Knitting again

Maybe it’s the increasingly chilly weather, but I’ve been in a knitting kind of mood lately.  Which is good, because there are some things that need to be knit!

I’ve bought the yarn for Kevin’s birthday present, so that needs to be started and finished before December 3.  I’ll post more info about that one and pics after his birthday, so he doesn’t get any sneak peeks.

Also I got a request on Etsy for another Gryffindor bookscarf like this one:

So I’ve started working on that, which also made me remember that the yarn i’ve been using for the bookscarves (Nature Spun sport) is really not ideal; I use it because I always have some left over from making the Hogwarts socks, but it’s a little too thick and too fuzzy for bookmarks.  So I got on Knitpicks and ordered some cotton/acrylic fingering weight yarn, which I think will be much better for future bookscarves.

And of course, there are always those other unfinished knitting projects waiting to be worked on… I have a pair of socks and a scarf lying around somewhere that I should pick up at some point.

Completed project by customer

I got a message today from Etsy from someone who bought one of my Doctor Who patterns back in September, and he gave me a picture of his finished project! I think it came out really well, so I’m posting it here.  Credit for stitching goes to Robert Hutchinson.

Anyone else out there who’s stitching my patterns, I’d love to see pictures, both in-progress and completed!

Free Patterns

In honor of this new web store opening, I am offering some of my cross stitch patterns as FREE downloads.  You can see them all here:

http://purplestitching.com/shop/product-tag/free/

Just add the PDF File pattern type to your cart; if your cart total is $0, you won’t have to input any kind of payment information when you check out.  After you finish the check out process, you’ll receive an order confirmation via email that includes the link to download your completely free cross stitch pattern!

Big Changes

Big changes happening here at purplestitching.com.  First off, I’ve moved from being a little blog hosted at wordpress.com to a full-fledged self-hosted website on GoDaddy.  This gives me sooooo much more flexibility in designing my site.

And speaking of that flexibility… you may have noticed that the site looks completely different! I’m working on turning it into a complete webstore for all the cross stitch patterns and charts I’ve made, with the blog just as one page in that site.  I’d like have a way to sell my stuff other than Etsy, because Etsy has listing fees and other restrictions and it’s just nice to have some flexibility.  For instance, I can now create a single product for each pattern – and then have three “variations” on it to account for the differences between PDF download, printed pattern, and kit.  Much better than having three nearly identical listings just to get the difference in prices and shipping.

Anyway, definitely stop by periodically to see how the setup of my new shop progresses! I don’t expect to start getting sales here too soon, as it will take time to get indexed by Google and all that good stuff, but I’m excited to see where this goes.

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.