While I was tidying up my bookcase I found one of my old notebooks
As you can see from the photo, I used to sit down with a limited number of coloured pencils and chart designs for (among other things) miniature carpets.
The design above worked out very well done in 1 ply Appleton’s wool on 22 point Aida cloth – and if I could find the carpet I would photograph it.
(Don’t ever move house in a rush – you will never find anything again)
Also hidden on the bookshelf was a CD for the Royal School of Needlework’s Definitive Guide to Cross Stitch and Tapestry, and I have vivid memories of trying very hard to compose a chart on a computer screen, instead of on a piece of paper.
Basically, the software on the CD does two things -
- Either gives you an, on-screen, charted area on which to design a piece of needlework
- Or allows you to import an image, and then turn that in to a needlework chart
This sounds nice and easy, BUT unless you understand how many pixels are in the average image on-screen, you are going to get very, very frustrated, very, very quickly, if you want to use software like this to import designs and work in miniature.
Well it rained all weekend, and I had a cold, and it so it was maybe not the best time to put the CD in the computer and try again -
However… here is a High Victorian, Berlin Wool Work Style rose that I designed on paper and then “pixel painted” in to Paint Shop Pro
Each little square of colour = 1 pixel.
If I import this very small and simple design into the RSN programme, and then save the chart, it will look like this -
and, on 22 count fabric, this will work to a finished size of about 1 and 1/2 inches (3.8cm)
However, what I would like to work from is something that looks like this -
and I have not been able, so far, to coax the RSN software into saving a chart that looks like this, which is a shame.
Moving on to something more complicated (and I really should have known better!) I wondered what would happen if I wanted to turn one of my printed carpet designs…
into a chart…
To be fair, there is a very easy to use wizard that walks you through the process of importing and setting up an image to chart and, after about 4 hours, I had a 7″ x 10″ carpet (on 22 point canvas) which used a mere 46 colours !
Another couple of hours work and I had reduced the colours to 14 and tidied up the design so that it looked almost workable, apart from the central motif, which would not be out-of-place in a needlework portrait, but is probably a bit excessivly detailed for a miniature carpet.
Now what you see on screen is not necessarily a true-to-life-colour, so I sorted out the colours that would be needed and then I changed the, software-seclected, light bluish pink to one that had a slightly warmer tone.
Then, of course, I had to see how hard the central motif was to work.
90 minutes (or one football match) later I had achieved…
Now I have to make a decision – do I work some more, or do I (sensibly) stop now ?
Although I am not very comfortable using the RSN software, it does have its useful points (and some ready charted motifs and alphabets that can be inserted into your own designs) and I can imagine that if you are working “full-size” that it could be a very useful tool.
It is not designed to make working in miniature “easy” – but then I don’t think anything is !
Another thing -
Most miniature needlework kits use mono canvas, not Aida.
I use Aida because it works best for me, and I usually use wool for miniature carpets as it does not have the bright reflective surface of cotton, or silk, embroidery thread and so, to me, it looks more “real”.
If you are looking for miniature needlework kits, I can recommend the work of -