First time cross stitch pattern
May 19, 2024 1:16 PM   Subscribe

I haven’t touched cross stitch since I was in sixth grade. I would like to make and cross stitch a polyp*. Questions below.

I would like to cross stitch the polyp from Sex Life of the Polyp for an album cover. I have some experience with cross stitch but haven’t done it in 30+ years. My questions are:
• Would this be a realistic first pattern for a beginner?
• How would I make a pattern? (I think I would like to try making an iron-on, since that’s how I made cross stitch samplers.)
• If I were to put this on charcoal gray cross stitch canvas, what should I be aware of before I start?
posted by pxe2000 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't cross-stitched in awhile, but the last project I attempted was making my own pattern. To me, the edges of the polyp look really fussy for a first attempt at pattern-making. Although I'm coming from counted cross-stitch, so maybe this wouldn't be quite so challenging with an iron-on? But my gut reaction is that this is a project that would benefit from a fair bit of motivation, time, and patience for trial and error. So if you need it quickly, DIY might not be your best bet.
posted by EvaDestruction at 3:46 PM on May 19

I would do it as an appliqué or chain stitch embroidery because it’s monochrome with curvy edges which chain stitch is perfect for, ditto applique. There are lots of photo to cross stitch pattern converters that you can try with - fiddle with the number of colours to get some shading and size to see if you can get something reasonable before you stitch. I use Stitchfiddle for charting which is very popular and the premium version is about $5 a month.

Buy pre gridded fabric if you’re doing a counted pattern.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 4:07 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]

I've been cross stitching for decades and I haven't heard of ironing on the pattern, so I learned something new! I think this is relatively uncommon now, especially in the days of endless patterns from designers on etsy. Almost all custom patterns are counted.

In general, cross-stitch gives a blocky, 8-bit look unless you're stitching on very small thread count. If that blocky look is the goal here, I think you can achieve especially if you aren't particular about a very faithful rendering of the nooks and crannies of the thing. Agree that you can try a converter and see if you're happy with the output.

Aida is the typical fabric used for cross stitch, and the grid comes from the weave of the fabric. You don't buy cross stitch fabric with any kind of printed grid.
posted by jeoc at 4:30 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]

I did my own custom pattern by buying transparent graph paper (with a pretty small grid size) overlaying it on the image I was copying, tracing, then counting. I’ve done it on Aida fabric but I also did one on tear away waste canvas.

I did a map of New England and it was great but I got really bored with Maine and never finished. I keep meaning to go back to it.
posted by vunder at 5:12 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]

With Stitch Fiddle, you can upload the image and it will turn it into a pattern for you. You can select how small the "pixels" are and see what would work with the fabric you want to use.
posted by dawkins_7 at 5:33 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]

As an avid cross stitcher, I can add to the great suggestions and recommendations above.

You'll need good lighting to work on charcoal grey fabric.

If you're using DMC thread, you need to cut a manageable length of thread and separate out the number of threads you will be using. Generally, it's best to use more threads on lower count fabric and less on higher count. For example, I use at least 2 (sometimes 3) threads on 14 count aida and 1 thread on 18 count.

Once you have your pattern, you can determine the dimensions based on fabric thread count—count equals number of stitches per inch. With 14 count aida fabric, your overall size will be larger (and your Xs more obvious) than with 16 or 18 count where the stitches will be more dense. When cutting your fabric before stitching, it's good to leave a 3 inch margin to allow for framing (i.e., if pattern dimensions are 8 x 12, your fabric should be 14 x 18).
posted by Scout405 at 6:29 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]

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