Updated July 28, 2023.
Buildings are a common element in needlepoint and buildings come with windows. For me, windows are often the most difficult part of the building to get right. Pick the wrong color or stitch, and it looks as if there are holes instead of glass. Pick the wrong stitch and the window becomes more of a focal point.
If the windows are very small, just a few stitches (as is the case in my chart Home for the Holidays, pictured above), stitch them in Tent Stitch in either a light gray (if it’s day) or a dark gray or dark blue (if it’s night). White will look too harsh and makes even the smallest windows look like holes. Black tends to make the house look haunted, which is fine for a Halloween canvas, but not good at other times.
There are many charming needlepoint pieces with windows, sometimes with a window or door as a focal point, other times with one or more buildings,
One way to fully stitch windows, is to use pearl cotton or floss, generally in some form of Satin Stitch. Good colors to use are light gray, dark gray, or yellow (if the window is lit). The longer stitches make the window look glassy since the thread preserves its shine. The gray colors make them less “on your face,” so they stay in keeping with the rest of the design.
This approach is perfect when the canvas is covered. Since I’m often working with more open stitches, I like an approach that uses more open stitches and thinner threads.
The first time I tried this technique was in a class from Caela Conn Tyler. We used a single ply of dark gray floss and Skip Tent (pictured above). The end result is a window pane which is clearly there but still has the open look as if you could see through it.
Since then, I’ve tried this using very thin metallics in either yellow (for lit windows), light blue )for windows reflecting the sun), or gunmetal (for dark windows), in either Very Fine (#4) Kreinik or Treasure Braid Petite.
Not that it is a surprise, but if I want it to look more like a window, I also use T Stitch.