Soft Expressions supporting the expressive quilter in tradition innovation art and computer with Sharla Hicks

Search Website
Nav Barcontact info and site mapSoftExpressions.com Home Page: Supporting the Expressive Quilter in Tradition, Innovation, Art and Computer Quilting with Sharla HicksQuilting Software ReviewedNewsletter with how-tos, tutuorials, reviews on quilting software and quilt embellishment for the expressive quilterHelp to get the most out of browsing SoftExpressions.comFind out more about Sharla R. Hicks, the master mind behind SoftExpressions.comGalleries, be inspired by others expressive quilters workDownload Shareware, Demos & Slide shows  of helpful software for expressive quilters
Nav BarstorefrontSearchLog-in: Account / Wish ListProduct ListCheckoutBasket Contents


Free Shipping @ $50
USA ONLY


Find Soft Expressions on Facebook


Sale and New Items
This section will answer your questions about shipping methods, costs, handling and more.
Ship International
Company Profile
Mail, Fax Form
Return, Exchange, Damage
Website Use Disclaimer
Laurel Burch
Art Girlz Felt, Charms, Stamps
Jenny Hasking Magazines, Embroidery CDs, Quilting Software
1000+ Helpful Books for Quilting and Computer Quilters, find helpful books on quilt construction, design, printing on fabric, using the software programs and more.
Magazines: Quilting Arts, Creative Expressions, Cloth Paper & Scissors
Quilt Patterns
Notions for Quilters like Marti Michelle Templates, Rulers, Mats, Rotary Cutters, Sewing Accessories, Machine Quilting Supplies and more.
This is a expanding category with quilt giftwrap, jewelry, helpful must have tools, watches, organizers and beautiful storage boxes.
Paper Piecing Software and helpful tools like finger press, foundation printer sheets, rulers, books and . . . .
Helpful products for quilting memory quilts and labels like Bubble Jet Set 2000 and June Tailor Fabrics
DVDs, CDs and Videos
Find all the popular programs like Electric Quilt, Quilt-Pro, PCQuilt, Paper Piecing programs, Redwork, Designing CD, Repligator, Creative Impusle and more for the traditional and innovative quilter.
Dyes, Paints and Pens
Foils & Glitter
Embellishments
Iron-on Applique Patches
Beads and Charms
Buttons
Angelina Fibers for Innovative Quilter
Threads, Yarn and Fiber
Needle Felting Roving & Supplies

Computer Quilting BYTES
subscribe
back issues
Frequently Asked Questions about  quilting software
Reviews to 23+ quilting software programs
Demos to quilting software, try before you  buy!


 

Expressive Quilters Newsletter sponsored by SoftExpressions.com formerly Computer Quilting BYTES: Editor Sharla Hicks, quilting software reviews, quilt tutorials, faqs, and more
Dedicated to Supporting The Expressive Quilter
In Tradition, Innovation, Art & Computer Quilting

 

This review examines Pattern Maker for Cross-Stitch Standard and Professional versions and Cross-Stitch Clipart for use with Pattern Maker for Cross-Stitch©, Volume I and how it can be used to aide the quiltmaker.

February Issue 11: 2001
Editor: Sharla R. Hicks
Newsletter index for all issues


 

Pattern Maker for Cross-Stitch by HobbyWare, Inc.

Reviewed by Janet Ward Sattler

Janet Ward Sattler uses her computer experience from a quilter's, needleworker's, designer's, and consumer's perspective to review Pattern Maker for Cross-Stitch.  She brings over forty years sewing, cross-stitch, needlepoint, petitpoint, and embroidery experience and over fifteen years experience in quilting, French hand sewing, and fine embroidery to this review.  She has won awards for her quilts and needlework and has recently started publishing her quilt designs.

This review examines Pattern Maker for Cross-Stitch 3 Standard and Professional versions

Version 4 is now available and that much stronger!

The program comes in 4 levels:

Standard: $60


Standard version with Machine Embrodiery Add On: $180.00
Professional: $120


Professional version with Machine Embroidery Add On: $240.00


The good about Pattern Maker™ for Cross Stitch

These products are intuitive and easy to use. The features are well documented.  The software design blends the traditional world of cross-stitch design and the contemporary world of computing. Designing beautiful counted cross-stitch charts with Pattern Maker is easier and more versatile than designing charts in the real world.  I especially liked the Professional version importing and exporting capabilities.

The not quite as good about Pattern Maker™ for Cross Stitch

From the Professional version I exported charts in Windows® metafile file format (.wmf) and enhanced metafile file format (.emf), but could not universally import those files as readable graphics images into some programs.

Editor's Note from Sharla Hicks: Exporting is always a hit miss and trial with every program and in Janet's experiments, some worked and some did not. Experimenting is the only real way to know. Wmf and .emf files seems to be the most problematic. The wmf/emf Pattern Maker files could not be imported into Quilt-Pro, this is probably because Quilt-Pro does not import a texture filled graphic but will import solid color fills objects.

Overall Pattern Maker's import capabilities are good and converted images into charts while retaining subtle coloring and texture of my original graphic. When scanning a photo with some very dark areas at 300 dpi, the resulting chart conversion lost detail in the dark areas.  This was even more pronounced at 100 dpi. It is possible to work around this minor problem through scan settings or in a graphic program if needed.


The bottom line

These easy-to-use software programs provide quick transition from favorite photo or drawing to needlework pattern or center design for quilt or quilt block.  Both versions beat out the traditional grid paper and colored pencils for design and add a great deal of value and fun to the design process.  Additionally, I found they applied well to some specific quilt uses--such as bargello, colorwash, medallion, redwork, and Celtic knotwork cord designs.

Installation

Both Standard and Professional versions of Pattern Maker and the clipart installed quickly with easy-to-follow installation wizards.

Knowledge required

Pattern Maker users will want a working understanding of basic cross-stitch and/or needlework terminology and techniques.  For example, you will want to know a French knot, a backstitch and the difference between whole, half and quarter cross-stitches.  You will also want basic computer skills, in particular, comfort using a mouse and Microsoft Windows.

Features

Of course, you can design cross-stitch using graph paper and colored pencils or pens.  You can use spreadsheet or graphics software to create a chart and choose from limited colors and some symbols (from fonts).  These methods prove tedious and time-consuming when compared to the ease and simplicity of a well-designed cross-stitch program.  They lack export capabilities, backstitch design, and many juicy features included in HobbyWare's products.

Pattern Maker adopts the Windows graphical environment to give cross-stitch designers many tools found only in complex graphics software. 

 

 

These include options to display multiple canvases on the screen and to cut and paste elements between them, to easily import graphics in a variety of formats, and to control printed designs.  The pull-down menus and tool bar buttons give easy access to a wide array of editing and graphics tools.

Multiple zoom levels enlarge chart areas or give a broader view.  With multiple views of a pattern displayed you can make changes on an enlarged view and see the effect of those changes on the overall pattern.

To create a design you start with a pattern area of any size and resolution and determine your grid.  You "draw" with stitch types, color blocks or symbols on a blank chart.  Record specific information for your pattern―pattern name, designer, pattern sizes, and notes and include it on printouts.  Select floss colors from numerous lines (the entire DMC, Anchor, and J&P Coats lines) and any color canvas.  Canvas sizes go to very large dimensions.  Use Windows fonts for stitch or color symbols.  Copy one or more clipart motifs from the library to compose a design; these can be edited, too.  One particularly nice feature lets you select a stitch and a color and "paint" by holding down the left mouse button.  So, rather than clicking on individual "stitches" or squares you color an area without using the paint bucket, which may color too broad an area.  Erasing colors and stitches is just as easy.  "Undo" remembers an astounding 100 changes.  With the many printout options you print charts in color or black and white with symbols. Chart printouts include pattern information and show floss colors, symbols, strands, type, color number, color name, and estimated skein usage.

 

 

 



You can import a picture or drawing from a scanner, digital camera or a digital image saved in many common formats. 

The default recommended is 100 dpi on the scanner to match a 10-point cloth.  Products like Adobe Photoshop allow you to scan in photos and translate them to colored squares as CMYK or RGB colors.  Pattern Maker lets you scan in photos and converts them to colored squares on a chart and assigns color values to match floss colors.  You specify the number of colors, color palette, stitches per inch, and fabric color and size.  Some really dark areas lose detail when scanned at the recommended resolution.  The Professional version allows you to adjust image quality when importing and can make many correction. But if additional improved detail in dark areas of the images import is needed, adjust the image with your scanner's image editing tools or another graphic program before importing it into Pattern Maker

Quilting applications

Quilters don't always just quilt.  In our quilts we are more inclined to mix techniques, particularly needlework.  Redwork, silk ribbon embroidery, and cross-stitch can all be found embellishing many quilts and individual quilt blocks.  Pattern Maker can create both cross-stitch and redwork designs.  After importing a drawing or graphic as an over/underlay you trace the image in stitches to convert it to a design chart.  Use resulting redwork designs in individual quilt blocks.  Cross-stitch charts for a central medallion design on a quilt contemplate using fabric squares instead of stitches on a canvas.

I still remember the quilt named Best of Show at the 1998 Vermont Quilt Festival.  This outstanding medallion-styled quilt had a rose motif center made up of 1" squares of fabric.  The design was adapted from a counted cross-stitch chart.  Its maker framed this central design with appliquéd borders.  Quilters who want to compose center medallion motifs (even a pet's photo!) will find Pattern Maker a useful tool.  A cross-stitch chart may be used in ½" scale (1 chart square equals ½" fabric square, finished), 1" scale, 1½" scale, 2" scale, et cetera.  Miniature quilt designers may want to use an even smaller scale for their masterpieces!

Pattern Maker can be used to create bargello and colorwash patterns.  Since it doesn't restrict you to using squares, you can change the basic chart unit from a square to a rectangle.  To design a bargello quilt or bargello border I first created a canvas with 5 stitches per inch vertically and 10 per inch horizontally.

 

I chose this setting to represent ½" width increments and 1" height increments for finished quilting strips. Viewing in solid "stitch", I then painted a single stratum.  I copied and arranged the strata to form a bargello design.  I then cut and moved areas to form a rectangle suitable for a quilt center as I would by opening seams in a fabric strata and reassembling them.  Voilá―a bargello pattern!  The chart is now ready to guide sewing my bargello quilt.

I found the grid perfect for creating Celtic knotwork patterns.  It is possible to color only 1/2 of each square (1/2 square triangles?).  I think quilters might want to print design charts in solid view on photo transfer paper or colorfast fabric sheets to use in quilt blocks and borders.  Pattern Maker could prove valuable to quilters and complement virtual quilting design programs such as Quilt-Pro and Electric Quilt®.

Pattern Maker works nicely to design a watercolor-style quilt.  By choosing a palette with colors ranging from white through dark navy, I created a value map or chart for a colorwash.  I established graduated values palette (you could do it all in grayscale).  I made a chart to use as a guide for comparably valued fabrics--lights, light-mediums, mediums, medium-darks, darks, reachies and smoothies.  To sew a colorwash block or quilt from a Pattern Maker design chart you will want to match your fabric values to the values on your chart.  The squares can represent any size finished fabric square--from ¼" or ½" squares to 1" or larger squares, depending on block size and number of squares in your finished blocks.  You could even design for 6" squares for large bed-sized colorwash quilts.

Ease of use

I found both Pattern Maker Standard and Professional versions pleasing, fun, easy to use and well designed for their intended use.  I found the standard Windows menus, familiar tool bar icons and other buttons, and dialogue boxes logical and easy to navigate with clear directions and online help when stumped.

I found the clipart a nice addition to the creative process.  It really helps to create quick designs.

Working paradigm

You will find the Pattern Maker programs utilize a format familiar to cross-stitchers.  The screen layout shows a pattern design window that looks like a blank cross-stitch chart and a color bar similar to a floss palette.  The tool bar contains buttons with easy to read standard symbols for full, half and quarter stitches, as well as backstitches and French knots.  You can view and print your charts in stitches, symbols, or solid color.

Key differences

  • With Standard version you get 90 colors; with Professional version you get 150 colors.
  • Professional gives a stitch usage summary feature in the floss menu and allows you to select stitch thickness, strand count, symbol selection and symbol color selection. T
  • he Professional version's importing and exporting capabilities are superior to those in the Standard version.
  • I really like the Professional version's importing capability to make image adjustments to color, contrast, brightness, and cropping.
  • For a comparison chart that shows what is in each program, click here

Support material (help, manual, help desk)

Pattern Maker includes the same user's manual for both Standard and Professional versions.  The user's manual fails to provide a glossary of needlework terminology used.  However, for both software versions the manual and online help give clear and easily understood definitions for their many features.  Both manual and online help contain a clear and fairly complete table of contents and index.  The manual lists tool bar buttons and short-cut keys.  Before using the software, I read the user's manual to familiarize myself with features and gained quick understanding and excitement to go forward with using these programs.  I found the manual easy reference for any questions during learning.

Pattern Maker's user's manual provides contact information for technical support, including their physical address, telephone number, fax number, email and web addresses.  One question arose while I was reviewing the Professional version.  I emailed my question to HobbyWare; that same day I received an "on point" reply with step-by-step instructions.  Based on this exchange, I would rate their help desk as responsive, courteous, and prompt.

Minimum Computer Requirement:

  • Platform: Windows 95 or later
  • Processor: Intel 486
  • RAM: 16MB or better
  • Disk space: 10MB of hard disk space
  • Mouse or other pointing device
  • Display: 256-color VGA
  • Pattern Maker for Cross-Stitch Standard or Professional installs from floppy or CD ROM drive
  • CD-ROM required to install Cross-Stitch Clipart
  • Highly desired:
  • Higher resolution monitor and video card supporting 16-bit color or Greater Color
  • Color printer
  • Color scanner
  • Digital camera
  • Try it Today! demo available

The Reviewer

Janet Ward Sattler uses her computer experience from a quilter's, needleworker's, designer's, and consumer's perspective to review Pattern Maker for Cross-Stitch.  She brings over forty years sewing, cross-stitch, needlepoint, petitpoint, and embroidery experience and over fifteen years experience in quilting, French hand sewing, and fine embroidery to this review.  She has won awards for her quilts and needlework and has recently started publishing her quilt designs.

She tested the Pattern Maker programs on a desktop computer with Pentium III® 550 megahertz processor; 128MB RAM; running Microsoft Windows ME©, with a 17” SVGA monitor, color scanner, digital camera and a color printer.

Try Pattern Maker Today! demo available


Newsletter index for all issues
Table of contents for this issue



Search Website
Site Map & Picture Indexes
(like library index)

Visa -- MasterCard -- American Express -- Discover -- Paypal
FAQs & Help

Sale & New

up to 20% off
Zentangle

10 - 20% off
Quilting Software

20-60% off
2000+ Books

40-60% off
1500 Blowout Books!
10% - 50% off
Notions

10% off
Fabrics
50% off
Patterns
10% off
Paper Piecing
10- 35% off
Rulers
10% off
Buttons
10-50% off
Beads, Charms
10% off
Jenny Haskins
10% off
Gifts
For Quilters, Sewers & Crafters
10- 50% off
Embellishments
Stitched Appliqués,
Foils, Glitter, Petals
10 -50% off
Paints, Pens,
Dyes, Inks, Stencils,
Accessories
10-50% off
Threads, Ribbons, Yarns & Angelina Fibers, Roving
10-25% off
Laurel Burch
Totes, Mugs, Plates, Jewelry, Socks, Buttons
Newletter Logo
Back Issue to Newsletter
Reviews to 23+ quilting software programsDemos to quilting software, try before you  buy!Galleries: Sharla's Quilt, Comptuer Quilting Software examples, & Stolen Quilts
Your privacy is guaranteed on our Secure Server.
We do NOT sell or give e-mail addresses to anyone
Pick & Choose
Interest List Subscription

♥ Monthly News

♥ Local In-store Sales & Events

♥ Laurel Burch

♥ Zentangle Classes in Anaheim, CA
Subscribe / Change Interest List / Unsubscribe
Find Soft Expressions on Facebook

Feedback and questions are welcome!

e-mail: info@softexpressions.com
Soft Expressions
1230 N. Jefferson Street Suite M
Anaheim, CA 92807
Map
Click to Enlarge & Print
Pacific Time Zone
Office Hours:
Monday to Thursday 11 AM to 3:30 PM
Will Call at Warehouse:
Monday to Thursday 8 AM to y PM
Toll Free USA or Canada: 888-545-8616
Fax: 714-630-8970 Phone: 714-630-7414
e-mail: info@softexpressions.com


Home
spacerStorespacerReviewsspacerNewslettersspacerGalleriesspacerSharlaspacerHelp spacerWebsite Conditions of Use
Website Design by Sharla R. Hicks, Soft Expressions, all text and art contained on this site © 1996-2014