Update September 15, 2023.
An easy way to accent the focal point of any needlepoint, especially if it is a simple one such as this autumn leaf, is to have the background stitch “point” to the center of the stitching. This process is called “mitering.”
When you miter a background, you will turn the direction of the stitch so that the line of stitches always points towards the center. To make this work you will need to use box or diagonal stitches, and you will need to stitch each corner individually.
For this background I used Diagonal Mosaic (diagrammed above).
The hardest thing, I found, about doing this technique is finding the middle. Since this is a diamond, the intersection at each compass point is the middle. If the middle were a hole, my two mitered corners could meet each other. Because it is an intersection, I made a line of Continental from the point to the leaf to mark the boundary. Each of these was stitched before beginning to stitch a side.
The result makes even a simple piece and background stitch more exciting. I’m planning on further emphasizing the leaf by using the same technique for the corners, this time with Byzantine.