The True Inspiration

The true inspiration for a month of squares is this stitch from Carol H. Lake's "Desert Island Stitches."  

I discovered this stitch last Fall while working on a club series and was absolutely charmed.  It was the perfect proportion for the space, I could add contrasting color, and it was such a unique interpretation of a square.

The stitched sample on Instagram uses contrasting colors.  I also used it on the body of a boat (with a solid color and a white accent for the cross stitch).  I love both as they play the stitch completely differently.

If you are interested in the book, you can find more information here.  More information about the club series, hosted by What's the Point! in Dublin, Ohio, can be found here.  (Scroll down a little bit for information on The Petite Bouquet Club.)

The next 5X5 square is a modified Rice Stitch.  The traditional Rice Stitch contains an X over the square space (gray lines below) with each leg tacked down by a single stitch, typically in the outer corners (yellow lines).  (There are versions where the legs are tacked down by a stitch over two rows, but I digress.)   

The stitch sequence is numbers, followed by small letters, followed by capital letters.  The only step to be mindful of is the last step of the diamond (small letters).  Take a look at the "g-h" step.  You slide the final thread ("g-h") under the pre-existing thread ("a-b") to complete the stitch.

Expanding this into a pattern illustrates what a pretty stitch it is.  It's perfect for a floor, tablecloth, or clothing. 

The single stitches in the corner are optional as you may want more of the underlying X to be exposed for whatever effect you seek.  Another idea for the intersection where the yellow stitches are is to add an upright cross over two rows in each direction. 

The combination of thread weights and finishes is important for this stitch.  You need a balance of lightweight and heavy threads, with an emphasis on lightweight.  An example for 13-mesh canvas is a heavier thread, such as Rainbow Galleries Very Velvet, for the X, and follow with a lighter weight metallic such as Kreinik Metallics Fine Braid (#8) for the aqua diamond and a stranded silk or floss in a contrasting color for the yellow corners.

The last 5X5 idea for you today is the Covered Scotch.  This is another scalable stitch and is a great way to add color and texture to a space.

This stitch works equally well with threads with similar color values or contrasting colors.  My favorite combination is a flat metallic thread (such as Neon Rays, Fyre Werks, or Shimmer Ribbon) for the bottom thread and Very Velvet for the corners, with both threads in similar color values.  The eye gravitates towards the corners, so put the finish or color you want the attention to go to in the corner.

These stitch diagrams, along with other #whimsicalwednesday and #smallspacesunday stitch diagrams, can also be found on  

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If you like what you see on this blog, want to learn some very creative decorative stitches, and how to put them all together, sells stitch guides for seasonal Melissa Shirley designs.  20 guides are currently available and more are in the pipeline.