Pasadena-based Remainders Creative Reuse Invites You to Rediscover Chicken Scratch Embroidery

Published on Apr 21, 2024

Uncover the fusion of art and innovation as Remainders Creative Reuse introduces Chicken Scratch Embroidery, an Amish embroidery tradition revamped with STEAM concepts, in their hands-on workshop on Thursday, April 25.

For $30, participants can learn various stitches and techniques to adorn household items like aprons and tablecloths, creating their own sampler with all materials provided. This workshop will be led by Alyson Toone-Aguilar, an experienced artist and fashion designer with a background in STEAM and design thinking. 

Toone-Aguilar, who started her career in New York City’s apparel industry after graduating from Columbus College of Art and Design, now aims to make art accessible through her workshops in Los Angeles where she resides with her family. She’s partnering with Remainders Creative Reuse, a nonprofit leading in sustainability and creativity in Pasadena.

Operating as both a creative space and an arts & crafts thrift store, Remainders Creative Reuse is a hub for creativity and environmental consciousness. Their Materials Shop offers a diverse range of second-hand arts and crafts supplies, while their Creative Reuse Center diverts thousands of pounds of usable materials from landfills every month, thanks to donations from households and businesses.

“Part of our mission here is to keep things out of the landfill,” Toban Nichols, Director of Education and Development at Remainders Creative Reuse, said. “It’s important that we keep things out of the landfill and we serve the community in that way where we’re offering these classes at a low cost and they’re also using materials that would previously have been thrown away.” 

Most of the materials in their store have been donated by patrons of the arts, people who have home studios and want to get rid of things, and by big studios in Los Angeles. In their store, these materials are sold for usually less than a third of the price when brand new. But most of them end up being used in the workshops that the organization conducts on a regular basis. 

Remainders Creative Reuse hosts these low-cost art classes and programs in their upstairs creative space at 787 E Washington Blvd, Suite 101 in Pasadena. These classes provide educational opportunities to people of all economic levels, fostering personal creative expression through maker culture.

“We started out as a sort of creative art and craft thrift store, and then we started offering workshops and classes a few years ago,” Toban Nichols, Director of Education and Development at Remainders Creative Reuse, said. “In 2020, we moved into a 6,000 square foot space where now we offer about 20 classes a week, running six days a week.”

Chicken Scratch Embroidery, also known as Amish embroidery, snowflake embroidery, or depression lace, is a traditional and straightforward stitching technique often done on gingham fabric. It uses basic cross-stitch, woven square, and woven oval stitches to create delicate lace-like patterns on the fabric. This style is versatile, suitable for embroiderers of all levels, and is commonly used to decorate various items like aprons, tablecloths, and pillows, adding charm and texture to fabric pieces.

The Chicken Scratch Embroidery workshop stemmed from a teacher’s suggestion, Nichols explained. 

“I’m always game for an interesting new class, and so we put it out there and this is the third time we are teaching it,” he said. “It has really become very popular as a different type of embroidery.”

Apart from Chicken Scratch Embroidery, Remainders Creative Reuse offers a diverse range of workshops aimed at preserving traditional crafts and exploring innovative artistic techniques. Some of the upcoming classes include ice dyeing, paper making, watercolor portraits, and pottery remix, Nichols said. 

To learn more about the Chicken Scratch Embroidery workshop and other offers from Remainders Creative Reuse, visit

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