Tent Stitch is the most universal Needlepoint Stitch. It's perfect for creating small details or a flat and even background. You can always use Tent Stitch in your piece as it gives the eye a place to rest and adds balance to a piece that's full of strong stitch patterns. Or, you can stitch the entire canvas in Tent Stitch!
This version of Tent Stitch is called Continental. Notice that the stitch is worked differently depending on the direction it is being stitched. Why?...It all has to do with the backside of the canvas. If the stitch is worked correctly you will have long diagonal stitches covering the canvas back. If it is worked incorrectly you will have alternating rows of long diagonal stitches and short upright stitches which distorts your stitching with time, OR rows of short upright stitches (see photo).
Basketweave is also a version of Tent Stitch. It creates a woven effect on the backside of the canvas. It is hard wearing and should be used wherever the painted area is large enough; wherever there are two or more rows of canvas. Basketweave is worked on a diagonal, rather than left to right.
Look closely at the weave of the canvas. Notice where one canvas thread crosses over another. This is called an intersection. there are two types of intersections. "Poles" are where the vertical thread crosses over the top of the horizontal thread. "Steps are where the horizontal thread crosses over the vertical thread.
Work down the poles and up the steps. (Do you have to? No. But consistently working down the poles and up the steps helps you to remember which direction you were working in, especially after putting your project down for a while. Ultimately this ensures the stitch is worked correctly).