April 23, 2014

6 Quick and Easy Ways to Create a Cross Stitch Pattern (for free!)

A lot of people are surprised at the fact that I've never bought a cross stitch pattern to make my designs. And, the truth is, I've never struggled with a design, because there's actually a lot of ways to proceed in which your initial pattern never had to cost you a dime. Here are my handful of tips to help you create your own pattern without having to use expensive software.

1. Winging it

If you have an image in your head, you can just go for it. I mean, why not? So long as you know where you're going with your design, you can sit and stitch and finish your project without even drawing a single image. And while throwing caution to the wind may seem like a risk, I promise you that you'll be happy with the result.

When I've used this method: Welcome to Night Vale book marks

2. Gridded Paper

An easy thing to get your hands on, gridded paper is fantastic for creating larger designs that you've got in your head. It also helps keep track of what you've done and have yet to do. It helps you figure out how much space your design will take, too!
I like to grid the gridded paper into inches. If your canvas is 18 stitches to an inch, count 18 squares on the grid and draw a line. This will help you predict how big your design actually is.

When I've used this method: any time I wanted to write anything

3. Transparent grid

My mother bought a pack of these in England, and they have been fantastic. It takes a bit of guesswork on your part, figuring out which color dominates a block and using the right one, but the result is fantastic. This can be used over photos and book covers and drawings, whatever you'd like.

But I promised nothing on this post would cost you anything. Grab a grid online and print it on transparent paper. Yup, it works!

When I've used this method: Zoidberg cushion and Zelda Pillow

4. Pixelating

Grab any picture you want to cross stitch and stretch it until it is pixelated... then cross stitch, pixel by pixel. This works perfectly on simple, one or two color designs, but I would not recommend on anything more complicated than that. Photographs, for example, would be a nightmare, unless you owned every color DMC has to offer.

When I've used this method: TARDIS pillow

5. Excel

Ah, excel, how you're useful in every way. It's got all the colors you need, and it's easy to use. I love working with it. The above picture is a pattern I made because people were requesting a chart for the bookmark that I had 'winged', so I used Excel to share the design with them.

When I've used this method: Pixel people

6. Free online software

You can find some seriously great software online. My absolute favorite is Pic2pat, a website that lets you upload a picture, select your size and canvas, chose how many colors you're going to be using, then send you a FREE pdf with every single detail for you. I love it.

When I've used this method: My current project - the Carina Nebula

I hope this had been helpful! Please don't hesitate to send me any of your questions. You can find me on Tumblr at nosynonymforsynonym, where I have been uploading my projects and some patterns.

April 10, 2014

Solomon's Castle

This may well be the strangest place in Florida. Hold on to your horses.

The first thing you see walking up is this huge tinfoil castle. Yes, an actual castle, made out of aluminum sheeting. No lie. It's huge, with stained glass windows, and the light bounces off the sides in amazing colors of blues and pinks. 

So you go inside and purchase a ticket for the tour. You then get led through this strange building, which turns out to be an art gallery for Mr. Solomon himself, who makes anything out of anything. Everything inside the entire building, except three pieces, were made by him.

Freedom of women, made out of an oil drum and chains...

Unicorn made out of a coat hanger - which is why Mr. Solomon has his clothes on the floor in his closet.

Our tour guide repeated joke after joke to the point where my grandmother was red int he face with laughter. Everything in the castle was a pun. Everything. 

And they have a boat?

And a lighthouse? (only lighthouse int he world to never have lost a ship)

The Shalamo? (it's his garage...)

In any case, visiting this place was an experience, and one of the strangest experiences of my life so far. You should check it out.

April 4, 2014

Fifteen Minute Circle Skirt

Easiest skirt in history!

1. CUT
Fold the fabric in four and cut a curve along the outside edge. The inside curve will follow these measurements.

2. HEM
Roll the bottom edge of the skirt up, and stitch along the line.

3. CUT
Cut the elastic to the size of your waist and finish off the edges. It will end up being a loop.

Use pins to help line up your fabric with your elastic. Stretch and stitch. And you're done!

April 2, 2014

A Little Slice of Paradise

I've returned to Florida for a short week, and it's incredible here.
The sun is recharging my batteries - over charging, in fact, to the point where i cannot sit still. I need to work, to create.
My grandmother's garden is blooming and it's paradise outside. Time sits still outside, leaving nothing but color and smells to overwhelms your senses.
Photos don't seem to cover it. But they try.