Here are my top ten tips for a new cross stitch designer.
1. Just get Started
I know this sounds cliché, but if you have an idea get it down on paper! You do not need a fancy design software program or a state-of-the-art computer in order to get started designing cross stitch and needlework patterns. Graph paper, pencils, and colored pencils are great tools and jumping off point to start your work. I developed my own graph paper book to help me draft ideas and chart if something inspires me.
These are graph paper books I designed and created to help with charting cross stitch patterns.
2. Be mindful of copyright.
Are you looking to chart a popular cartoon character or phrase? Are you looking to sell your design? If you answered yes to those two questions, then you might run up against a copyright violation if you are not licensed or have permission from the copyright holder. Do your research.
3. Understand what is in the public domain
4. Follow other designers and their journeys.
For instance, I love to watch other Flosstube channels and see what other designers are up to and creating in cross stitch. It has been so fun watching the journey of designers like Stephanie Webb of LindyStitches or Michelle Garrette of Bendy Stitchy Designs.
5. Try to stitch your own models.
Software and computer generated photos are great, but think about the longevity of your work. It can be important to have stitched models for shows like the Nashville Needlework Market, Needlework Galleria, or trunk shows at a local needlework shop (LNS). Down the road if you wish to retire a particular design, you can always sell your model stitch. For instance, Kathy Barrick a well known American designer sells her stunning framed models to eager needlework collectors.
6. Take good pictures of your model. Enough said.
7. Ask for help.
Ask friends or family to proofread your charts, help with folding your paper charts, or just for moral support.
8. Limited edition versus permanent colorways.
I fall into the trap of loving all of the fabrics and floss produced by boutique dyers and small batch artists. While these colors and products are amazing, it's hard to replicate them if they're limited edition. For instance, if I use unnamed limited edition floss by The Gentle Art stitched on a vintage hard-to-find 30 count piece of R & R Reproductions linen, how can other stitchers find these materials to stitch their piece just like mine? In the era of the “Floss Toss” and color conversions, it might seem like no big deal, but many stitchers want to stitch their pieces exactly “as charted.” Many could be disappointed that they cannot find the required materials and just choose to not stitch your piece. Worse yet, these stitchers might not purchase your next pattern for fear of another difficulty in kitting up the project.
9. What's your plan for selling your designs?
Will you only sell paper printed charts? Exclusively sell digital downloads or PDF documents? Ebay? Etsy? Gumroad? I sell on Gumroad and I love it. I know Wild Violet Cross Stitch is also another designer that sells on Gumroad.
10. Do you want to use a distributor?
For example Hoffmann and Yarn Tree are two cross stitch pattern distributors. Do your research and see if this is the right fit for you.
I hope this list helps you. Happy stitching and happy designing! ~Amanda Mae
I do love that this post reminded us that there is no harm in asking for help, especially in monitoring the color chart for us. My wife is planning to take up cross-stitching as a hobby, however, she has expressed that since she is a newbie, the chart can be a wee overwhelming. I will assure her that I will be by her side ready to offer her support and help.
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Amanda Mae is a modern cross stitch designer, artist, and quirky crafter. She loves to rescue abandoned needlework and believes in Saving the Stitches.