I started hooking the background of Sol Invictus by hooking in curved lines and filling around them as we normally do, using four textures I overdyed with Fincastle Brown 141, the same color I'm using in the eyes and around the rays.
But the linear background competed with the sun face. So I ripped it out and began to play around with non-linear hooking and came up with a technique I'm calling 'pebbling' because the way the loops are arranged remind me of pebbles on the bottom of a riverbed. It is very simple, based on the concept of the 'random walk' or 'drunken walk'.
The loops are hooked non-linearly and randomly, although not jumping around or crossing over like in waffling or pearling where spaces are left between the loops and filled in with another color. With pebbling, each loop touches the previous one, but is not hooked in a line (or a circle or a curve which are hooked linearly too). There are no crossovers on the back.
So here are pictures of how I pebbled the background, hooking with loops staggering next to each other. I worked small random areas and kept filling in with the pebbling technique until the area was complete. I absolutely LOVE the look and think that this may become my favored technique for hooking backgrounds. I might have to experiment with using this technique in motifs as well.
After I saw how beautiful the effect is, I began to wonder why we are always looking linearly, why we are taught to do this. I imagine that it has to do with rug hooking's history as a craft imitating rugs that are created on looms or machines where lines are the only way to create tapestries. But we don't have to be restricted by lines! Hook randomly today!