Archive | August, 2012

Designing Cross Stitch Patterns

This week I have been trying my hand at the designing end of things.  I tried several programs before deciding that, unfortunately, the best piece of software was the most expensive one.

The first program I tried was MacStitch by Ursa Software.  It was an obvious choice because it’s basically the only cross stitch software available for Mac.  It was decent, and did a good job converting photographs to stitches, but I found it really annoying to navigate around a large pattern. It was slow and clumsy in that aspect.

With the failure of the one Mac program, I had to boot up VMWare and try out some Windows programs.  The first one I tried was the one that I think is the most popular, PCStitch.  I didn’t get far with that one because it did a really bad job of converting my photo into a pattern.  The other popular one is HobbyWare’s Pattern Maker, but they did not have a demo compatible with Windows 7 (!), so they were eliminated too.

Next, I tried Stoik Stitch Creator.  I was actually really happy with this program.  It did a good job of converting my photograph and was easy to navigate.  My favorite feature was the ability to remove a selected color from the palette and have the program automatically fill in those stitches from other threads in the palette.  In the other programs, you have to manually substitute.  I was getting really excited about this one (and it’s pretty cheap!) until I came to the exporting stage.  I was able to export a symbol chart and a key, but every attempt to export a color preview of the stitched product resulted in lots of strange colors and black squares saved to my pdf or jpg.  The best I could do was take a screenshot of the working screen, but this was really inadequate.  Disappointing, Stoik!

Finally, I gave in and tried the most expensive software package, Cross Stitch Professional Platinum by DP Software, and yes, this one did everything I needed to do, and well (although it  does lack my favorite feature from Stitch Creator).  I had to buy it to get it to export anything, but hey, at least I’m getting good quality patterns!

Here is my most recent creation in Cross Stitch Professional Platinum Plus (say that 10 times fast), a portrait of Lilo as a puppy resting next to a hockey puck.

You can find this and other completed patterns in the new section of my Etsy shop.

Progress on the Ducklings

I’ve finished all of the main stitching on the Ducklings project.  Now I just need to do the detail stitching and outlining.  I got better at working with the canvas fabric as I went along, but I still prefer Aida.  I also definitely prefer working with a frame over working with a hoop.  Constantly having to move the hoop to a new area is a pain.