Needlepoint stitches completely fill and obscure the mesh of the canvas with the applied color of thread, just as pigment fills the canvas of an oil painting. But a choice of stitches exists, geared to the purpose of the various elements of the design. There are outline stitches, filling stitches, shading stitches and stitches that add rich textural dimensions. Outline stitches, for example, are primarily useful for delineating areas that will be filled. Filling stitches work best if they move quickly, leapfroging like the mosaic stitch does over several perforations at a time. Shading and texture stitches are both used to create dimensional effects by rounding out the form.
THE CUSHIONED SCOTCH STITCH (see the example above - the background of the Christmas Pillow was stitched with THE CUSHIONED SCOTCH STITCH). This stitch gives dimensions to the design.