When I have created original cross-stitch designs in the past, I have usually drawn my ideas free-hand on graph paper. For the house project that I posted about yesterday, I tried something new and used my ink-jet printer to print the illustration directly onto some graph paper that I had downloaded for free from the internet. This saved some time up-front, but the image doesn't match the squares perfectly and I have needed to spend a lot of extra time figuring the design out as I stitch.
I've heard about the various software programs that are available to help convert photos and other images into cross-stitch patterns, so I thought I'd experiment with one of them to see how it works. I wanted to play with something basic, so first I simply set my initials in Futura and saved the image:I wanted to start out with a free option, so I decided to try a site called myphotostitch.com. It's really easy to use. I just needed to upload my image, make some sizing choices, and voila! It spit out this pattern:
It may not be a perfect design, but I think it did a fairly respectable job converting this simple image. Just out of curiosity to see how it would perform with something more detailed, I fed it the illustration of my house that I wrote about yesterday. It split the pattern up into four separate pages, which would be a total pain, I think, if you actually wanted to stitch the piece. Here's one of the four panels that it produced:
I think it's OK, but I don't know that it will meet my needs for most of my projects. I guess I'll keep researching the other programs out there. Any recommendations?