I have been experimenting with hooking different types of backgrounds for years. When I hooked Lady Sunset, I came up with a procedure that I love and have now used in the background to Alexander at Sauder.
I take a number of different textures and overdye them with the same value of the same color. In this case I used Shades of Dusk 122. Then I hook all the different textures in randomly by pebbling.
Pebbling is a technique I use when I purposefully do not hook in a straight row. The hooking meanders, although each consecutive loop touches the other. So there is no jumping around. I hook the next strip in next to it, continuing the meandering, until all the space is filled in.
For the background on this rug, I used overdyed texture pack 122 in value 5 (lighter) on the right side of his head; texture pack 122 in value 8 (very dark) on the left side of his head. I love the look because it feels like the light and shadow is dancing behind him.
I am packaging my texture packs for this purpose, so each texture palette pack contains 1/4 yard of different wools overdyed with the same value of dye. I can do this in any of my colors, in any value. If you are interested, go to the pull down menu SHOP FOR WOOL to view what is available.