This week's post is less about a specific stitch and more about how to mix patterns to fit rigid space definitions.  The backstory is someone asked me for a wallpaper stitch.  My first thought was some sort of huge, open, and fun stitch (my favorite).  Turns out the wallpaper was really columns surrounded by single vertical rows painted in a different color.  This person needed three stripe stitches to fit an overarching wallpaper.  A completely different request, but a great opportunity to mix things up a little.

The trick was to define the dimensions of the individual spaces, find a pattern, and mix stitches to fit that pattern.  Turns out the column width pattern was 10, 2, 3, 2, 10, 2, 3, 2, 10 with a row of plain needlepoint on either side of every column.  So, I needed three stitches, one ten rows wide, two rows wide, and three rows wide.

Here's where I landed.

Clearly, the 10 row column has the most stitching potential.  Any pair of 5X5 squares would fill the width of the space.  A smaller pattern, such as the Star OctagonWoven Hungarian, or even a Tramme stitch would fit.  It's all a matter of personal taste.

The smaller columns are best handled in traditional stripe stitches.  But, don't be afraid to mix it up on the direction.  Mix diagonal and horizontal for a little change of pace.  You could do the over-2 columns in a single row of Tramme, or fill them with Smyrna Crosses from top to bottom.   

In terms of threads for backgrounds, I tend to understate the threads.  The stitched sample on Instagram illustrates the above diagram with a cream Subtlety.  I've seen versions of these columns with the all the columns in a matte thread and the gray lines are in a light sheen metallic.  The small splash of a muted metallic was a nice touch.  The final determination is the space you are stitching.  These are simply thought-starters.

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