Designing Cross Stitch Patterns

Many cross stitchers addicted to stitching can become just as obsessed with designing their own patterns. With practice you can create unique charts that not only you enjoy stitching yourself, but can also share with other stitchers.

Designing Patterns on Graph Paper

If you want to design a simple chart, you can do it manually using graph paper and colored pencils. First, look for reference photos for your pattern. Keep a working file of any pictures that could be used for a pattern. For example, save postcards, greeting cards, etc.

Sketch your design: After sketching out your design on plain paper, trace it onto tracing paper. Then, using carbon transfer paper, transfer it to graph paper. Compare the size of your graph paper to your Aida stitching cloth. For example, if your graph paper has 10 square per inch and your cloth is 14 count, realize the finished needlework will be somewhat smaller than your drawing. If you want your graph paper to match your fabric, check with your local needlework store to see if they sell cross stitch graph paper or buy it online.
Block in your design – On another graph paper block in your stitches with the appropriate colors (using colored pencils). For full stitches, block in the entire square, while half stitches are half-squares (triangles, facing the direction of the intended half-stitch.)

Cross Stitch Software

For more complicated designs, use cross stitch software. For more than the past decade stitchers have been getting help designing charts using cross stitch software programs. By simply drawing a design on a computer screen (using your mouse, of course) you can create a creative design as if you were using graph paper. Most programs offer a wide range of colors in at least two-three different embroidery floss brands (such as DMC, JP Coats, and Anchor.)

Don’t worry if you lack artistic skills because cross stitch software includes photo-to-chart features where you can import any picture into a pattern in minutes. What’s more, you can control the size of the pattern, as well as remove unnecessary background. However, to get a quality design, you need to perform several functions to refine it. In other words, you don’t just import a photo and presto, you have a picture ready to stitch.

Tips for Converting Photos into Charts

Select quality photos – Choose only high quality photos that do not have shadows. It’s also best to select photos with little or not background if you’re designing a portrait of someone. It’s not so much the size of the photo, but how clear and focused it is, as snapshots as small as 3″ x 4″ have produced high quality designs.

Reduce the number of colors – Before even importing your design, limit the number of colors.
Fine tune – As the computer picks up stray colors, you need to “doctor up” the design, removing stray colors, etc. Omit background – Unless you want to stitch a lot of background, you’re better off eliminating a lot (if not all) of the background. Omit any unneeded colors, as well as those with small numbers. Most programs have a “floss usage” tab where you can see how many stitches for each color. For example, if a color uses as few as one to ten colors, you probably need to delete it unless it’s needed. Just make sure to replace the vacant squares.

Once you’ve designed your first cross stitch pattern you’ll want to create more. Creating your own patterns can become as addictive as stitching.

Originally published on Suite 101.

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *