I have two of these very small pieces - the other is a delightful prickly pear, which I'll get to tomorrow. From Sundance Designs, they are only 2 1/2" square, and absolutely charming for one who likes cactus.
They would not be suitable for decorative stitches, but do need something for a little zing, so what would be better than beads?? (in moderation on these) Also, I'll use the DMC Satin Floss for the flowers, as that will be great texture against the Petite Very Velvet I'll use on the cactus itself.
I decided that the background would be too busy with beads, so am using instead, my own version of "dotted swiss." This is simply basketweave, but where I marked the dots, I'll make an X so that a little bump will show - a very subtle way of adding texture without overwhelming the little canvas.
In the third picture, the work is progressing, with the background ready to go around the left side. I always just skip where the purple band is, and keep going to have a good continuity and no gaps in the surface.
On the left side where the arrow is, you can see the last stitch to be made in that row - a warp stitch (little bump.) The lower arrow points to the weft row that will then be started and go all the way back up the left side. This way, there will be no gaps or ridges in the basketweave where it meets itself - second nature once you understand it.
The color of the light green Very Velvet is absolutely perfect, I think - as it looks exactly like a cactus in the rock garden across the street. I chose the VV, as that is actually the surface texture of these cacti. Not exacty velvet, but matte - no shine like cotton or silk would produce.
I'll put beads on the dark green stripes, so left the weft stitches bare when I worked them. The purple fret is also done this way for insertion of clear beads, so as not to be too distracting. More on this tomorrow.