A few months ago, I started learning how to cross-stitch but was hindered slightly by the lack of non-chintzy kits out there. I started on the simple and cute designs from Mouseloft but once I wanted a bit more complexity, I was somewhat out of luck. I found a few cartoony cat ones but don’t like them much more than the full on twee ones.
Anyway, this led to John and I wondering how I could go about designing my own patterns instead – we initially thought I’d end up having to do loads of hard work in my beloved Inkscape but then I found KXStitch.
Since I run Ubuntu, it was easy (and free) to download from Synaptic and not one for going out of my way to read instructions, I just dived right in to using it.
Unlike the aforementioned Inkscape, there aren’t a bazillion different options and tools to navigate so it’s pretty easy to pick up.
So far, I’ve mostly just used the “Import Image File…” option to convert existing drawings (usually made in Inkscape) into patterns. This option has a wizard, letting you set the details about the cloth count and size, whether or not to include partial stitches and set a maximum amount of colours (linked to DMC, Anchor and Madiera thread colour charts). I’ve then hand-tweaked the scans to make them easier to sew or correct colour issues.
The printouts are great – a proper little kit pack with a cover, details of threads (codes and how much thread of each colour is required for the finished design) and a pattern to follow. The font on my first printout was too big and bold making it hard to glance at the design but I have since tweaked this and they’re very easy to follow.
When John saw me working on my first KXStitch-produced pattern (commonly known as “the vaginas one”, although I swear they’re supposed to be eyes) he commented how the stitches make it look pixelly so that inspired the Pacman one seen here. I’ve still got to do the walls – and I didn’t follow the curve for Pac perfectly so it’s a bit square – but it was very easy to make and sew (aside from the nightmare of sewing on black Aida).
While it’s not perfect (oh for an “undo” – but it’s supposed to be coming in a future version), I’d recommend KXStitch for Linuxy crafters – and to me, it’s really symbolic of the wonder of free software – there is something for just about every niche out there and it’s free in both cost and freedom. Hurrah.