Best Needlepoint Stitches for Background Areas

Best Needlepoint Stitches for Background Areas

For many stitchers, choosing the right needlepoint stitch for their background can be an intimidating decision. However, finding the best background stitch is easier than you may think.

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert stitcher, here are the best background stitches for needlepoint projects.


Basketweave Stitch 

The Basketweave stitch is a needlepoint stitch you’ll want to use again and again. It’s recognizable by the diagonal pattern it forms on the front of a canvas and the woven pattern it forms on the backside.

The Basketweave stitch is an excellent choice if you need to neatly cover large background areas, as this stitch causes no distortion to the work and makes the piece very durable.

Read all about this popular needlepoint stitch in our blog post Tent Stitch and its variations every stitcher should know!

Learn how to do the basketweave stitch in the video tutorial below:




One of the main disadvantages of the Basketweave Stitch or Tent Stitch, is that is very slow when compared to decorative stitches. Below are the best alternatives to basketweave stitch to use in background areas, that are a breeze to stitch and will help you finish your project in any time soon!


Nobuko Stitch

The Nobuko stitch is a filling stitch that forms a solid line of stitches for your background. This stitch is made from an alternating series of long and short stitches in horizontal rows for a rich, textured design. The Nobuko stitch is particularly great for nature backgrounds like water, skies, or even snow. 

Here’s the diagram of the needlepoint Nobuko stitch alongside an example of this stitch used on our Agrumes Needlepoint Kit, followed by a video tutorial on how to do it:


 Nobuko Needlepoint Stitch Diagram



Brick Stitch

If you’re searching for a beginner-friendly background stitch that still impresses, try the Brick stitch. This is one of the most popular needlepoint stitches because it’s easy to do, versatile, and adds dynamic texture to a design. The brick stitch can be done either vertically or horizontally.

Here's an example using the Needlepoint Horizontal Brick Stitch:

Brick Stitch Moutain Spring

Mountain Spring Needlepoint Stitch Guide 


Scotch Stitch

Decorative and dynamic, the Scotch stitch offers a lot of dimension as a background stitch for needlepoint. With minimal effort, the Scotch stitch can cover a background with elegant texture. A completed needlepoint Scotch stitch forms a small, clean square design that’s a good choice for backgrounds.

You can also try the Diagonal Scotch, Offset Scotch, or Divided Scotch stitch variations if you’re looking to add extra depth and movement to a background. 

Here’s the diagram of the needlepoint Diagonal Scotch Stitch alongside an example of this stitch being used in our Smokies Needlepoint Kit, followed by a video tutorial on how to do it:

Diagonal Scotch Needlepoint Stitch Diagram


Check out  our Stitch Guides for inspiration on how to use the diagonal scotch stitch: Smokies, Breath, and Crocodile!


Mosaic Stitch

The Mosaic stitch is a wonderfully decorative stitch with tons of incredibly versatile variations. The Diagonal Mosaic stitch, for example, is an easy Mosaic stitch variation that’s perfect for backgrounds. This stitch is fairly easy to use, quickly covers large areas of the canvas, and creates a neat and full background. 

Here’s the diagram of the needlepoint Mosaic stitch alongside two examples of this stitch being used in our Garden of Joy Needlepoint Kit & Crocodile Needlepoint Kit:

Needlepoint Mosaic stitch (variation):

mosaic needlepoint stitch diagram variaton

Needlepoint Mosaic stitch:

mosaic needlepoint stitch diagram


Check out our Stitch Guides for inspiration on how to use the mosaic stitch: Breath, Crocodile, Garden of Joy, Pink Ice Protea & Bellflower!



Openwork Background Stitches for a quick filling

Openwork stitches, as the name refers, are stitches that don't completely fill the needlepoint canvas. They are perfect for a situation where a light stitch is preferable for the background, to enable other details of the design to pop. Using these openwork stitches in combination with other stitches creates interest in the canvas and adds texture to your needlework!

T Stitch & Skipped Tent

The T stitch is a classic needlepoint stitch that makes backgrounds a breeze. Named for its “t” shape, this open background stitch produces a simple, yet textured look that allows other details to shine through.

The Skipped Tent it's also called as Basketweave Twill, because it's worked like the basketweave stitch, but skipping every other row. For the best result, the stitch needs to be worked on the diagonal, so that the skipped holes have thread passing by in the back of the canvas, creating a more pleasant-looking result.


T Stitch & Skipped Tent Diagrams

Here's the diagram of this needlepoint stitch, alongside an example of its use in our needlepoint canvases:

Skipped Tent Stitch diagram
The Sun Needlepoint Kit


Woven Pattern Stitch 

Similar to the brick stitch, beginner stitchers will appreciate the ease of the Woven Pattern stitch. This background stitch has a very tidy appearance and allows any stitcher to fill in large areas of a canvas with little effort. The woven pattern stitch fully covers a canvas and is fantastic for neutral background designs. 

Here's the diagram of this needlepoint stitch, alongside some examples of its use in our needlepoint canvases:

Woven Pattern Stitch Diagram

Building Thousand Flowers Stitch Guide

Woven Pattern stitch Background

Woven pattern background bellflower stitch guide




A background stitch is crucial to filling in your project in a tidy and consistent way. With these tips, you’ll be able to discover the best background stitches for any needlepoint project. For even more inspiration for background stitches, check out our blog post on selecting needlepoint stitches and our favorite needlepoint decorative stitches.

Decorative stitches for needlepoint printed booklet by Unwind Studio.
Decorative stitches for needlepoint printed booklet by Unwind Studio.
Decorative stitches for needlepoint printed booklet by Unwind Studio.
Decorative stitches for needlepoint printed booklet by Unwind Studio.
Decorative stitches for needlepoint printed booklet by Unwind Studio.

Decorative Stitches for Needlepoint Booklet

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