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Ready for fall? Check out this fall tree cross stitch that is easy enough to make in just a few days. In this tutorial, I also cover how I create my own cross stitch patterns and
provide a free download for this pattern. See details below on getting this pattern!
In the blog world, it seems pretty commonplace for DIYers to create things out of embroidery hoops. From decorative wreaths to wall hangings and terrariums and light fixtures — even spider webs! But what about actual cross stitch? I know I’m not alone in having a love for this craft, but I’ve only ever shared sneak peeks of my patterns in IG stories before. It wasn’t until a few people reached out about their own crafting that I thought, “hmm, maybe I should show people how I create my own!”. So, here I am with today’s tutorial after this little DIY fall tree cross stitch.
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I first learned how to cross stitch from my Granny as a kid. She would spent hours and hours stitching gorgeous Lavender & Lace angels (those of you who are fans of cross stitch will know this manufacturer well… but those of you that don’t, here, here, and here are some great examples). She lovingly made one for each of the women in my family, including me and my younger sister Emily (or Em, as you’ve seen me mention her before). As a kid, I was fascinated with her craft and eager to learn how to do one myself. I picked out a very tiny pattern (with some beading, since I was ambitious) and made my first angel out of a small kit (wow, I can’t believe I found that online too).
I made a few more, but during high school and college, I pretty much dropped it while I did lots of other crafts (painting, drawing, upholstery, scrapbooking, clay, etc.). Then seemingly random, I decided I wanted to start cross stitching again. I have an old kit from my Granny that I still use today, but when it comes to making patterns, I use a much more modern process!
How I Create My Own Cross Stitch Patterns From An Image
For creating my own cross stitch pattern, I use pic2pat.com. I’m not even sure how or when I found the site, but it works really well for such a complex process.
Step 1: Find and upload a photo or clipart
I find that vector or clipart images work great, but I’ve also done some photorealistic patterns as well. In this example, I found a free clipart of a fall tree (I’m not a lawyer obviously, but for copyright reasons, ONLY use images that you have created yourself or are “Creative Commons CC0” — Google images may seem like a good resource on its face, but a great deal of those are still under copyright protections… which means using them can get you into a lot of hot, expensive water… try a site like Pixabay for lots of good free-use options instead).
Step 2: Select settings
On the next screen, you’ll have multiple options to set your pattern, which are based on the type of floss used(which is just the name used by cross stitchers, but it’s just multi-strand thread), the number of stitches per inch (the more stitches per inch, the tighter and more detailed the image can look), and the actual size of the end design (the size of the finished product). The “floss” brand I use is
the best DMC. Most of the cross stitch fabric I pick up is size 14, but I also use 16 and 18 when I know I’m doing something more complex (the higher the size, the smaller the stitch… but that also means you can do more photorealistic patterns and not have to make the canvas HUGE to get enough detail).
The thing that also contributes to the overall quality of the pattern is the physical size of the pattern you want, which is the next selection on the drop-down menu. The dimensions will auto-generate based on the shape of the image uploaded, so if for example you want a square pattern, be sure to upload a square file. It will start at around 2 inches (which will greatly pixelate the image because it’s so small), and go up incrementally. Since I wanted this one to be relatively small and was fine with it looking more abstract, I picked an option just around 5×5 inches.
Step 3: Generate and download pattern
Once I click “next”, the pattern generates with multiple options. They go from the highest color variation (say, 70 colors) and on down, so you can choose how complex of a pattern you want to stitch. I usually settle in somewhere around 40 or so colors (when you hover with your mouse, it will indicate how many colors).
When you click on any of the options, it immediately downloads a PDF copy of your cross stitch pattern, along with a list of the colors you’ll need!
With the pattern printed out, I just start stitching. I don’t always have the colors I need, so I’ll sometimes match a thread that’s “close enough” and use it in the pattern as a substitute. For example, in my pattern, I didn’t have color 301 (Mahogany Medium), so I used a color 780 (Topaz Ultra Very Dark) instead. I just plain don’t like running out for other thread colors if I’m missing one, so this happens with my patterns pretty frequently.
For more photorealistic designs (I’ll show you guys those in the future, but they take MUCH longer to complete), I do even more than that. I often use both a printout of the actual picture and the generated pattern, side by side, to use as reference and get as close to the real thing as I can (there are plenty of colors in the DMC family, but sometimes you have to use your own eye to make sure house colors/flesh colors are accurate).
Fall Tree Cross Stitch Pattern
So that’s it! Any fellow cross-stitchers out there? Or anyone who has ever wanted to try? This is a great starter project because it’s all really simple x-stitches. For every thread you see pictured, I used 2 strands (the DMC thread comes with 6 intertwined, so you cut some of the floss, separate the individual threads to be 2 strands each, and then start stitching).
And bonus: subscribers get access to my pattern for free. All you have to do is click the image below and follow the prompts, and come back to that same page and enter your info again (it acts like The fall tree pattern comes in 2 versions: one that has a lot of color variation (like mine), and one that’s more simplistic with fewer colors (which also has the benefit of not having to track down as many colors). If for some reason that image doesn’t work, you can also get it here.
Other Patterns I Love
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I love cross stitch! What do you use to organize your floss? This is always a struggle for me.
I JUST bought an organizer, actually. I’m going to review it after I’ve tested it out enough. But basically, up until then I organized in sandwich bags by color.
I use a couple of boxes designed for the purpose, and wrap my floss on the little cards provided and write the color number on the card. Prevents losing the little sleeve and therefore the color number. The boxes are translucent plastic and I have had them for years.
That is exactly how I store mine too! Thanks Sarah for the tip, I am going to try out this program :) I love my system of keeping the floss on cards and putting them in those plastic clear containers – and it works because I keep 4 of them and put one “color scheme” in each box. So like blues in one, greens in one, reds/pinks in one and yellows/beiges in the last one.
Yeah, with as many strands as I have now, staying organized is key! Thanks for commenting. :)
Sarah, I have always loved cross stitch, learned it as a little girl, but have never tried making my own patterns. Thanks for the tutorial.
This soooo makes me want to try cross stitching!! Maybe now I’ll give it a try!
Hey Sarah! I love your cross-stitch patterns. I’ve downloaded several, and about to start on the Blue Space one as soon as I can collect all the floss lol. I noticed that some of your older patterns (like this one and the Pumpkin Spice Latte one) don’t appear to be on your list of downloadable patterns. Are they still available for download?
Hey Brooke! After a few years pass, I retire older patterns to an archive. Once the new paid membership program launches, they’ll be available again to paid members, but the free access is only available for so long (right now it’s about 2 years, though that can change in the future since SO many patterns will need to be retired to manage them all — monthly releases really add up!). So, luckily you got the blue one when you did, but now that I’ve launched a new site design, this is also addressed in a FAQ dropdown so people know they have to download them or risk losing the free access (though hopefully lots of people will still support the paid membership program to keep all of it going too, which will have some exclusive designs as well, such as more space/galaxy themed patterns).
The article said the tree pattern was free to subscribers. I subscribed but still cannot access the tree pattern. Would you please assist me? Thank you.
The article was also updated that the free availability is expired after 2 years, which has now passed. The tree pattern is no longer available, so if that’s the only reason you subscribed, I would advise unsubbing. But there are other patterns currently available that my interest you in the library.