In the first part, we covered various software and methods for crating a pattern. Now, we’re going to look at the question of the alphabet.
I’m going to come right out and say it. Lettering charts are antiquated and outdated. If you have any old books or magazines sitting around with charts in them, and there’s something in there you like, then by all means, use it! But if someone on Etsy is charging $5 for a chart, chances are, you’re being ripped off, because you can create that exact same chart on your own.
If you don’t have expensive software like PCStitch, you can still make your own lettering charts very easily, and at no cost to you. All you need is Paint.NET. With this, you can create a chart in any font, and in any size, perfectly tailoring it to your project.
Step 1 – Go to a website like Dafont. Dafont collects thousands of fonts in a huge variety of styles. You can either browse by category, or try to search for something more specific.
Step 2 – Click on “more option” and select Public Domain and 100% Free. If you are not planning on selling the resulting pattern or finished project, you can also select Free for Personal Use.
You will not have to pay for any of the fonts that are shown to you this way, and all fonts should be complete without any placeholders over certain letters. (Should. It’s not a complete guarantee against these practises.)
Step 3 – Download and install the font you like.
Step 4 – Open Paint.NET. If you opened it before you installed the font, you will have to restart the program. Click on File > New and set up your canvas to the size you want your project to be. The easiest way to do this is to set the resolution to the Aida count you’ll be using, and change the dimensions in the Print size section. The pixels will automatically conform. This results in a direct 1:1 conversion of pixels to stitches.
Step 5 – Arrange your text on the canvas. Paint.NET has a few basic formatting options, such as font effects and paragraph alignment. Meaning you can make your font bold or italicised, or centre it, etc. I recommend putting the text on a unique layer, because as soon as you click off of the text tool, the text rasterises (becomes an image) and cannot be edited or moved again. Placing it on its own layer lets you move the text independently of the rest of the design, and delete it easily if you need to fix something in it.
Step 6 – Find the button along the top toolbar for anti-aliasing. The text must still be active for this to work, so do not click off of the text before you complete this step. Clicking on the anti-aliasing button will disable anti-aliasing, and make your text very pixelated, turning it into a stitchable pattern. This will work with any text, though you may have to experiment with size to get some more intricate fonts to behave.
You can use this to create your own lettering charts, or just skip straight to the pattern you want to design. If you do have software like PCStitch the font you installed will be available in the font menu. PCStitch will also adjust the kerning of the font, making the letters stand out from one another a little better. For the most part, I still prefer to use Paint.NET when using fonts, because it gives a little more control over the lettering.
Now that we’ve got the lettering sorted, let’s take a look at full-coverage patterns.