Devilish Squares

6X6 squares are one of my favorites.  It's the just right square...not too big, not too small and you can do a lot with it.  

My first square for you is a square being hugged!  Here's what I mean.

I absolutely love this look.  It's clean and well proportioned.  However, in my opinion, it works best in columns or borders.  You can get a hint of what a border looks like with this stitch as it is this week's stitched sample on Instagram.  This stitch truly pops when you use contrasting colors.  Mixing fiber types (say my usual recommendation of matte and metallic) with similar color values is an elegant addition with this stitch.

If your space is larger, or you want to add a little surprise to your squares, stitch an "unsquare" pattern in your square.  

6X6 Alternate.jpg

Look carefully.  Those are 6X6 squares with defined borders and the pattern fits perfectly within a 6X6 space. Yet, they don't look like squares at all.  It's a great way to add pattern, symmetry, and a little deception to your space.

As I diagrammed the above stitch, my mind wandered.  The aqua area has so much more potential than a 45 degree edge.  So, I played a bit.  This play was also a chance to integrate my current obsession with layered stitches.

Each filling provides a different look.  Starting in the upper left hand corner and going clockwise, you can:

  1. Add a layered cross stitch to keep the stitched area light and open
  2. Add a layered diamond stitch to add a small amount of texture
  3. Add Smyrna Crosses to add a more pronounced texture
  4. Add a vertical diamond for a simple, elegant look

There's no right or wrong here.  You can also keep the centers open.  These four ideas are just thought starters!  

The next series of stitches finds their common theme in an eyelet stitch.  The first idea offers full coverage.

An eyelet stitch shares a common (typically) center hole.  It is very important to do eyelet stitches from the outside edges to the center to minimize the expansion of the center hole.  You can expand the center hole ever so slightly with a laying tool.  However, using a lighter weight thread (versus the canvas size) sometimes mitigates the need to expand the hole with a laying tool.  As an example, use Pearl #8 (on the ball) for the yellow lines on 13 mesh.  Use three plies of a pliable thread, such as floss or strandable silk, on 18 mesh.  

The next variation of this stitch is an open stitch but with an elegant accent.

While this stitch appears to eliminate the need for the eyelet hole, the advantage to maintaining it (and not doing long stitches from one corner to the other) is the height of the center will remain relatively flat versus the larger bump the long stitches would create.  

Keeping that thought, another dramatic accent is included on the next diagram.

Whether 13-mesh or 18-mesh canvas, a larger bead, such as a #6 or #8, would be a fantastic accent for this version. If you choose to accent the eyelet stitch with a bead, it's very important to maintain the eyelet stitch so the bead will have a relatively flat space in the center to rest.

The last 6X6 square is an open stitch with some beautiful and easy weaving.  

The last step in the sequence is exactly the same as the Modified Rice stitch in the 5X5 post.  The only tricky step is the last step.  Take a look at the "7-8" step.  You slide the final thread ("7-8") under the pre-existing thread ("1-2") to complete the stitch.

Expanding this pattern into multiple squares demonstrates what a beautiful, delicate pattern this is.  It would make an understated background, an elegant tabletop, a beautiful coat on a large Santa.  You get the idea.

It works as an open stitch or with a small accent in the emerging square areas as illustrated below.

I hope they inspire you!

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 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.