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Stitching background areas doesn't have to take all your time and thread.  Try open stitches for the background. 

Dragonflies by Charlie Harper
Charlie Harper - Dragonflies #CH-D279

The Open Diamond Stitch is a fun stitch you can use for a background on virtually any design.  Or, use it for the sky in a landscape piece. 

Beach Scene by JulieMar KL-1153 with open diamond stitch                                                                                        (JulieMar #KL1153)

An open diamond stitch is perfect for large background areas that have one color or blended colors. Match the color of the background with your thread. If your background has many different colors, placed randomly, pick a neutral color from the pallet of the background.
Feed Me by Vicky MountFeed Me by Vicky Mount #1706

Although you can use any fiber the stitch is best with stranded thread – cotton or silk.   Ply down the thread to two strands for 18 mesh; three for 13 mesh.

Open Diamond Stitch
This pattern is a series of horizontal stitches - over 1, over 3, over 2, over 3 and over 1.  Start at the top right, a few rows from the end.  If you start at the edge (whether round or square), you may not get your pattern in.  You will be stitching on a diagonal.  The last single stitch on the right side of the diamond is 2 rows up from the first single stitch on the left side of the next diamond.  Follow through until the end of the painted portion to establish your pattern.  When you get to the end of the design, return in the opposite direction. 

You will have to fill in the top right corner with the pattern. Remember, it's an open stitch, so some areas will not be covered.

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Open diamond stitch for background areas

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