My father-in-law is a needlepoint man. NOT counted cross stitch. I can't say I blame him! Who can pay that much attention, counting across lines, changing up threads, ick! I LOVE needlepoint and grew up doing it. Well, needless to say (;D) it is difficult today to get a good needlepoint kit.
A few years ago Dad wanted to complete his collection of churches - one for each season. He needed a small chapel in a winter setting. Good luck! So, I designed him one in photoshop from some photos I took and a few I purchased on istockphoto.com. Once I made the composite photo, I followed the recommended modifications and used a website service to convert it to a needlepoint pic. I paid the service to provide the color listing and the "converted picture," and then I used iron-on transfer to print the picture and then apply it to ada cloth. It was quite the project, but came out beautifully...
For Christmas this year, he wanted a new canvas to work on - a mill. Lucky for me, he picked out a Mabry Mill design which was in counted cross stitch and said, "I like this one!" After evaluating all the software options out there for converting photos to needlepoint, I came to the conclusion that the best option would be to buy this Mabry Mill kit (above) with all the stitch details, picture, and other instructions, and then scan/scale/apply the photo to the canvas he wanted to use. I am very much a stickler for copyright violations, however, in this case, as I purchased the 'kit', I don't feel that modifying the photo and transferring it to the cloth violates the law. Here is what it looks like:
The one draw back is that you do have to be careful with the printing as you work. Dad puts it on a stretch frame so that it isn't bent a lot and won't rub off. He said going through the layer of iron-on transfer isn't bad. This photo was ideal in that he can actually see the stitches that were in the original photo of the finished cross stitch whereas the winter chapel was simply a 'photo'.
He does a beautiful job and has already started stitching the trees in the upper left corner. I can't wait to see the masterpiece! So, if you are a frustrated needle-pointer, try converting one of the thousand beautiful counted cross stitch designs on your own (just remember to pay for them!) :D