Sunday, May 27, 2012

Chottie's Plaid

Come near, children, and hear the story of my adventure with Chottie's Plaid.

As a member of the Baldy View EGA chapter, Chottie Alderson's name comes up occasionally. She founded our chapter and was a pretty famous teacher in the 1970's. In fact, the EGA Pacific Southwest Region has a special charm to honor Chottie. Yup, it's the plaid one. And then a member of my chapter mentioned that Chottie had a stitch named after her in Jo Ippolito Christensen's book "The Needlepoint Book." Oddly enough it's called Chottie's Plaid. Hmmm, interesting, maybe I'll try it someday. THEN Pat C. mentioned that you could make a plaid out of any date. WHAT? COOL! Back to the internet and I found this. Okay, I need to try out this stitch.

I decided to start at the beginning:  buying some interlock mesh to try a plaid since I want to do this in a needlepoint style. I thumbtacked it to some stretcher bars and decided to make my own plaid using green, blue, black, and red.

 First you stitch EVERY OTHER thread in a single color until you have the stripe thickness you like. I made 5 rows of green, 2 black, 3 red, 2 black, 6 blue, and repeated it ending with green. You stagger the stitches so the colors are interwoven just like they appear on a woven plaid.

Next turn the piece 90 degrees. Notice my TWO red stripes? On the first photo they are horizontal. In the second photo they are vertical. Then begin repeating the exact same sequence up in the corner: 5 rows green, 2 black, 3 red, 2 black, 6 blue, 5 green, etc., filling in the open spaces. In the beginning there was stripes, then there was plaid!

I discovered a few things in trying this out:
     1.  I used a roll of M.C.G. Textiles 14-count mesh I picked up at Hobby Lobby. This stuff is awful, completely twisted up on the roll. I considered blocking it first before I put it on stretcher bars but for just trying out a little patch it was just too much work. If I do this on interlock, I will invest in a better quality material.
     2.  A full length of 6-stranded floss does not fill 14-count mesh well. I plan on trying some of my different pearl cotton sizes to see if something is better. The traditional wool may work best but I don't have any wool and am not planning to get any for a little project. I may try this on an 18-count mesh but that would take longer to stitch.
Thistle and Kilt: Goldwork and Plaid       3.  Stitching the foundation of this stitch (the initial stripes) is a little boring, but watching the plaid come together on the last half is fun.

Then last is this plaid from a Michele Roberts ANG correspondence course. She is using Chottie's Plaid as a striking base for her goldwork design. A plaid would make a great base for initials or a couched beaded design. I can see this as a nice gift for a man. To see more needlepoint plaids, do an online search (aka google) "needlepoint plaids" and click on the image option. To see some information on tartans and check if there's one for your family, try this search in the scottish government tartan registry.

As for the date plaid, I'll try to work out that system and attempt one in the future.


  1. I think your plaid turned out great! I can see why it would start to feel tedious, but your results are beautiful. Thank you for sharing this - I learn something new everyday (and I'm already thinking about using this technique to add a border to something I may start soon) :)

  2. Love the plaid. I am getting ready to teach this to my ANG chapter members but can't figure out how you got the edges so neat? Did you use extra long threads? Your back is reversible - correct?

    1. It's been a while since I've done this, and I tossed the piece when I was done. I don't think it was reversible. I used a continental tent stitch skipping every other thread, then turned the piece 90 degrees and filled in the stitches with the same plaid pattern. It wasn't a big piece and I remember the canvas was horrible cheap stuff I got in a tube at a big box store. My EGA chapter may be teaching this too in 2016. Good luck.

  3. Ok, thanks. That explains why. I followed the instructions in both The Needlepoint Book & ANG's Stitch of the Month web page which makes a reversible plaid. Continental would allow you to bury your ends nicely. Thanks for your response. Melita