For those whipper-snappers who were born in the time unleaded gasoline and widespread internet, it may come as a shock to you that once-upon-a-time, there was a land where you watched TV on a huge box with antenna, you had one phone to a house with a cord attached to it and when we designed cross-stitch patterns we used things called pencils and paper.
Now all that has changed and we are fortunate to live in a world where we can ask our telephones where the nearest electric pump station is on our way home to design cross-stitch patterns on a computer!
There are even several options if you choose not to hand-design your patterns, but which is best? Well that very much depends on you and how you like to work. Today we’re going to give you a run-down of the most popular options and some of the benefits and pitfalls of each.
Many people ask what program we use for designing our patterns. Adobe Illustrator is it, but it is really only useful to people who already know how to use it. It’s very expensive and has a very, very steep learning curve so we wouldn’t recommend this to people just starting out.
Most people who own a desktop will have some form of spreadsheet software that comes with it. If not, you can use an online program like Google Sheets. These programs are typically used for working out your finances but because of the adjustable cell sizes and the ability to add as many colors as you like, it makes an easy (and free) program to use for designing your cross-stitch patterns!
If you prefer to work from a mobile device, Stitch Sketch may be for you. It is an app (currently only available on iOS) designed for people who want to make their own cross-stitch, knitting or beading charts. It has some benefits over using a more general spreadsheet program such as ready made chart symbols and the ability to turn a photo into a chart. Plus you are able to generate your own PDF’s easily.
If you prefer to work on a desktop and want all the bells and whistles of a cross-stitch design program, then look into PC Stitch or it’s Apple equivalent, Mac Stitch. If you want lots of options such as fonts, a library of patterns to add to your design plus floss color recommendations and alternative stitch options, give it a try! The downside is that it comes at a cost – $49.95 but you can try it out for free!
These are our favorite programs to use BUT if you prefer to work by hand (and to be honest, we love any excuse to pull out the coloring pencils), we provide several sheets of design paper in the DIY Stitch People book.
What do you use to design your portraits? Let us know in the comments below!