My friend Jane Wood has written a couple of fantastic posts in here blog, The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure, about the background she is doing currently for a piece from Squigee Designs which is Japanese in style.
The first talks about the problems she had with finding the background and the charming stitch she used, which she calls Skinny Willow. Every stitcher, no matter how experienced, goes through trial and error in picking stitches and Jane’s analysis of the problems she had and why her solution works are great.
Then today she has a second post where she talks about the background covering some areas which will be stitched later and when the background encroaches slightly into other areas.
This concept of encroaching backgrounds (thanks Jane for the term) is an important one in needlepoint. No matter whether you are using a fine thread and thin coverage (as Jane is) or a thicker thread and full coverage, the background still needs to look complete and as if it continues behind the other elements of the design.
The two main things Jane did will accomplish this. For the hair ornaments, by continuing the background over them, she actually has the background behind the ornament. For the hair, by encroaching and making the stitches over two threads instead of one, she will have a background which looks like the proper stitch. Shortening these stitches would have pulled the canvas and distorted the background or caused these stitches to disappear.
I can’t wait to see what she does next!