Adapting Stained Glass to Needlepoint
In this needlepoint instruction, you’ll learn how easy it is to adapt stained glass patterns to needlepoint. Not only are these patterns perfect to adapt, available in all kinds of styles; they are easy to find and inexpensive.
I’ve been stitching needlepoint from stained glass patterns for over 35 years and I never tire of this rich source of design.
In general, the patterns which work best for needlepoint are patterns for stained glass of the type often seen in homes, both new and old. These use pieces of glass, cut into shapes and joined together with strips of lead to make a pane for a window.
They were popular decorations in homes during the 19th and early 20th century.After that it fell out of popularity until it was revived in the 70’s. It continues to be popular today.
My favorite source of stained glass patterns is Dover’s pattern series. These books have copyright-free drawings in many styles. You can find renderings of actual glass patterns as well as new designs in almost every style.
If you want patterns that are not widow shapes, look for their books of suncatcher designs.
Another source is Glass Patterns Quarterly. This magazine has full size patterns included in it for all kinds of projects, small and large. It also has lovely and inspiring pictures of finished glass.
This site, Warner Stained Glass, has over 1200 lovely free patterns. Click on a subject then on a picture to get a pattern to print out. This Canadian site has about 50 patterns in various styles.
Finally, look for stained glass patterns on Pinterest.
Adapting the Pattern
The needlepoint instruction to adapt the pattern is simple. Begin by placing your pattern under the blank canvas. Line it up so the straight lines are along threads of the canvas.
Using a permanent marker made for making fabric, trace the pattern onto the canvas. You can use dark lines for this, since these lines will be covered by the “leading.”
Once the design is traced, you can begin to stitch. Although adding the leading is a late step in making the glass, it is the first step in stitching it. Find a dark gray thread. I often use Kreinik braid in 010HL or 011HL which are very dark gray.
Stitch all the outlines using Continental Stitch. This defines the areas for stitching.
Once the outline is complete, pick your colors and stitches for each of the areas and stitch away.
If you want the look of Tiffany or “art” glass, you will want to use hand-dyed or overdyed thread and a technique I called clumping for the way the areas in the original art glass look.
This technique creates irregular blobs of color which look like this type of glass. You can learn all about it in this needlepoint instruction.
The sample picture shows this background in progress. The left side is completely stitched, while the right side is in progress. In person, the effect is very subtle. The background on the magnolia sohws a completed piece with this type of background.