Recently we took Plastic Canvas Design Studio out for a test drive, and our reviewer Jan extolled its virtues. M&R Technologies were now on our radar. When I talked with Mark Miller he explained that the flagship product was PC Stitch Pro, a program designed for the Cross Stitch community. Well, Jan could not resist, we had to try this program.

This is a much richer program in its ability; unfortunately richness does not always equate to ease of use. Jan found that she had to actually ‘read the book!’, the good news though is that it comes with complete instructions and has an online help site where you can get help anytime in the case you run into a problem.

There are many great features in PC Stitch Pro, the ability to take a design or picture in one of many formats (Jpeg, etc) and import it in, makes creating your own Cross Stitch patterns a snap. Once you have your basic pattern you can display the stitches as stitches or symbols or blocks, it is your choice. This gives you a very good idea of what you can expect as the finished product.

There is a wide variety of stitches to use in your pattern, certainly more than many people use regularly. Also a list of colors of floss to use, a very unique feature is that the color palette changes depending of the brand name of the floss chosen.

The program gives you 4 sample patterns to work with to practice using the program. I decided to use my own, a fairly simple Kitty. I copied the pattern into the program adding a few of my own stitches. When making your own patterns you can use all the different stitches and if you need to go back you can easily erase and edit stitches that you don’t need. It also has borders which you can add to your patterns to enhance the picture which is really neat. It has a Library Panel that allows you to select from a library of pattern objects and place them directly onto your own design. There is a list of custom stitches to select from for you patterns.

There is a note panel where you can add your own notes along with an Instruction Panel which is simply a scrollable text area where you can type in any instructions about your pattern. This would be a great feature for patterns that you want to share with a friend.

The toolbar is user configurable; you can select the tools that you use the most.

You can view your pattern with or without the gridlines. Again this is a great feature in the design phase, it is easy to position objects exactly where they need to go. Once you have completed your design there is a print option, you can create a paper copy for use when you are away from the computer, or for saving in your pattern book.

If you are not feeling creative you can always access the many patterns that are available for download from the web site.

Anyone that is interested in Cross Stitch should get a copy of this program. I know many people use pre-made patterns, but even if you do, you will love this program, imagine being able to add your own unique changes without actually having to spend hours actually sewing! If you don’t like something, just delete it and try again.

“Great program! I like it” said Jan.

Simon Barrett

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