How often have you stitched a needlepoint set and had all the backgrounds be the same stitch in the same thread?
I know I have. For example all the small Needledeeva nativity figures have Criss-Cross Hungarian as the background, below.
The Petei nativity I bought partially finished got me thinking. All the pieces have Tent backgrounds but some are light blue and some are white. I think of them as inside and outside the stable. It will make for an interesting display.
Then serendipity (the thing not the stitch) stepped in as I worked on the tiny Princess & Me nativity. I am using Pebbly Perle for the backgrounds to use up the thread. On the first king, above, I did a background in Offset Mosaic. That would not work for the second king because his robe is checked and I wanted to stitch it in Mosaic.
What to do?
I decided to use the same thread but a different stitch, Nobuko. It looks great, below.
The third king’s background is Diagonal Cashmere, below. I haven’t decided on the backgrounds for the other three figures, but I plan on using different stitches for each. My current figure, the angel, uses Diaper. I still have to start Mary & Jesus, and Joseph.
This works partly because they all use the same thread. Importantly they also all use stitches that have similarities. The stitches should be similar in:
- scale (here non stitch longer than three threads, preferably two)
- type (all diagonal stitches)
- direction (this is the least important aspect)
Unlike using stitches that show perspective and shape, these stitches do not have to be related in size, though they can be. More important is that they be similar in scale and feel.
The result will be a set that has some extra interest and that will look great displayed together on a small wreath.
This approach will not work for every set and in every context but it is one that is worth considering when stitching a set.
About Janet M Perry
Janet Perry is the Internet's leading authority on needlepoint. She designs, teaches and writes, getting raves from her fans for her innovative techniques, extensive knowledge and generous teaching style. A leading writer of stitch guides, she blogs here and lives on an island in the northeast corner of the SF Bay with her family
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