Updated September 12, 2023.
Despite way too much math during my education, I am not exactly a number wiz. But I have a friend whose son is and he is addicted to a form of Japanese puzzle called Kenken. The link takes you to a site with lots of these puzzles. Like Sudoku, these puzzles have square grids, and one number goes in a box.
But there the similarity ends. The grids in Kenken can be any size from 3×3 to 7×7. They are solved using various equations and formulas, which are much harder. The cool thing for needlepoint is that sections of squares are put into groups called cages, usually with heavier lines, above. To solve them you use the target number and operation in one corner of the cage. The result of all the numbers in a cage must be the target number. So if the corner had 3+ and just two squares, they would need to be 1 & 2.
But the intriguing thing to me is that these could be so much more interesting than Sudokus for needlepoint samplers. Take each group and stitch it in a different stitch. Use backstitch to outline each of the groups. The puzzle pictured here has seven areas, so it would have seven stitches.
Begin by deciding the size of your grid square; this will decide the overall size of your sampler. If I picked 1″ for my square the finished size would be 4″. Pick your canvas size and use the picture to guide you when to change the stitch.
When the sampler is stitched, highlight the sections by outlining them using either a whipped stitch (Backstitch or Chain) or couching.
I’m excited about trying one myself. If you try it, send me a picture.