Charting a digitized image

by Jim Wild
(Penticton, British Columbia)

I am working on a design to be done in wool on 12 count Penelope canvas. I found the picture on the internet, it is of a famous icon in the monastery of St Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula.

I picked this version (there are hundreds on the net) because the colours are more vibrant and the resolution of the image is high (851x1600) pixels. I don't think any copyright issues arise because I am only using it for my own personal use.

I am using Cross Stitch Pro to create the chart. I set it to match to Paternayan wool colours and reduce the size to 202x380. When I give it its head and let it digitize freely, I get a design in 152 Paternayan colours, which is way too many. So I am now limiting the number of colours to somewhere between 36 and 48.

When I look at the resulting design, there are a few things that I retouch: an anomalous light blus patch in the bottom left corner and a bit around the hand which is holding the book to make the fingers distinct from the book pages.

As I look at the distribution of each colour in the chart I usually notice quite a few outliers, single stitches far away from others of the same colour.

My questions are:

1) what is the optimum number of colours to use, in your opinion?
2) does it make sense to spend time de-speckling the design or does it pay off to follow those details?
3) I will use gold blending filament with the wool in the halo and white filament with DMC cotton in the eyes. The program digitizes two layers, one at 12 stitches per inch and the other at 24 so you can have sections of petit point which is what I will use for the eyes. Should the filament be stitched in with the thread or stitched over after the thread so it always lies on top?
4) Do you have any other advice for me? This is my first project like this.


Jim Wild

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My suggestions
by: Carol

Thank you for your submission, Jim.

First, I had to remove the image from your submission as using it on the site would have been a breach of copyright, Jim. However, stitching it for yourself should be fine. I will address each of your questions below.

1. I quite agree that if you allow the program to pick the number of colours it does go rather overboard! It is definitely better to reduce the colours to a manageable amount. Each design will have an optimum number, and it isn’t really possible for me to give you an accurate idea. However your suggestion of around 30-50 would likely be in the ballpark.

2. I would recommend removing individual stitches in a colour that is far from others of the same shade. I did convert a wolf photograph into cross stitch in the past and on that occasion I left the "spots" in place when it was stitched. If you can stand far enough away they do blend in and give the photographic effect, but from closer it just looks dotty. I guess it depends on how large the room is where it will be hanged.

3. When using blending filament you can do either. When using strange cotton I would thread both the filament and the cotton in the needle together. However, for wool projects I would likely stitch the filament over the top.

4 I wish you all the best with your project Jim.



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