Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Designing Cross Stitch Patterns

This week, I have something very different than before: cross stitch!
Buy my first commercial design Primavera from my Etsy shop called Needle and Peony!

Primavera fancy lady portrait cross stitch pattern by Paivi Eerola.

There are two main reasons for designing this pattern. The first is the need for creative play and the second that I couldn’t find anything like this from other designers: a fantasy woman’s facial portrait that wouldn’t be a huge project.

Playing and Drawing in the Stitchly App

My need for creative play comes from being very serious with art this year. I have spent a lot of time in programming computer art and I have been painting a bit too. It’s all great but I started to miss drawing, and especially, making something that is purely illustrative and not so abstract and artistically challenging.

So because I have had cross stitching as a hobby almost all my life, I bought an app called Stitchly and started drawing there – on lunch breaks and such, a few stitches at time. First I just doodled freely with the Apple pen to get to know the app.

Designing cross stitch patterns in the Stitchly app.

Stitchly is easy to use and with the pen, drawing is fun and the squares get filled nicely. Of course, you can also import a photo and let the app create the chart automatically. But to make the image look realistic enough, the stitch count needs to be high and the design … well I don’t think it would be a design anymore, just a pixelated photo. So, when I design, I like to draw with the pen and if I use references, I only use them as inspiration and draw every square myself.

I also like that you can have a custom palette in Stitchly. I have made a palette that has all the DMC colors from my stash, so I can also check the real color when designing.

Drawing and Stitching Faces

When people begin drawing in adulthood, they often start with faces. Eyes, mouth, nose too. Facial features create a connection to the person born on paper. It’s also fun to draw hair and add decorations there.

So, one day it hit me that even when doing cross stitches, I can get company from the character I am stitching. However, couldn’t find a cross-stitch pattern that was a reasonable size and where the character was naturally asymmetrical, but still sparked the imagination.

My stitching time is lonely time in the evening. I clean the studio if I have been painting, and then pick extra glasses and while stitching, watch other cross stitchers’ videos on Youtube, so Flosstube as we cross stitchers call the channels.

Cross stitching in the evening

So when I wanted to stitch a facial portrait of an imaginary person, I decided to draw it in Stitchly. After making the chart, the fun started – I was stitching my own pattern!

Cross stitch project Primavera in progress

Primavera can be stitched in the colors I suggest in the pattern, but since there are only 11 colors, it’s easy to change them as you like.

DMC floss and aida cross stitch fabric

Although Primavera means spring, by changing the colors you can associate a different season or different theme with the character. The decorations are designed to be so general that they don’t limit the character you create.

Primavera fancy lady portrait cross stitch pattern by Paivi Eerola.

The hair has three colors of different darkness, the skin has four. The hair band has two colors close to each other. It is easy to change the accent colors of the mouth and eyes, and also the colors of the decorations.

You can buy the pattern for Primavera in my Etsy shop!

Needle and Peony

It feels nostalgic to have something on sale at Etsy again! Long before I became a full-time artist, I opened the Etsy shop called Kukkilintu, then later changed the name to Peony and Parakeet. That little shop had a major impact on my career and life. Most of my customers lived outside Finland and I started communicating more and more in English.

Folk bags by Paivi Eerola, Finland
Me and some of my folk bags in 2008.

Maybe some of the current readers of this blog were my customers over ten years ago when I sold folk bags (currently available as a knitting pattern), handknitted doll clothes, hand-decorated papers and cards!

Now I changed the shop name to Needle and Peony and intend to add some charts over time. Maybe some slow stitching ideas also, as I have some of them too. Last week, I set up an Instagram account called @needleandpeony to show my cross stitch projects – also what I have stitched from other designers.

Which Design Should I Do Next?

While designing Primavera, it hit me that I have a pile of drawings that I have made for classes and that could be turned into cross stitch patterns. When I browsed them, I couldn’t decide what to choose next, so I now ask you – what would you like me to design next? I have picked 5 drawings to choose from, leave a comment and let me know which one is your favorite! Which one of these would make a great cross stitch design?

A) Angel

Angel drawing by Paivi Eerola

See how I drew the angel in 2022: Angel Drawing for the Inner Child

B) Girl

Flower girl drawing by Paivi Eerola

This flowel girl was drawn for the course Doll World.

C) Cat

Funny cat drawing by Paivi Eerola

This cat was drawn for the course Magical Inkdom.

D) Leaf

Folk leaf drawing by Paivi Eerola.

This folk leaf is an older design, from 2015. See more: Art Quilts in a Modern Way

E) Horse

Fantasy horse drawing by Paivi Eerola

This fantasy horse was drawn for the course Magical Inkdom.

Tell me your favorite of the five – A) Angel, B) Girl, C) Cat, D) Leaf, or E) Horse?

Support me in the cross stitch design journey, here’s the link to purchase Primavera!

23 thoughts on “Designing Cross Stitch Patterns

  1. I think B is incredibly beautiful and unique. I can’t imagine finding anything else like it to buy. The cat would be a winner in terms of popularity I think.

  2. Your lady is lovely.
    Fun that you are offering original art in your patterns.
    They are all wonderful, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the horse would be a popular choice, as people love horses.

  3. All beautiful and would make lovely x stitch but for me it has to be C the cat.

  4. Hi Paivi,

    I bought the Magical Kingdom class and loved every minute of it. I was particularly drawn to the cat at the time, and still am. I vote for C!

  5. Oooh no, i love this so much. And already have too many hobby’s. I would not be able to guess how much wool to buy, but otherwise i would give it a go. For me definitely girl B. Also one of my favorite courses. Maybe i ask my mum to calculate how much wool 😁. I will keep an eye on your shop. Have a nice weekend Paivi!

    1. Thank you, Jacqueline! For Primavera, you will need 11 skeins of DMC embroidery floss, one of each color. The color codes are listed in the product description, one of the product images, and in the pattern. The DMC skeins are small ones but you will have leftovers as in cross stitch, you cut a piece of 6-strand thread and then divide the piece so that you get 3 cuts of 2-strand floss for Aida fabric number 14. If you use a different fabric, make a test stitch with 1, 2 and 3 strands and then decide what’s the best thickness. I hope this helps!!

    1. Dear Paivi,
      Oh! I just began to teach myself cross stitch and then up pops your email discussion about cross stitch! Flosstube is so helpful and entertaining. It’s wonderful to realize you are designing patterns. The leaves are perfect for a stitch pattern, then the cat, and the horse. So difficult to choose. Hugs from your old painting student in the US.

  6. So glad you have found another outlet for your art! Any of the above designs would be desirable…I am in a cat mood today.

    Question. I do not cross stitch, I needlepoint. Does that app you mentioned convert drawing into needlepoint canvas? A few years ago I searched but didn’t find one that I could use to design and then print out the art onto a canvas. Any ideas?

    Many thanks!
    Vancouver Island

    1. Thank you, Lynne!

      I hope I understood your question correctly, but this is how I see it:

      If you want to print the design onto needlepoint canvas, then it’s not counted stitch project anymore but the printed areas dictate where you place the stitches. So the chart plays no role there. I would just make the design in any image processing program and then get it printed on canvas. I don’t know if home printers can do the job, but there must be printing companies that can do it.

      If you want to make a chart and then stitch a counted needlepoint project using the chart, then the Stitchly app can be used.

  7. All of those are so lovely it is too difficult to just choose one, but I will give my vote for Cat. <3

  8. Hello Paivi! Greetings from New Zealand. We are going into autumn here so design D, the leaf caught my eye. I am currently knitting my 3rd folk bag, just love that pattern. Kind regards, Jane

  9. I vote for the cat to be your next cross stitch pattern, Paivi! How fun!

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