For most of my stitching life, if you told me that metallic thread and laid stitches could make a great back, I would have thought you were nuts. I had a terrible experience using all metallic for a background, and this abject failure kept me away from metallics.
When it comes to laid stitches, many of the ones I’ve tried were just too flashy to make great backgronds. Then I took a lovely class from Benda Hart at TNNA. The class used a Lee medium kimono and had plenty of beading and great stitches for the flowers. It was the background that really changed my thinking. Metallic to match the background color and short horizontal stitches were made over it to tie it diwn.
It makes a lovely background, as you can see in the picture above. For this version, each row is done in two passes with two different threads. Long stitches from one side of the area to the other are made. You can make this one row at a time or do a group of laid stitches, as in the picture above. The second pass uses a non-metallic thread, Vineyard Silk here, and makes pairs of tying stitches going over two threads. The pairs of stitches alternate between adjacent columns. I call it Junipero, after St. Junipero Serra, the Apostle to California.
You can make similar backgrounds using trios of stitches (below top), which is the original Brenda Hart stitch, or pairs of diagonal stitches (below bottom).