I do something along the same lines with blackwork with a slight variation:
|Working on even weave, stitch "over 1".|
|If using Aida cloth, create a half-stitch.|
|Bring the thread up through the first hole to the right of your small stitch.|
|Bring the stitch down over the small stitch, |
covering the small stitch completely.
|You have a complete stitch. This is stitch #1 in your count.|
|It will look like this on the back.|
|Catch the tail in the next couple of stitches and trim close.|
I have found this method extremely helpful in maintaining tension as I stitch the beginning stitches. Use it the same way to finish the thread as well. Please note that this method does not work for the long stitches you see in many of my patterns, but is fine for a standard counted stitch.
Speaking of long stitches, try not to start your thread on a long stitch. They are much more difficult to secure properly and make it difficult to control the tension of the thread.