One of the best things about retro TV is the look at how things used to be, such as 70s sitcoms making a big deal about men doing needlepoint. That's an offhand way of introducing Tom Klein's Cstitch, a free program that creates cross-stitching patterns from images. You can take almost any image in almost any format and turn it into a pattern that you can save as a PDF or print out. You can use the same picture for a variety of patterns, such as changing the square size or colors for matching patterns on projects of different sizes or fabrics. It's open source freeware that you can use and share however you like.
Cstitch opened with a Quick Help guide that walked us through the four stages for creating patterns, starting with Stage 1, Choose your pattern colors. This involves opening an image in the main window and using the cursor to select the colors you'll need to reproduce it by clicking on various parts of the image. Cstitch displays various numerical color formulations that we could select from a drop-down list, compare with other color choices, and also select manually via a color picker. The comparison feature's split screens clearly shows the differences between various choices and settings. Choosing the size of the squares determines the final size of your pattern. At every stage, the Quick Help tool tips provided plenty of information and examples, and Cstitch also has a full Help file. We quickly created and saved a simple but attractive pattern that we could save as an .xst file, which is the program's default format, or as a PDF.
So why did we mention that plenty of men enjoy cross-stitching and other needlework? Maybe because they do, but also because one of the sample images Cstitch provides shows an old-time baseball player. That's the perfect sort of image to appeal to male tastes, both as acceptable decor in the man cave and as masculine subject matter for a relaxing (and productive) hobby. Whatever your taste in images, Cstitch can help you make great cross-stitch patterns.