft shows until after Christmas!

pussman and co said...

wow, this looks so fun to do!!

Laurie said...

Interesting! Love the spiral look of the spider stitch. I just did some chicken scratch work and would love to try this!