Silk Road Needle Arts
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Choosing a Background Stitch
One of the most frequent comments I hear from
cross stitchers is that then don't do needlepoint because of filling in boring
backgrounds; even avid needlepointers often are turned off by large areas of
If you have a detailed, painted canvas with lots of shading, sometimes the only way to retain the art work is to work the design in tent or basketweave; however, the background often opens up new possibilities. There are a few guidelines that you should consider when selecting the appropriate background stitch:
1. Most stitches have a definite direction and movement; this movement should complement the design in the canvas.
2. Background stitches should not be overwhelming; your focus should be on the colorful, detailed design in the center of the canvas.
3. Choose a thread that will not compete with the central design; in general the design should have the sheen and "pop" instead of the background.
There are numerous books available with recommendations on selecting stitches for backgrounds. (My personal favorites are cashmere, mosaic, and jacquard)
Listed below are some background stitches for your consideration; most stitch books have illustrations of them and you should consider several variations on a particular stitch (slanted, worked horizontally or vertically, etc.)
Pavillion (2-4-6-4-2 stitch)
Slanted Gobelin (also Encroaching)