Shading needlepoint often seems complex, and many stitchers shy away from blending threads. But it is what I call a “Big Bang” technique — one which isn’t hard to master and which then gives fantastic results when you are finished — the Big Bang.
Anne Stradal is a master at needleblending and uses them often in her pieces. In her most recent lighthouses she has had lovely needleblended skies, as you can see from the picture at the top of this post.
I’m particularly fond of this one, as it combines needleblending with Nobuko, a textured stitch. This reminds us that we can needleblend with any stitch which is done in straight rows. And if a stitch has rows which encroach on each other, as Nobuko does, the effect is even more wonderful and subtle.
Anne not only does needleblending, she is showing you, step by step, how to do it, using this lighthouse and lots of pictures in this marvelous tutorial.
Skies are perfect for this technique because the sky naturally shades from light blue at the horizon to a deeper blue overhead. Don’t feel stupid if you haven’t ever noticed this, I didn’t until I moved to California because in Pittsburgh there were too many hills to see the natural horizon. Or, as I put it, here “the sky goes all the way to the ground.”
But you could use needleblending in just about any range of colors to create a lovely background for needlepoint.