I'll post questions about needlework and my answers here. I don't claim to have all the answers, but I'll give you my opinion or what I do know. Many of the previous questions have turned into separate files on the topic. Before submitting a question, please take a look at my list of tips and tricks and follow that link; your answer may be here already!
Sometimes you need more (say 3" on each side for a total of 6" to each dimension), such as when the fabric easily unravels or is otherwise difficult to work with.
Sometimes you can get away with less.
When you're going to frame the piece, I highly recommend the 2" as the minimum. The 3" measurement is better, especially if you're going to take it to a framer to stretch and mount. Sometimes this fee increases if there is only a bit of fabric to work with.
The example above is a view looking directly downward at the piece. The couched thread (represented by -----) goes to the back of the work (pierces the fabric) only at a and b. It does not pierce the fabric at any other points but is held in place by the couching stitches (represented by | ).
You can couch with short vertical stitches, cross stitches, bullion knots, etc.
It's also possible to give the *effect* of couching by running a thread underneath completed stitches (rather than actually couch the thread on). I did this in my mini sampler Christmas ornament because it was an afterthought! And also easier than having the couched thread flopping around loose!
Hint: Lay the couched thread (thread to be couched) on the surface of the work. Then run only the end a to the back--don't bring the entire couched thread up at a, as this frays the couched thread unnecessarily. Then couch the thread, and when you're finished run end b to the back of the work.
The thread to be couched is also called the laid thread.
First of all, this answer is predicated on your having mounted your fabric taut in some kind of stretcher device. (I use a scroll frame.) When the fabric is taut, it is impossible to use the "sewing method," so this is "stab method" advice. (The "sewing method" aggravates RSI and also makes it easier to split threads by mistake, in my opinion.)
Put your skilled hand beneath your work and less-skilled on top.
Here's the "secret." Send the needle to the back of the work and as soon as it passes through, immediately turn it around and send it back to the top of the work without pulling the floss through at all. Now pull the needle to the top of the work, followed by the floss tail.
This means you pull through on the floss only once and) on each stitch, although you send the needle to the opposite side of the fabric twice. This cuts stitching time roughly in half.
Another way to look at it: you'll pull the floss through only back-to -front; but you'll send the needle through the fabric front-to-back *and* back- to-front.
I know that pulling the floss through only on the back-to-front leg of the stitch causes the floss to abrade more. To compensate, I just use shorter lengths of floss (12" or less). I think this is a very reasonable trade-off for halving time expended on each stitch!
Do a little test swatch and see what you think.
Some stitches, however, are known by their "inventors." These include the Rhodes stitch, named for Mary Rhodes; and Jean Hilton has several stitches that she's named. Denise Pratt has a lovely star-type stitch, too.
Drawings and descriptions of how to do the stitches are copyrighted, of course. As long as you do your own drawing and description you should be ok. I don't know the scope of your intended project, so you should consult an intellectual property attorney. (I am not an attorney.)
As to the JoJo stitch, I'd write and ask if it is copyrighted. If yes, then ask permission to use it. Make sure you state "used by permission" in your text and keep a hard copy of her permission letter in your files. Tell her you will give full annotation and credit to her, of course. If the stitch is not copyrighted, I'd still give full credit to her and also list her book in your bibliography. She may also ask you to buy a license to use the stitch if it is copyrighted. If it is not copyrighted, you need not pay her any monetary fee, but I'd be scrupulous about credit and in your bibliography and send her a copy of the finished publication, inscribed with your thanks.
As to limit on the number of stitches, if they're public domain, there is no limit. If they are copyrighted (and the "older" stitches certainly are not), then the limit is how many stitches she will give you permission to use.
Another note: If these stitches are available already in several sources, there may be some economic question about the feasibility of your doing another compendium. If you do decide to do it, you might want to put a particular slant on it so that it has its own market niche: such as large-print, left-handers, or some such.
This answer does not please you, I know, so I'll elaborate.
First of all, the front is what's important so don't overly-stress on how the back will look! My opinion only, of course.
Second, try to end your treads by weaving them under the same color, if at all possible. Otherwise, weave under a similar color.
Third, make your stitches all in the same order, as this will produce the same "pattern" on the back.
Fourth, don't carry your threads at all. End them and restart.
Fifth, consider a loop start. (I would not do this on a piece bound for a competition, however.)
As for an afghan, if you do the above four things I think you'll be pleased. If the back bothers you, you can always slip stitch a piece of appropriately-patterned fabric to the back of the afghan to hide everything! Pre-wash the fabric first to pre-shrink it so you do have differentially-shrinking fabrics when you wash your afghan! More in this file, including how to make a cross stitch that reverses to a cross stitch.
Anyone on the exact opposite side will see the sts going "the right way," but anyone 90 degrees around will see them going "wrong way." This can't be helped. Don't stress over it.
If it's a square or rectangular tablecloth, I would stitch the two sides traveling up- or downward. The top and the bottom would, of course, already have the same leg on top.
You can create the same effect with a "mock bullion knot." Take a long straight stitch (a satin stitch, in other words) for the length that the bullion knot is supposed to cover. Come back up at the same point and then just wrap (like above!), until the satin stitch is covered with coils. Then sink the needle.
The only reason to pre-rinse floss is to get rid of the excess dry dye on the surface of the thread. This is a problem with dark (black, particularly) and deep jewel colors (reds, turquoise, dark greens, etc.). If you wash your project after stitching is complete, you should be ok. If you want to pre-rinse, draw up a bowl of tepid water (right from the tap). Slip the paper tubes from the skein. Put floss in water for 30 minutes or so. If the water is clear, you're ok. If not, dump out the water and put in fresh; repeat until water is clear. Drain on white paper towels. If any dye leaks, rinse again. Really, though, I would not worry about this.
As to Aida, pre-wash only if the fabric is very stiff (lots of sizing--the sizing crystals act like little pieces of sandpaper), you're going to put it with other fabric for clothing (such as setting in a stitched panel in a jumper---in which case, you won't want the two fabrics to shrink at different rates; pre-wash the other fabric, too), or you're stitching with silk, which catches easily. Take a couple of stitches in the margin of your fabric to find out whether the thread catches with the amount of sizing in the Aida.
Now, as to threads. What colors are used? Dark ones or jewel tones? These are most likely to run. Do you have any of the left-over threads in your stash? If not, can you buy some of these colors? The expense would be more than compensated to keep your treasure beautiful and undamaged. Test the thread to see if it's colorfast (even tho manufacturers do not guarantee colorfastness, many of the colors are fine; the disclaimer is at the behest of the legal staff). Soak and place on white paper towel to see if there is dye bleed. Dye bleed is important, really, only if you are going to wash the piece with soap (Orvus) and tepid water (see my article on this washing). This can't be done without disassembling the piece.
From what you've told me, dry cleaning is probably your best bet..or disassembling. (Not what you wanted to hear, huh?!)
Your other option is to reframe, covering up the adhesive stain. You probably will have to cut it away. Your framer probably will be able to help you choose a frame/matboard combination which will maximize what's left of the sampler. Another though: can you cut away the damaged area and sew on strips of fabric? If you use a color which highlights the colors in the sampler - - as long as it is a fairly light color - - this might look good. Or some natural/white/off-white fabric. When I say fabric, I'm speaking of the type of fabric on which it is stitched.