This week I chose to do two stitches for the price of one. The Cushion Stitch is also known as the Framed Scotch stitch. This is an excellent background stitch. It consists of Scotch Stitches done over one, two, and then three intersections. Between each Scotch Stitch unit, skip a canvas thread (both horizontally and vertically). When you have finished doing your field of Scotch stitches, fill in the skipped rows with Continental stitch. Consider doing the Scotch Stitches with an overdye thread.
The Combination Cross stitch (also known as Interlocked Upright & Diagonal Cross Stitch) is a most appealing stitch. It too makes for a fine background. The stitch is done in two different steps. The first step is to cover the canvas with cross stitches done over two canvas intersections. When you have finished your field of cross stitches, the next step is to insert a row of upright crosses in between the rows of completed cross stitches. The Upright Crosses are also over two but in their case it's two canvas threads not two canvas intersections. This stitch works in small areas and is easy to compensate. Beth Robertson and Suzanne Howren in their excellent book Stitches for Effect recommend this stitch for clothing and for use with overdyed thread.