Cross stitch software makes it easy(er)

I am often asked "Do you use counted cross stitch software to design your kits?" Or "Will your computer convert a photo to cross stitch?"

Whereas most programs do have a feature to automatically convert photos, that is not necessarily the best method of cross stitch chart creation.

However, I do now use a computer to speed up the process of creating my own designs.

My early days of designing

Back in the early 1990's I started playing around with designing my own patterns. I used cross stitch graph paper and coloured pencils along with plenty of glue sticks!

One of my projects was to design commemorative samplers for friends. Each motif was drawn onto squared paper, then cut out, and pasted onto a larger sheet of paper. This cut and paste job was time consuming, messy and sticky!

Next, I designed some small cross stitch motifs and submitted them to a major UK needlework magazine. They were accepted and I was lucky enough to be asked to design for them on a regular basis.


My introduction to computers

In order to look professional I suggested to my husband that we bought an electric typewriter.

He thought a computer would make more sense and offered to buy me one. I have to admit that back then, the thoughts of using a computer frightened me, but he agreed that if I really didn't get on with it, he would swap it for a typewriter after 3 weeks.

So what happened three weeks later? He would have had to chop off my hand to make me let go of the computer!

Soon after that I discovered my first DOS cross stitch software. It enabled me to print the charts that I sent to the magazine so they were neat and easy to read. No more scruffy hand-drawn charts with parts of the paper almost worn away where I had erased mistakes.

I soon learned that the benefits of designing cross stitch (and later blackwork) on the computer were many.

The next step was a bigger and better computer (why is the one we have never good enough?) and I looked around for a Windows program.

By this time we also had the internet and I downloaded and tried all the cross stitch pattern makers I could find. I eventually settled on the most expensive program I could find, after all if it cost a lot it must be good eh?

Sadly the software I had chosen was slow to be updated, and eventually I started looking around for a replacement.

I happily used Easy Cross for my cross stitch designs for many years until moving from PCs to a Mac.

Cross stitch software for the Mac

Cross stitch software for the Mac was harder to find. Eventually I found MacStitch by Ursa Software.

This worked well and did just what I needed. The company also provide a version for Windows, and even one for the iPad, so I can design wherever I am. Guess who is now a happy girl?

Now for something exciting! Jeff at Ursa has kindly allowed me to offer both versions (Mac and Windows) to you at a discount price. You can use the button underneath to order a copy for yourself.

Please choose Mac or Windows

Do you have a question about charting or designing a pattern of your own?

If you are a budding designer, or just want to chart out a special poem or quote to hang on your wall, I am sure there are questions you would like answered. Unless you know another designer, it is difficult to find those answers isn't it? Well not any longer! You can ask me.

I don't profess to being the fount of all knowledge, but after having been a designer for many years I might just be able to steer you in the right direction. There is no harm in asking is there?...

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

What Other Visitors Have Asked

Click below to see questions from other visitors to this page...

Basic 101 how to use Mac Stitch 
Hi! My name is Gracie. I’m a budding new cross stitch designer. I have done the graphic paper technique and I wanted to do more. Especially, I want to …

how do I become a better cross stitch designer? 
I have done cross stitch in the past, always enjoyed it. Recently i have a growing interested in digital design (not my background either) and someday …

Problem with where to start 
16 years ago I made my first two blackwork patterns which happened to be your designs, I realised today: 1 Blackwork stitcher, 6"x4", Lacemaker with …

Cat family tree 
Hi, I have cross stitched for many years but I have always used kits and have never designed anything. I have promised to give my sons and all nieces and …

Photo to cross stitch program 
Carol, I just found you page and would like to know what I need to know as to which software to choose for my mac laptop and dell desk top. I would like …

Charting a digitized image 
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 …

Design Libraries in MacStitch and WinStitch 
Does the software allow you to create and save small design elements that can be pasted into a new design? As I see things that inspire me I create a …

Photograph to cross stitch pattern 
I would like to convert photographs of the stained glass windows at my church into detailed cross stitch patterns. I took the pictures with my Nikon Coolpix …

converting a wedding invitation to cross stitch 
I would like to take my niece's wedding invitation and turn it into a cross stitch pattern. Everything I read online says to select an image from your …

Stitched Text on Sampler 
Hello I am thinking of buying the WinStitch software. How would I insert text onto a sampler cross stitch pattern please? Can I use fonts that I have …

Are you able to covert cross stitch to needlepoint? Sometimes I find cross stitch graphs just don't work for needlepoint. Thank you. Edie Sanderson …

poem into a cross stitch chart 
Hello, I have a poem that I would love to cross stitch for my Daughter. I have absolutely no idea how to chart, my husband did try for me, but it was …

Backstitch and outlining in WinStitch 
Hello, Carol, I have purchased a Winstitch software yesterday and am now trying to work on my first chart. - the Happiness Fairy. I seem to be having …

Russian orthodox icon in Blackwork 
Dear Carol! As you kindly invite your visitors to ask you questions on embroidery, I decided to cease seize this chance, as in Russia (where I'm from) …

Bitten by the Designing Bug 
I started cross stitching when I was in high school, back in the late 1970's. I wanted to stitch butterflies and moths but the only patterns I could …

Diamond wedding cross stitch 
I have a 1950's black/grey/white/cream wedding photo that I am looking at stitching in cross-stitch. However I wonder if blackwork might give more clarity …

Hand Embroidery Software  Not rated yet
I love your story of progress! I’m interested in finding software to put some of my hand-embroidered designs on. I would also like to make kit instructions …

New Designer Would Like Tips! Not rated yet
Hello! I am newly retired and can now devote my time to my passion of cross stitch design. I own PC STITCH PRO, but find the charts I attempt to make …

Budding Cross Stitch Designer Needs Advice Not rated yet
Hi There - it was such a pleasure to read your article and your story…it gave me hope that I will find a solution to my design software search!! My …

Tips for exporting MacStitch's charts? Not rated yet
Hi there - I'm so glad I found your site~ YAY! I'm a new designer and have been playing with MacStitch on my iBook - and love it~ I am having some …

Software for consolidating two cross stitch patterns Not rated yet
I started counted cross stitch in the 70's before patterns were readily available - I concocted my own from knitting patterns and my limited imagination, …

charting letter designs for verses Not rated yet
I am hoping to find a computer program where I can input words/verses/ sentences and the computer program will show these in chart form, and be able to …

designing a logo in cross stitch  Not rated yet
I am trying to put a design onto aida square and can't get it to work out as I don't have a pattern to follow. Can you suggest anything I can do? …

Click here to write your own.

Keep in Touch with Stitchin'Times Newsletter