A little history one how we got started and who we are.
- Who are you?
We're a husband and wife team currently living in Calgary Alberta (Canada) but originally from the North of England and Wales in the UK. Mrs Thread-Bare has been cross-stitching for about 30 years and Mr Thread-Bare is a software developer. We think we have a great mix of skills to innovate in the cross-stitching ecosystem.
- Why did you start Thread-Bare?
By accident really! Mrs Thread-Bare wanted to convert a photo into a custom cross-stitch pattern so she bought an installable PC app but found it difficult to use. Mr Thread-Bare was walking past and laughed at the app saying he could tell it was built using ye-olde technology based on the UI components it used that he remembered using 20 years ago., and that he could write something better. Mrs Thread-Bare laughed and said "don't be stupid!" so ... challenge accepted!
That week-end Mr Thread-Bare created a basic functioning web app that ran in a browser so didn't need anything to be downloaded and installed and could run on all platforms. Because web technology has advanced so much in recent years, it ran faster than the PC app and provided immediate feedback as you made changes to the settings.
The most surprising thing was that the results looked better than what the purchased software had produced, and the expensive, supposedly "premiere" patterns, that Mrs Thread-Bare had purchased, which immediately made us think that this could be something worth pursuing. The more we looked into the ecosystem the more we realized that it was rather stagnated, with outdated practices and little innovation - people were essentially using the same apps and same approach as they were 20 years earlier, the whole process of creating patterns was guarded and secretive with a lot of misinformation being spread and customers often being overcharged as a result. Even worse, many of the patterns were sub-standard with obvious palette and color matching issues. Something needed to change.
So we set out to do something about it - to build better conversion tools, to explain how the process of converting an image into a pattern works, to help people produce better patterns and to give customers a better deal. We quickly realized that despite the high prices being charged for patterns, the artists behind the work were getting a raw deal, often being paid a small fraction of the final sale price. By investing in cloud technology and innovation we believe we can reduce the price end-users have to pay AND pay more to artists at the same time, while delivering a much higher quality product. Win, win, win (unless you take a cut of artists revenue and have become lazy and comfortable selling sub-standard patterns).
So here we are …
- How can you create patterns if you don't stitch?
Well first of all "we" do stitch ... Mrs Thread-Bare has over 30 years experience. But the real claim is that a developer can't possibly develop software unless they are an expert in the field that it's targetting. This is blatantly idiotic as anyone who has ever been involved with any kind of software project can tell you.
The way software development works is that you have "domain experts" or "subject-matter experts", who bring their know-how and experience and the developer combines this with their own technical expertise to create software. We could easily reverse it, and ask how anyone can possibly produce patterns without knowing how software is written ... it's silly, right?
We've learned a lot while developing our software - more than most developers know about color-spaces, color-matching, image processing and yes, cross-stitching. We've put a lot of effort into making sure our PDF patterns are the clearest and most logically layout out they can be, to prevent soul-destroying situations caused by badly formatted charts (learned from experience).
The people who have been critical of us are the people selling those badly formatted charts, who lack the skills to be able to improve them. When they have issues with their color palette, they lack the expertise needed to properly fix it, chosing instead to re-issue entire charts with no regard for people who may be part way through one of their creations, and now face years of wasted effort.