Updated November 30, 2018
An inspired background can really enliven a needlepoint. It can make a rather uninteresting needlepoint exciting and, even if the stitching is over the top, as is the case with my Kelly Clark chicken pictured here, it can vault it to a new level.
For my money that’s great bang for the buck.
When you are stitching chickens, the first thing that comes to my mind is chicken wire fencing. This six-sided metal fence can be seen in coops everywhere, maybe even in your backyard.
When I think of six-sided shapes I also think of bees and bee hives, since honeycombs are six-sided as well.
But six-sided isn’t the easiest shape to do in needlepoint. I have devised two different chicken wire backgrounds. The first, below, is all Blackwork. It’s used in the Kelly Clark chicken and creates an airy background.(The stitch guide for this piece is available from my Etsy shop.)
The second, below, replaces the straight sides with Tent Stitches. This creates a stronger background because the Tent Stitches are more obvious.
If you are stitching chicken wire fence as a background, use either silver or gold metallic in a size slightly thinner than what you would use for Tent Stitch. Besides chickens, another chic way to use this would be for glass-fronted cupboards. You could really go over the top by stitching a color to be fabric behind the glass panels and then overstitching in this pattern in gold. It adapts a trendy home decorating idea to needlepoint.
Stitching a great bee background is a little more complicated. You’ll need two colors of thread for this, a medium and a light honey color. Start by stitching the entire background in Tent Stitch using both colors. Begin with the light color and make all the Tent Stitches for the honeycomb pattern. Fill in the rest of the background with the darker honey color.
Over the Tent Stitches make the slanted stitches that complete the honeycomb pattern using the lighter thread.
Very cool, easy, and distinctive.