How to Make Cross Stitch Patterns from Pixel Sprites

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A couple days before spring break during my freshman year of college (back in 2010), I was lucky enough to be diagnosed with Mononucleosis (AKA "mono"). I say lucky because while it seemed crappy at the time, I found a fun hobby to help me pass a week in couch-locked purgatory: cross stitching!

I had been collecting cute animated pixel sprites from the Korean social media site Cyworld, and they seemed like the perfect designs to use for some cross stitch patterns. In honor of the #DisneyQuiltSwap2015 on IG, here are a few Disney-themed sprites I used. As you can see, they're animated, so I used Photoshop to select the specific frame I wanted to stitch, then saved a copy without any animation, shown below.

I use KG-Chart LE to make all my cross stitch patterns. It's available to download for free and is incredibly easy to use. The PDF user guide can be downloaded here (although I've never needed it). Click File > Import and select your sprite. Note: If you have an animated sprite, KG-Chart LE will just use the first frame by default. For this example, I'll use the cute Winnie the Pooh eating his pot of honey.

When converting a sprite to a pattern, the key is to make sure that 1 pixel = 1 stitch. Select "Aida" or "Linen" for which cloth you plan to use. I use Aida. "Th. Count" is where you should enter your how many stitches per inch or cm you plan on using. Now, check the dimensions of your sprite. If you use Windows, you can find this info by selecting the sprite file. The dimensions will be listed in the info panel, illustrated below. In KG-Chart LE, input these dimensions as your under "Chart Size" for Width (ct) and Height (ct). That tells the program to treat each pixel like a single stitch. 

If you select DMC for "Palette," KG-Chart LE will tell you exactly what colors of DMC floss you will need. In the "Color" field, enter approximately how many colors you will want to limit your pattern to. Hit OK!

Now you'll see something like this. The program uses a symbol key to help tell your colors apart from one another. You can turn on or off by clicking the "Show Mark" button at the top. The "Selected" panel on the right will show you the colors your pattern uses, including the DMC code and number of stitches you will be making with that color. Sometimes I'll further reduce the number of colors I need by repainting them with the "Set Pixel" tool (highlighted in the image below). 

You could also use these patterns for a pixel quilt pattern! 

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