My latest try to choose a background that would better represent a forest, was the following.
I drew a picture of a tree with no leaves, then I cut out the template to make some trees out of black construction paper to audition the idea.
I started first by piecing together a small prototype of the background.
Next I drew the design on the back of some tear away stabilizer.
Once my template was transferred, I made a sandwich with the black fabric front side down, the background fabric right side to black fabric wrong side, then the stabilizer. Then I held the 3 together with a basting stitch.
Next, I set my stitch length to very short, then carefully and slowly stitched along the markings on the stabilizer until every line was covered. This took a while. The one mistake here, is that I used a blue thread so I could see more easily the outline on the black fabric. My eyes aren't that strong, and I hoped it would help somewhat. We'll get to that in a minute.
Once I cut away the negative areas with small, sharp scissors, This was what was left.
I then began to satin stitch around the branches, which is where I struggled with the blue thread. My Janome doesn't do satin stitches well, and the blue kept peeking through.
Even so, it is very dramatic and I like it. But I think the contrast is too stark for this quilt. Plus, I think I will use a technique my machine can more easily handle. I'm looking now at internet photos of birch forests and am now considering adding some tall, narrow, deep grey birch trees to the background to help the eye travel to the sunset rather than just jump there. I'll finish the satin stitching on this block and maybe add it to the back with my signature.