If you subscribe to the DMC newsletter or happened to visit their website recently you will have seen their announcement of a new “Snap & Stitch” image to pattern conversion service.
Like most online services it promises to convert your image into a custom chart with the added bonus that you can get the chart for free if you buy $5 of thread supplies. The normal pattern-only price is $10 USD with a special introductory price of $5 USD.
So how does it work and should you use it? We’ll try and provide an unbiased review and cover the similarities and differences with other online conversion services including our own.
Adding a cross stitch motif is a fun way to personalize a garment, and is especially fun if you have kids and would like to add a cute character to an otherwise boring plain t-shirt. In order to cross stitch onto a piece of regular fabric you would use a piece of “waste canvas”.
Waste canvas is an aida type of fabric made from woven threads which are heavily starched to hold them in place, you attach the waste canvas over the fabric of the garment to use as a guide so that your stitching is even and consistent.
Here I’m going to stitch a small design onto a child’s t-shirt using 14 count waste canvas. The design is a pattern from “World of Cross Stitching” magazine, issue 258.
I was always a die-hard hoop stitcher but recently starting using Q-snap’s and am now completely converted! Q-snap covers or “Grime Guards” as many people call them are useful for protecting and keeping your fabric clean while working on a project and also holding the excess fabric on a larger project out of the way. I recently bought one that was Q-snap’s own brand and although it works it was a little too snug and so did not hold the excess fabric easily so I decided to try making my own while I was visiting my mum (and her sewing machine!). They are actually very easy to make as it is only a seam and two long hems.
This is the Q-snap brand of cover for an 11 x 11 frame - as you can see it just fits and doesn’t really have any allowance to hold much excess fabric.
We started this blog just 8 months ago in April this year initially as simply a place to share information about cross-stitching and as a resource for people to learn from. Since then it has quickly turned into a much bigger project than we ever imagined or originally envisaged with the design and launch of our online pattern maker to make it quick and easy to create your own high quality charts from your images at a reasonable price.
Most people learn to start stitching by anchoring and burying the tail of the thread under the stitches as they go, the loop start is an alternative way to secure your floss as you begin stitching and is particularly useful if you are stitching in a confetti heavy area as it reduces the bulk on the back that can otherwise build up if anchoring numerous starts with multiple color-changes in the traditional way.
Although the image of cross-stitching may be one of “home needlework” and thrift, it can quickly become an expensive hobby (especially for us “serial starters”) so it is always good to discover another way to make your crafting budget go a little further. DMC is an established company that has quality product and it has also over time become standard in the market with regards to chart designers and kits - pretty much every pattern uses the codes and colors that they define. However it is becoming more and more pricey kitting up a large full-coverage chart, especially if you are in Europe or Australia and many people are not aware that there are other options out there. One increasingly popular option is CXC branded floss that is made in China.
There seems to be a lot of curiosity along with no small amount of scaremongering and misinformation on Facebook groups regarding CXC and other cheaper brands, coincidentally though this often seems to originate from groups associated with stores that sell DMC based kits ! hmmm. However, the people who actually just stitch really seem to love CXC and highly recommend it, so when you hear someone claiming it is not a quality thread, not color-fast or any other “reason” make sure you are aware of their possible motivations. This is a common tactic within the IT industry to spread “FUD” about competitors to put people off using them - fear, uncertainty and doubt, stick with what you know … keep paying us.
But let me be clear, this article is in no way meant to discourage people from using DMC, at the end of the day it is all personal choice and many people will prefer to stick with a tried trusted company such as DMC or Anchor and they are very accessible with distribution channels through many large-name and local stores but it is always good to consider your options and have the extra information especially when on a budget or kitting up a large project. After all, few of us can really ignore what could be a difference of $20 vs $220 to purchase the floss alone for a single project!
Here I am going to do a comparison of a few brands and a review of my first experience stitching with CXC compared to DMC and I will also document washing a sample show that they are indeed also color-fast
Have you ever wondered exactly what is happening when you convert an image into a cross stitch pattern? It’s a lot more complicated than you might think and one of the easiest pieces to get wrong is figuring out which colors are the best match. Here’s what we learned from developing our own image to cross stitch converter app.
Whatever size or style of cross-stitch pattern you do, it represents a cost in the form of equipment, material and threads as well as time and effort. For smaller samplers it’s usually very clear what the final piece will look like so there is little chance of surprises and often the promotional image may be of an already completed piece.
samplers rarely look different to their previews so aren’t an issue
As we move toward larger, full-coverage patterns though this becomes a little impractical. It often takes just minutes for an operator to create a cross-stitch pattern from a photo or artwork image but that pattern could take years to actually stitch. It wouldn’t be practical or cost effective to expect every pattern to be stitched before it was sold, so instead we have to rely on the mockup or preview image to see what the final result looks like.
Unfortunately, these can sometimes be misleading usually showing a “better” result than you will actually get which is disappointing considering you may spend $ hundreds on materials and years working on them. A cross stitch pattern isn’t like a jigsaw where an original photo on the box is appropriate.
Shouldn’t pattern previews be WYSIWYG - What You See Is What You Get?
Oh no your stitching bug has decided it needs a vacation! It happens to all of us from time to time for various reasons, small kids to look after which tire you out and don’t allow much “me” time, boredom or frustration with your current project, depression, illness or simply life getting in the way so you don’t have the time.
It can be quite frustrating to be making good progress and then suddenly lose interest in a project, especially if you are working on something with a deadline and you just cannot motivate yourself to work on it.
Here we will offer some tips to try and reignite your interest in your projects…
I have been stitching since I was about 16. I don’t seem to have my very first cross-stitch piece anymore maybe my parents do, but it was one of those free gifts you get with cross-stitching magazines, a little kit of a duck and I don’t think I finished the back-stitching, starting as I meant to go on! This article will show some of my early cross-stitching and finishes from purchased kits, I’ve included details where I could but some a very old and I can’t remember the brands or names…