A popular craft material is Plastic canvas, for those of you not familiar with it, it is a flexible plastic grid that designs using a needle and yarn can be created on. The possibilities are endless. Pattern books abound in craft stores and online, but the avid Plastic Canvasser eventually wants to strike out on their own and create unique patterns. Plastic Canvas Design Studio allows you to do just that with ease, instead of fighting with squared paper and colored crayons.

I am not a Plastic Canvas person, but my wife Jan certainly is, and has been for over 20 years, so when we discovered this program we decided to join forces and do a review. I would handle the computer weenie angle and she would handle the end user side of things.

My job was easy, I inserted the CD, it automatically started the install process, and a couple of mouse clicks later it was done. I was happy, my part was done! Now it was up to the maestro.

She took to it like a duck to water. Although it comes with no instruction book (which she would not have read anyway) it turned out to be so easy to use that no book was necessary.

Jan was really impressed with most of the features, you select the stitch type and color of yarn, point and click and it is on the plastic Canvas grid. The zoom feature allows you to take a look at the big picture, or some detail. Editing is a snap, if you make a mistake, grap the eraser and click and drag. Preview gives you an idea of what the finished product will look like. And from a technical point of view the feature that impressed me most was the ability to import a jpeg image and have the basic shape appear on the grid. The colors are not ideal, but it provides a great guideline for editing.

We (actually I made her!) decided to try a real life trial of the software. We settled on making a sailboat, but not just any sailboat, the one that won the Americas Cup in 2003. She started with a basic picture, and clicked her way to fame!

Step one was to map out the stitches and basic colors.

Step two was to preview the entire pattern.

Step three (the hard bit) she had to actually get the needle and thread out!

As you can see, the end result was spectacular. Both Jan and I think this is some great software. There are programs out there for almost every interest group, but it is rare that you find one that actually caters to what the end user wants, most assume some PhD level in computer geeking. M&R have done a great job. If you, or you know someone that is a Plastic Canvas fan, this is the software to have. M&R have a try before you buy version and you can obtain it from their web site. But at the giveaway price of under $20, why bother, buy it anyway!

Jan and I give this ‘Two Needles Up’.

Simon And Jan Barrett

http://zzsimonb.blogspot.com
 

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