Making a Counted Cross-Stitch Pattern

I make patterns mostly for home decor. Smaller patterns may be used for embroidery of apparel and baby clothes, embroidered inserts for jewelry boxes. Larger patterns may be used for wall decor, wood trays and cabinet doors. The magic of embroidery helps to bring new life to old stools and chairs, lamp shades and pillow covers.

Original Image Most often I use a software program like Cross Stitch Pattern Maker or PC Stitch to make a pattern out of an image. I spend some time tuning that image in PhotoShop to satisfy my needs. With PhotoShop I may add or delete some details, change size, hue, saturation, and contrast of the chosen image. Unlike many other pattern makers I spent time reducing unnecessary colors and eliminate standing alone pixels. Patterns processed in that way take from five to twenty times less time to stitch. And the process of stitching does not require that many times of changing the thread in your needle. Sometimes I do not use a base image for a pattern, I create that image (draw it) directly in the program using as many colors of thread as I wish for the pattern. Usually I work this way with smaller patterns. Lets create a 70 stitches by 60 stitches pattern of the bellflowers.

Original Image The second picture shows an examples of a pattern, created by software without any postprocessing. It uses 45 DMC thread colors. For such a small pattern this is too many colors. I also not fond of the bright green color that make background look noisy. I would like the flowers to stand out more and have a little more contrast.

My aim for this design is to reduce the amount of colors to less than 20 colors and clean out lonely stitches. I check every color in the pallete chosen by the program and decide which colors I can eliminate and substitute with another color from the palette. Then I change one by one all the lonely pixels. I also add some shades and details to the image that got lost in the process of transformation by used software. Original Image To the bellflowers pattern I also added several stitches in light color for the center parts of the flowers. The program decided not to keep this color because only about 10 stitches used it. So I had to add the new color to the palette. The resulting pattern uses 18 DMC colors. It shown on the last picture.
The two patterns might not look similar on the screen, but it is so much easier and faster to complete the embroidery piece using the second one because it uses only 18 colors versus 45 colors of the raw pattern. To download the Bellflower pattern for free please click here.

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