Friday, April 17, 2015

Designing with software

Over the last year I am been working on using some software to assist me in designing some cross-stitch patterns. I do say assist because I just don't let the software do the work and then I stitch it. For me there are a number of other things that I do with the image and the pattern that the software generates.

  • When it comes to the image I made sure that the colours are bright enough so that the software can see the different colours otherwise everything is going to be one colour when there should be lots of colours.
  • Is the background something that is easy to remove or am I going to be spending hours and hours trying to remove it.
  • Is the image something that could be easily translated into cross-stitch. Yes you can convert any image into a pattern but is it something that is going to be enjoyable to stitch.

Once I have made these decisions and am going to use a selected image I then convert it and then the work with the actual pattern begins.

  • Before even getting the image into the software there are a couple of decisions that need to be made. What size do I want the image to be when it is stitched and on what stitch count for the fabric. The size is going to be the basic size when it is stitched so I don't want the images to be huge otherwise no one will stitch it.
  • Once the pattern has been generated I still spend a lot of time on the actual pattern.
    • First – work on removing the background if I wasn't able to do that before the pattern was generated and sharpen the blending on the edges of the actual design.
    • Second – how many colours of floss are used when the pattern is generated and it is realistic. If the colour number is too large I then start working to reduce the colours and make it a little easier and enjoyable to stitch.
    • Third – how many stitches use each colour of floss. I am one of those that if I don't have to purchase a skein a floss for just a few stitches I am very happy. The first colours I try and change are for colours with less than 10 stitches on a standard size pattern. The only time I will keep a colour with under 10 stitches is if they are key to the design.
    • Fourth – start looking at the colours again and see if they can be reduced a little bit more so that single stitches aren't all over the pattern.
    • Fifth – print out the pattern so that I can sit back and look at it and how much floss it is going to take to do the design.

Items read y for stitching
Once the pattern has been revised to what I think I will actually stitch I then get out the collection of floss and start kitting the design so that it is ready for stitching. For me the kitting involves using index cards and putting some of each colour onto the cards so that I can stitch quickly. The other part of the kitting is putting all the floss colours onto a ring so that I have just those colours I think I will need available. All of this including the fabric go into a zipped bag so that it is ready for when I can actually start the stitching.

  • Work on stitching the piece and check for changes that need to be made on the actual pattern and make them on the working copy.
  • Take pictures after each stitching time to track progress on image as this assists in making sure colours look good.

Piece being stitched and pattern modified
After piece is stitched
  • Go back to the generated pattern and make the changes to the pattern that were noted during the actual stitching.

So yes it may sound like getting some software can be easy for working with an image but there are still a lot of things that need to be considered.

Now before you think you can just stitch and sell patterns of anything you need to remember copyright laws and intellectual property. If the image is something you took great than you own it if it is someone else's work you need to get their permission to use it. Remember, even if you do get permission that permission can be revoked at any time and if that happens just move onto your next project. Places, planes and certain images can still be something you cannot stitch and sell even if you took the picture yourself.

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