For months if not years I have worked several patterns and kits. Sure enough, most have been fulfilling as made up of gorgeous colourways, interesting image designs, and challenging work charts. As final products and gifts, what I could find in crafts stores and what I could add or modify personalized the pieces. I would needle a co-worker’s sun sign onto a piece of Aida and then insert the piece into a clear plastic frame with a magnet on the back so she could hang it on the fridge. Or I would find, if I could, a pattern or kit with a friend’s favourite flower, and make a lovely wall hanging when the embroidery was completed.
But often, I found something missing: I couldn’t find an image for a collector of obelisks. I couldn’t locate, no matter how many hours I searched, a pattern for my mother’s favourite painting. And I couldn’t afford to commission one of the brilliant designers who transfers or translates images onto a canvas or work chart.
All the while, I thought how great it would be to put my hands on any image and be able to instantly translate that image into an embroidery pattern. Aha. I finally discovered embroidery design software (though it has of course been around for years—all those years I was wanting it).
I found at my local crafts store the Pattern Maker™ for cross-stitch. You may find another brand and make you like better. But here is what I believe makes my choice so ideal, what a good piece of embroidery design software (or embroidery design CD ROM) should offer.
The Embroidery Design Software Help Guide
With this feature, you get help with the essentials—using the mouse, working with the window layout, manipulating your pattern files, and negotiating viewing options such as enlarging or reducing the pattern and choosing stitch view, solid view, or symbol view for your legend. One of the best things about Pattern Maker for me is how you can enlarge it if you have weaker eyesight, can enlarge it for a bigger canvas, and can use the format for your work chart that you like best. (I like the symbols, of which there are thousands, so you never run out no matter how many colours or colourways your image calls for.)
The Embroidery Design Software Walkthrough
With this component, you can move step-by-step through the process of creating your own original design—be it actually manually designing a pattern or converting a favourite scanned image to a pattern. If you are anything like me, of course, you will spend more time on creating patterns than on using them: I have in my queue lilacs, mermaids, an obelisk with scenery, several abstracts, and many more I am excited to someday actually needle.
The Embroidery Design Software Features
The Pattern Maker embroidery design CD ROM does more than merely transfer an image and provide a legend and work chart. It provides several features I have yet to get to, such as (but not limited to) the following:
- CREATING and EDITING FEATURESDrawing and erasing stitches, French knots, and beads
- FABRIC FEATURESSuggestions and a system for deciding fabric sizes, colours, and types, as well as grid options for all of the aforementioned
- PALETTE FEATURESA generous archive of floss matches and most-used brands (DMC, etc.), stitch-highlighting functions, and stitch-to-colour configuration tools
- PRINTING FEATURESInstructions on printing, previewing, and working the page set-up allow you to create any size pattern on any number of carefully coded pages (each page indicates at the margins which other pages it should be attached to—to created one mural-sized pattern)
IMPORTING and EXPORTING FEATURES
MACHINE EMBROIDERY FEATURES
CROSS-STITCH LIBRARY FEATURES
Even troubleshooting makes up a healthy section of this intuitive embroidery design software package, which along with all of the above is clearly explained, easily accessed, and supportive of your limitless creativity!
Now if you will excuse me, I am getting back to that wall-sized tapestry of mermaids I am designing for a project I will likely be working on when I’m in my wheelchair forty years from now.