Amazing what you come across when you update files. This is a draft that has been sitting here for a couple of *years* now, unpublished. With so many stitchers asking about doing their own chart conversions, this is probably even more relevant now.
A couple of years back, I was working with a group on making a special request quilt for somebody in Michigan. Usually, it is no issue. I find the image I like, I import it, clean it up, and then stitch. We were packing to move at the time, and my time was tight. That little light bulb in my head went off… I bet I can find the chart I want if I search. Sure enough I did. The image on the seller’s website looked perfect, exactly what I wanted. The size of the chart was a little small, but I could live with it. I bought the chart, downloaded the file.. and died.
This seller had merely taken the image and gone to a free digital conversion site called Pic2Pat and gone through their process. How do I know? That site logo was on the chart I had just paid for!! There was no stitch count, no center marks. What should have been a one or two color chart somehow turned into a 26 color monstrosity. Here’s a tiny section of the chart:
I am sure you all heard me scream. This should have been so straightforward because the design has such clean lines. Now, I am not blaming the seller. With sites like Pic2Pat, you can convert anything quickly and easily. I seriously doubt the site is meant for anything other than personal conversions. Here’s the same area from the black and white chart the seller included:
Pretty messy, and certainly nothing I would want to stitch from or send on for a charity quilt. So, I found the image I wanted to stitch, stripped out the background and narrowed the colors down to 2 so that I had nice clean lines. Then I went and looked up the correct colors for this. All in all, I spent a good hour doing this one. Here’s a section of my chart:
Mine does have grid lines and will be nice and easy to work from. The lines are clean. I did end up adding backstitching in the same color just to finish it off.
I did make some classic mistakes when I bought this chart. First off, most of the shopping platforms allow you to have more than one photo. When I put up my charts, I do include a segment of the chart so that people can see what they are going to be stitching from. Second, there was no picture of a completed piece. This is crucial to me. It means a stitcher has actually worked from that chart and finished it. Scary, but as I look through Etsy for new designs, I see more and more of this kind of work.
It isn’t that hard to make a quality chart from a picture. You can use free services like the Pic2Pat mentioned above. PC Stitch also has an import function, and DMC has a photo conversion package. But even nicer is the service from Simon over at Thread Bare. You can use his software for free, or engage his services for a very low fee. It does take time and skill to make it come out looking just the way you want it.
Until next time, Happy Stitching!