Monday, 19 May 2014

Snowflakes in Summer

Hello everybody, I hope you are enjoying some of this glorious summer weather we are having in the UK at the moment. 

In the south-east it's been hot for a more than a few days in a row, although I think that'll be it on the sunshine front for a few days.

So I have been able to grab a few opportunities in between the chores and commitments over these last few sunny days for some al fresco sewing - simple pleasures are the best!

I have finished off the Chicken scratch blue gingham heart that I showed you the beginnings of in my last post. 

I have been wanting to have a go at chicken scratch for a long time now. It is also known as snowflaking or snowflake embroidery, (which sounds so much prettier than chicken scratch!) mountain lace, Amish lace or Amish embroidery, or Depression lace.

It is a type of early American embroidery that was popular with women of the 1930's and 40's who would decorate gingham aprons and sundresses, and it involves simple cross stitches, snowflake stitches, running stitches and woven circle stitches to create an impression of appliqued lace.

I started with some of the classic chicken scratch stitches, woven diamonds and Smyrna cross-stitch ( and will be returning to them at some point! ) but I have also enjoyed the freedom of going my own way and ad-libbing with designs and stitches as the mood and inspiration take me.

Like I rarely follow a recipe (except when it comes to baking!) I rarely follow a pattern - there is this rebellious streak in me, since a child, that always has to disregard given instructions and go my own way.  

Sometimes I regret it. Not often, as I have found you learn so much more by trying things yourself and learning by your mistakes rather than blindly following instructions, although sometimes I might concede a few rules or instructions may have been worth following!

So I've just finished two small squares of chicken scratch embroidery that will form the centre panel of some cushions that I will then pop into my Etsy shop.

snowflakes in summer - see the little cluster in the corner?

As I have posted several very long garden posts recently of gardens that we have visited, I have spared you my more modest garden photos for quite a while, but having taken a few over the last few days I hope you'll bear with me whilst I share a few.  

The azaleas and rhodedendrons have been lovely this year,and although I haven't shared many photos with you I do have a few for my next post.

At the moment the aquilegias are making the garden soft and pretty with lots of purples, liacs and pinks, and the anthemis and valerian are flowering

the foxgloves are nearly out

more aquilegias against the ferns which grow naturally and rampantly in our garden

an iris

a huge, blowsy orange red poppy the size of a dinner plate!

the white flower is a hydrangea petiolaris

the roses are just  coming out now too - a climbing red rose here over  an archway

a yellow tea rose

and a climbing white rose with pale rose-tinted buds.

Hope the sun is shining for you wherever you are!


  1. Your embroidery is beautiful! I've seen a few pieces like this before but not many. Yours are really distinctive and gorgeous. The flowers are lovely too, I really love the poppies. So big and bright. Hope you have a good week, Gilly.

  2. Beautiful! The chicken scratch looks amazing, what a transformation from a simple piece of gingham. Lovely flowers, your foxgloves and roses seem a bit further on than mine. See you Weds.
    Jane xx

  3. Your embroidery is so pretty, not something that I had heard of before, but it is so lovely. Great to see the photos of your garden, it looks beautiful, so many lovely plants, the aquilegias are stunning and I love those poppies too. We have some and as you say, they are massive aren't they! xx

  4. My gran made these cross stitch aprons, I can still see her making them in my memories.

  5. Thank you so much for introducing me to this kind of embroidery. I've never come across it before and it's just beautiful. Very folksy and very satisfying to make I would imagine. They will make beautiful cushion covers. x

  6. I am blown away by your beautiful stitchings Gill - such talent you have: amazing work!
    Your garden is looking fantastic with its lovely blooms - and that poppy pic portrays its beauty so well. The 'grannies bonnets' are favourites of mine and yours are in my fave colours, pinks and purples! This has been a real treat, thanks so much! Enjoy your week, xo Joy

  7. Your garden looks amazing Gill!
    I love the idea of embroidery on gingham, I've never heard of this before either, so another thanks from me for the idea :) I have some pink and purple gingham in my stash which would be perfect for this :)

  8. I love the snowflakes, they're really pretty. Your garden is looking fantastic, you've got some lovely colour aquilegias, I love pale pink and deep plummy colours together. The rose is beautiful - is it Madame Alfred Carriere? I have one that looks similar. I'd love to sit on your bench for a while and enjoy the sights and sounds! I hope you have a good week Gill. CJ xx

    1. I'm not sure what the rose is CJ, as it was here when we moved in. I planted a Madame Alfred Carriere before, years ago in a different garden, and I seem to remember it was beautifully scented, but having just been down the garden to check again I can honestly say the scent is very faint with this rose. It looks very pretty though!
      Gill xx

  9. I've never heard of this kind of embroidery ... looks lovely ... as does your garden! M x

  10. They are so pretty! I've never seen anything like that before & it was so interesting. Love your garden photos & this time of year is just lovely when all the flowers burst into life.

  11. What beautiful embroidery! I've never seen or heard of it before. But now it's going on my 'to try' list for sure!!! :-)

  12. Your embroidery looks beautiful, and I love your garden-photo's. So colorfull this time of the year! Here in the Netherlands we have some warm days either, feels like summer allready.

    xx Margriet

  13. Hello lovely Gilly it is so lovely to catch up on all your news. Your garden is looking beautiful and it has been so lovely to read through previous posts to see it evolve and as usual you have been keeping very busy making beautiful things. I love the Chicken Scratch embroidery, certainly new to me. What a clever way to bring gingham alive and I love that you have yet again done your own thing, it pays off to be rebellious (sometimes!). I hope you have a lovely week and yes lets hope this weather continues into the bank holiday weekend xoxo

  14. I love your summer snowflakes, Gill! It is a pretty name for this type of embroidery, which I have always loved the look of as I love gingham so much too. Your work is beautiful!
    Have a lovely day tomorrow :)
    Helen xox

  15. Hello Gill, I am always amazed by how far on your garden is,compared to ours. It's looking lovely. Your chicken scratch is beautiful. I laughed when I read about your rebellious streak, I am like that too, and my daughter is as well. I find it frustrating when I am trying to teach her anything though.
    Thanks for your comment about Facebook, it is great to have it finally working properly, although there are still a few things I need to sort, but, one step at a time. Much love to you, Linda x

  16. This is some beautiful work Gill. Using the square pattern of the gingham gives you so many opportunites for different patterns and, however diverse, they will always match due to the grid pattern underneath. So many new things to learn in this post!!! Thank you!
    B x

  17. I love your embroidery, it's such a lovely technique.
    Your garden is looking fabulous!
    love Jooles x x x


Thanks for visiting and for taking the time to leave a comment - I love to read them!
Gill x