Thread Bare

Category: cross-stitch

Photo to Cross-Stitch Chart Conversion Options

Options available to make patterns from images

If you’re looking for a way to convert a photo or other image into a custom cross-stitch pattern the first thing to decide, is what software or service you’re going to use to do it.

It can seem like there are a bewildering number of different options available and it’s easy to run into the ‘paradox of choice’ where so many options make it difficult to pick one for fear of choosing the wrong one.

But don’t be put off - most really fall into just 3 main categories and we can show the pros and cons of each general approach in order to exclude some options before you try to focus on a specific product or service to use.

pattern conversion

Explore the options for image-to-pattern conversion

Photography for Cross-Stitchers

How to start with the right image

Many cross-stitchers start out with simple kits and eventually move on to full-coverage pieces but at some point decide that they would like their own totally unique and personal pattern by converting their own photograph into a cross-stitch chart.

Whether it’s a photo that captured a special moment in time, a picture of a loved one or a memento of a special pet, a custom chart created from your own image will be totally unique and bring back the treasured memories captured by it.

It’s very easy though to focus too much on the subject of such an image and not enough on the image itself but starting with a good picture is vital to getting a finished piece that you will treasure whether you are charting the image using software you have bought, using an online service to do the pattern conversion or paying someone to do it for you.

We’ll try and show you some basic ways to improve your images so that the patterns you generate from them will produce better results.

image conversion photo

Photography tips for cross-stitching

New Cross Stitch Pattern Store!

Easier navigation and faster performance

Let’s start with a confession … the previous store was, well, it was bad. We initially focused on our image-to-chart conversion app for people wanting to do custom pattern conversion and only added a handful of pre-made patterns as an afterthought. As there were only a few of them it worked fine having a single page with them all on. Categories? Who needs categories when you can see all 8 patterns at once!

But as we added more and more patterns, the store part got slower and s-l-o-w-e-r and s…l…o…w…e…r. Frankly, it was a bit of an embarrassment so we didn’t really promote it much even though we have some really great patterns in there and some kick-ass features such as the real mockup previews.

Now we’ve finally got round to doing a revamp to improve it. Check out our new cross-stitch pattern store and let us know what you think!


features of our new cross-stitch pattern store

Tips for Successful Stitching While Travelling

Making best use of travel time to stitch

For many of us, travelling can be the perfect excuse to spend some solid time on our stitching but it needs to be practical and doable. You also need to ensure you are not going to run into a problem with airport security if you are flying or have any other disasters such as losing equipment or materials or the entire project!

Top tips for stitching while travelling

Cross-Stitch Completion Time Estimator

Reality check before you start a project

tools utilities calculators

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Cross-Stitch Skein Estimator

Estimate how many skeins to buy

tools utilities calculators

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The Thread Parking Method of Cross-Stitching

How to keep a tidy back to your piece

So after hanging around cross-stitching groups for a while I have decided “parking” is like marmite or vegemite - you either love it or you hate it! Personally I do not park my threads but I can definitely see the benefit of it, especially on a large-scale, full-coverage project.

So what is thread parking and is it for you? We will look at some of the benefits and methods for parking and you can decide whether you want to try it or not.

technique stitching tutorial

Learn Cross-Stitch Thread Parking

Review of DMC Snap & Stitch Chart Conversion Service

What it is, how it works and if you should use it

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.

DMC Snap & Stitch Photo to Pattern Conversion

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.

dmc conversion chart pattern image photo

Review of DMC Snap & Stitch Conversion Service

How to Cross Stitch onto a Garment

Using Waste-Canvas

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.

waste canvas stitched


Learn how to use waste canvas to personalize a garment

How to Make a Grime Guard

Tutorial on how to make a grime guard for use with your Q-snap

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.

Q-snap cover

tutorial q-snap

Learn how to make your own Q-snap grime-guard