Looking to develop your artistic side in the new year? Dominic Bunce of digitiser David Sharp demonstrates how to create a picture-perfect embroidery that’s ready to be hung on a wall

Art can take on many forms, and has evolved over the centuries. Dating back as far as the 11th century, tapestry art was used to decorate castles and churches. Today’s modern take is to use an embroidery machinery and transform modern art by stitching it onto polycotton twill, then framing it for decorative purposes.

Digitising in Wilcom EmbroideryStudio e4.5, it is simple to produce a cross stitch effect in varying stitch sizes; for this design, we opted for a tight pattern. While this dramatically increases the stitch count, you can alter the stitches per inch to bring down the stitch count significantly – changing just the pink, green and teal block backgrounds from 18 stitches per inch to five stitches per inch more than halved the overall stitch count in this design. This can be played with within each section, enabling the stitch count to be adjusted to suit the budget or style required.

You can take almost any existing embroidery design and alter it to a cross stitch effect in a few simple clicks. No underlay is used with cross stitch so a good base, such as the 300gsm polycotton twill used here, or a sweatshirt material, is needed. We favour a cut-away backing for this type of work; because we were framing this, we opted for Madeira Weblon 44g backing in order to aid the wrapping of the material around the framework.

As the cross stitch effect always shows the material background through it no matter what settings you apply, it shouldn’t be used where a solid look is needed – you want the traditional satin or tatami stitch types for that. If, however, you’re looking to make a statement and produce something a bit ‘arty’, then it’s time to unleash your inner artist and play around with the cross stitch fill.