Layered Squares

Today's stitch is what I call Layered Squares, as the final look appears as squares with alternating corners tied down.  

Create the squares by laying the base threads in two adjacent rows, skipping two rows in between pairs.  In the diagram, I added the vertical pairs first, followed by the horizontal rows on top (creating the layers of the layered stitch).  Follow up with the 3X3 crosses on top of alternating intersections.  

The truth is the order you use to lay the base threads down doesn't matter.  Honestly, I didn't think about it when I stitched it.  In hindsight, I am very happy with the order I chose because the eye sees the horizontal lines more than the vertical.  And, for that space I used it in at the time (more about that soon), that is appropriate.

Thread choices are important for this stitch.  In my opinion, the base thread should be a single strand thread.  The single strand provides definition and texture for the base layer.  For a strong, well-defined base, good matte base thread choices are Very Velvet, Vineyard Silk, Pepper Pot Silk, or DMC or Anchor Pearl Cotton (especially size 3).  Good choices for a metallic base thread are Kreinik Metallics Medium Braid (size 16), Kreinik Metallics Tapestry Braid (size 12), Crystal Braid, or Silk Lame.  Plied threads will work, of course, but it will be a vastly different look than what you will see on the stitched sample on Instagram.

Conversely, have fun with the metallics!  As they are the top thread, their only responsibility is to be pretty!  The stitched sample on Instagram uses Shimmer Ribbon by YLI.

This stitch is ideal for areas requiring symmetry.  As an example, the Instagram sample is the front door of Melissa Shirley's Halloween House.  The symmetry, provided by evenly spaced threads on the horizontal and vertical axises, keep the appearance of the door as, well, a door.  In my opinion, an openly diagonal stitch (such as Diagonal Mosaic) would distract the eye and prompt the viewer to try to reconcile the actual use of the space versus the stitch chosen.  I would use this as a table top or floor covering (perhaps with lighter weight threads), a roof, or clothing areas with large spaces, to name a few.

This 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.  22 guides are currently available and more are in the pipeline.