Stitching glass is one of the more perplexing things we do as stitchers. I used to feel as if everything I did was wrong. If the house had lit windows, i.e. yellow rectangles, and I stitched them in Tent, they looked weird with the sashes, also often stitched in Tent. Instead of looking transparent they looked heavy.
Even worse was when you see something through glass, like wine in a glass or dresses in a shop window. Stitch what’s inside and how do you convey the glass. Stitch the glass and you can’t see what’s behind it.
Happily with a wise choice of stitches and with the many threads available you can stitch glass easily and effectively.
Stitching the Blank Window
By this I mean any window where you cannot see anything inside. Usually if the window is lit these are painted yellow. If the window is not lit, usually they are grey. Sometimes if the window is in shadow, it is black. We’ll talk about stained glass in the next section.
If the window is black, stitch it in Tent. This is one of the few times I use this stitch for glass. Make it recede by using a slightly thinner thread than usual and use more matte threads. I like Pebbly Perle (no longer made), Mandarin Floss, and thinned out DMC Matte Cotton.
Lit and unlit windows are treated the same way, just changing the thread colors. I stitch them in T Stitch, below, using either a single strand of floss or, even better, Kreinik Extra Fine (#4) metallic. I learned this technique from Carla Conn Tyler in a class. The windows on the left side of the square are mostly stitched this way.
This technique gives you the color and/or shine you expect from glass but it’s light coverage so the glass recedes from the other stitching while looking realistic.
Stained Glass Windows
When stitching a stained glass window on a building (not a piece where the stained glass is the main point) the color is what is important, not realism. Stotch the window in Tent using a shiny and smooth non-metallic thread. Rayons are perfect, but you could also consider Entice and Silk Lame from Rainbow Gallery. These blended threads stay smooth and the metallic in them adds shine but not sparkle in this context. If you cannot find the color you need in these threads, try Flair or Rachel, but they are not as good.
Seeing through Glass
This is probably the kind of glass that gives us more fits than any other but it is also the easiest to solve. You use transparent or translucent threads and stitch them as the glass. Some people use Tent for this but I prefer T Stitch above.
The key here is the thread you pick. My favorite because it’s the easiest to use is white Nordic Gold. The shop window on the right side of the English village used this combination. I bet you thought it wasn’t stitched! It really is translucent. Because the thread is round you won’t have to fiddle with it.
Other possibilities for threads here are Kreinik’s Easter Grass (not the braid) and transparent Prisms from dede. Prisms is very thin and very difficult to use. Only advanced stitchers should use it. However it is truly transparent.
The great thing about this technique is that the painting on the canvas conveys all the color. You don’t need lots of colors. It works as well for a glass of red wine as it does for a clear window.
Sometimes you want more of a sense of the glass. This is the case in David McCaskill’s Ornaments of the Millennium pictured at the top of this section. That’s when you use Water n’Ice on top of the painted or stitched canvas. This thread is translucent, not transparent and you can see the things behind it, but not in detail.
Water n’Ice, a flat thread, is made to be stitched in long stitches. It can be temperamental and you will need to stitch carefully to get this effect. If the thread twists, the effect is ruined. You also need to be careful of the colors, not every color of this thread is translucent.
With the wide range of threads and some simple techniques, you can easily stitch great-looking glass!