Let’s Get . . . Stitching Backgrounds

Originally posted 2009-04-29 05:57:54. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Figuring out what to do about the background of a needlepoint piece is often perplexing.

The design is so pretty on it’s white background. But stitch and suddenly something more is needed — a background. Some canvas come on colored or metallic canvas so a possible background is there. Some canvases have a painted background.

But almost always you will need to stitch something. I have tried all kinds of different things for backgrounds from a pulled canvas background, to an all-metallic Giant Diagonal Mosaic. Some have worked well, some haven’t, but here are some of my favorite techniques for backgrounds.

I’ve found several ways to think about what will work for a background before I make a stitch and discuss them in this post.

Needlepoint Damask uses two threads with a slight contrast to make a background which is stitched entirely in Tent Stitch, but which has pattern in it.

Another technique I love for backgrounds is Blackwork. I like the look of it in matching threads on colored canvas or in colored threads on white canvas. This post has tips on how to do it.

Most often I use a textured stitch for a bacgkround. When the combination of thread, color, and stitch is right, this is a perfect, but simple background. Here are five great stitches for them.

Stripes make powerful backgrounds. This post, on the Random Stripe Generator program, has some ideas for how to use them.

One of the most common types of background is a sky. While there are many great techniques to stitch skies, here are some of the ones I use again and again.

Don’t be afraid of doing something unique for your background. Even if you only have learned Basketweave there is plenty you can do to make your backgrounds exciting.


  1. Betsy says

    Hi – my first comment! just wanted to say that I often don’t stitch a background for particularly pretty designs but I tea-stain the canvas beforehand to give it some color or texture. Last month I put the canvas in a bowl filled with POM juice mixed with leftover coffee and it turned a great deep burgundy shade. I stitched a small star using leftover threads and used the background as the foundation for the colors I chose.


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