Its that time of year again.. The 2017 editions have been out for 6 months, and we issued 18 updates so far, with some new features. But we like to get a bundle of brand new things ready for the 2018 edition, and this is the time of year when the new features list is finalised and work begins. So if you have a great idea that you want to see in our software, now is the time to tell us. We cant promise every new idea will make it (for example we still havent found a way to get the cloth to go through your printer!;> ) but if we like it, we’ll do our best to do it for you. Email now!
We like this:
Heres a link to a chart by our favorite polymath Viv Powers. Check out her work on http://www.vivsters.com!
Happy weekend … Easter is not far, if you interest to make some Easter craft!! this 2 little bunnies are good to try ~ 💖🐰🐰💖 #crossstitchersofinstagram #crossstitcher #crossstitch #xstitch #xstitchersofinstagram #needlework #happyeaster #needlepoint #stitch #happyweekend #redbeardesign
Windows version running slow?
Many apps, ours included , can be brought to a crawl by external applications. If your program is running slowly, check out what your virus checker is doing: it may be interrogating every file opened or saved.
DropBox, a popular storage system , is a real performance killer if it is trying to duplicate files while you work. Ditto OneDrive, so check your settings for those to make sure that they arent constantly churning away in the background handling everything you do. Let them update only periodically and you will see things improve in lots of your apps!
Day 8 - Where #marchmeetthemaker⠀
The North East of England is where I hail from - I love it!⠀
Here’s my (just for fun!) little homage to Newcastle and Gateshead in the style of Pretty Little Cities. http://ift.tt/2n6YGfw
Our home town too. Lovely work. I’m sure the Tyne never looked quite so inviting when I was a lad.. :)
General Leia Organa
How cool is this?
Backstitch letter issue
Since January, we are sorry to find that some of the new lowercase letters in the backstitch fonts have been shown to be corrupted in the build.
We are working to fix those as fast as we can.
New DMC Stitchable Mesh
DMC have a new ‘fabric’.. stitchable mesh. Its a bit like tapestry cloth, but in smaller hpi. Silver one side, gold the other, it looks like it could help create some great works.
We really liked this from the ‘Scrap Shoppe’ blog:
(Ursa Software was not sponsored for this post)
We had some downtime last week. No-one likes that, but the company we had been using for our site had become unreliable, and support was almost non-existant. When the site went down, it was the last straw. We changed hosts, and we have been amazed at the Service , and the speed of the new site. Finding our site speedy? We genuinely recommend SiteGround.
If you want a faster site, please click on the link below and talk to them.
(yes, we get a small referral fee if you use this, but we would recommend them even if there wasnt!)
Auto-Tabbing in Sierra
In MacOS Sierra, a new feature was introduced that changes the way new windows are opened. It groups your document windows together and presents them as tabs, much as you will have seen in browsers such as Safari and Chrome.
This is a setting in preferences, and can be set to ‘never’, ‘only when full screen’, and ‘Always’
MacStitch will be affected by this setting if you have it set to ‘Always’.
However, when tabs are turned on, MacOS doesn’t tell MacStitch that the window size has changed. Buttons at the bottom of the window will be invisible. To correct that, please slightly resize the window by dragging the corner by a pixel or so. Versions of MacStitch from December 2016 onwards wont be affected by this.
Cross Stitching on Crochet.. we love it!
This is amazing. Oversized canvas and large crosses of wool / cotton.
Source: charlotte lancelot : the Canevas collection for GAN
What could YOU make?
Well, this was interesting.. DMC threads being made. (French with English subtitles)
One question we get asked a lot is ‘If I have a desktop and a laptop, do I need to buy two copies’.
No.. we are happy for you to install MacStitch or WinStitch on both the computers you own.. we know people often go out taking laptops with them for example.
If you want a copy of MacStitch AND WinStitch, we can do that for you at a huge discount.. just send an email and we can tell you about it. :)
Upgrading to 2016
We do a variety of program levels, including Std and Premium. Until now, if you had an old program and wanted to upgrade to a new one, you had to upgrade to the Premium edition at the same time.
Well, we’re happy to report that due to popular demand (well, a couple of nice emails..) , we’ve added a link to allow you to move from MacStitch Std or WinStitch Std to the 2016 equivalent for a small charge.
So if you dont need to invest in Premium, now you don’t have to!
The upgrade page is at: http://ursasoftware.com/buynow/upgradesfs/index.html
Block 12 was a quick stitch. Half of the sampler is done at this point 😊
Really nice work here. The odd spot of color adds interest to the piece, too. :)
OSX 10.12 beta
The next version of OSX is in beta and due out soon. Apple have introduced new more stringent security measures to check downloaded apps (following a case last year where someone managed to create malware versions of some Apple code)
We know that under OSX 10.12, downloaded programs can sometimes be ‘super examined’ , causing them to take much longer to start.
This is likely to affect MacStitch, so if you decide to use OSX 10.12 beta, please expect beta issues like this. We are working on it.
Getting ‘Copy and Paste’ just right.
When you copy an area and go to paste it, the pasted motif is ‘held’ at the centre of the area. You can move it around under control of the mouse, and then click to place it where you want.
If the mouse gets close to the edge of the grid area, it will scroll to allow you access to previously hidden parts of the design.
But when you are zoomed in , the number of squares on screen could be small, so any scrolling will look like large ‘jumps’
Placing a pasted area no longer needs to be ‘right first time’.
If you paste as a LAYER then what is pasted is not ‘fixed in place’
Just click on it, and it will appear with a green selection border. Use the mouse to drag it where you want, square by square if you need to.
(To paste as a Layer, use CMD-L or CTRL-L instead of CMD-V or CTRL-V)
Poro keyrings. :)
Cute and quick.. if you are looking for gift ideas, keyrings like these little gems could be just the thing!
Fuzzy Symbols in the PDF?
If the symbols in the Advanced PDF export are ‘fussy’ or indistinct, check the ‘Quality’ settings on the PDF export screen. This optrion sets how much compression is applied to images in the PDF.
Low quality gets a smaller file, but fuzzy symbols.
High quality gets better looking output.
The option is on the ‘Metadata’ tab:
Peacock & Fig A link
Dana Bathos’ new blog site: worth a look around.. :)
Jenny Eclair: I'm a picture of contentment doing tapestry A link
Comedian Jenny Eclair on why tapestry is a great antidote to being a grumpy old woman!
A work in progress showcase of Fox Foxes cross stitch pattern
Trouble getting updates?
In 2016 we added automatic checking for updates to our apps. When an update is detected, you are offered a download button on the launch page. This should download the new installer, launch it, and quit the app.
Sadly, we are hearing from some people that the download finishes but the installer doesn’t automatically begin. :(
While we look into why, if this happens to you, the installer has been downloaded to your desktop.. a new icon will have appeared there.
Double click that to install the update, (or drop us an email if you are having trouble so that we can build up a picture of where it works and where it doesn’t!)
(n.b. - on the Mac we download and open a disc image file which will appear in Finder like this:
It contains the app, which should be dragged into Applications to replace your existing version.
Another present for a special person. A mashup of the #cloudsfactory pattern with my own micro-snitch. #cross #crossstitching #crossstitch #crossstitcher #crossstitched #stitching #stitcher #stitch #stitches #sewn #sew #sewer #sewing #x #xstitch #xstitching #xstitched #embroidery #embroidered #embroidered #embroiderer #harrypotter #hedwig #gryffindor #hogwarts
We really like this Harry Potter themed piece!
My Key is messed up in the PDF!
Over the years, it has become clear that whatever output we generate in the PDF files generated by Premium edition, someone somewhere will always want something ever so slightly different. :) So, each year we add new options to allow people to get things the way they like them. (Obviously, the more options we add, the more complex things get, and that can be a problem too.) But last year we introduced a great new feature for the KEY in a PDF file.. you can choose the columns you want, change the widths, change the actual words and more.
And so, given all the ways that can be set up, sometimes what you get is a surprise. Typically when a column is too narrow to hold the words, causing the table to expand to fit, vertically.
Here is an example of that kind of surprise:
The estimated length column is far too narrow for the words ‘Estimated length’, so the grid expands to include it.
The way to correct this is on the PDF export page, where you can amend the column widths, and even change the text if you wish. You do that by dragging the column headers left or right to rebalance the column widths.
(see the blue text in the picture above)
Customising a PDF
Everyone is different. We often get asked if we can amend the PDF output to meet a particular need, how to add notes / comments, annotations and so on.
Well, we just discovered that Preview on the Mac has a terrific set of simple tools that allow you to do just that, where previously you might have had to buy Adobe or some other PDF editor.
Just open the PDF in preview, and choose ‘Tools’ from the menu.
Then you will get a new toolbar with options to add lines, boxes, shapes, text in a variety of colors, and even a funky magnifying glass option that zooms in on an area of the PDF.
Here’s a PDF with some scribblings added.
You can see red text added in text boxes (one is rotated). We hand-drew the word ‘Hello’, the arrow line is also a bezier curve, and the black circle on the left is a magnifying glass tool.
Red Heart Threads
Red Heart yarns are popular in the USA, mainly due to their wide availability and keen pricing. They have a much smaller range of colors than DMC etc, but we do often get asked whether we have the colors included in the product.
With thanks to Teresa Pendino, a set of threads has now been created, holding 57 ‘solid’ colors.
To add these to your installation, download the linked zip file , and unzip it to create red_heart.threads
Then pop the red_heart.threads file into documents/macstitch/threads folder (on the mac) or My Documents/winstitch/threads (on windows)
Templates: how to create new ones
We supply some sample templates with the program: cutout shapes to match frames and more. If you want to add new ones, there are two ways to do that.
The simplest way is to start a chart: pick a size, cloth color, etc, set the palette of colors the way you want it, and then simply use the File menu and ‘Save as Template’. That will make your saved file show up in the list of templates when the program starts.
But we have a second type: an example being the BELL framework example. These use an onionskin image of the correct shape for a specific frame. If you choose that kind of template, the final size is fixed, and so the number of stitches needs to change if you use a different hpi cloth.
If you want to create that kind of template, create an image like our Bell, with a plain background and a simple line outline. Save that image in the documents/macstitch/templates folder as a PNG file. (eg bookmark.png)
Then you would need to add a new entry to the text file called templates.xml in the same folder.
One of the existing templates looks like this:
<TEMPLATE><DESCRIPTION>FRMWK Xmas Tree Frame (TREE)</DESCRIPTION><WIDTH>30</WIDTH><HEIGHT>40</HEIGHT><BACKGROUND>tree.png</BACKGROUND></TEMPLATE>
(The sizes are the right number of stitches for a 14hpi cloth.)
Just copy that, paste a new entry, and amend the name, size , and background values to match your needs. Any trouble? Just ask..
Guide Lines..or (whats that pink line about?)
At the top and right of the visible grid are rulers showing the size in inches/cm, or the row count. If you click on the ruler, a pink bar will appear across the grid. This is a useful way to line up objects on opposite sides of the chart. Click again to turn it off.
We do get emails from people who turn that on by accident and keep trying to ‘erase the pink stitches’.
But recently we heard from a customer (Hi Pat!) who wanted to have more than one vertical or horizontal line. We’re considering that for a future release, but it may we worth mentioning that we already have a multi-line guide.
In the View menu, under Guide, you can select 9, 16, and 25 guidelines. This overlays the design with several ‘pink lines’ to help you line your stitches up.
Flood fill many areas at once
By default, the program pastes motifs and flood fills one time only. If you need to flood fill a number of areas, you have to click the icon again.
In the example shown below, there are several spots of yellow (shown with a star) that you might want to change to another color, such as white.
When you click to fill, it only fills the stitches of the color you clicked on, and stitches of the same color which touch those. If you have little pockets of color, it fills one pocket at a time.
There are two things that will help here.
First: in the Preferences screen there is an option ‘Stop on first click after paste/flood fill /outline’ That option is ticked by default, so untick it. Note that this means that when you paste or flood fill, it will keep doing it until you click on something like the full cross icon to choose to stop.
Second: in the case of our hen above. you may be better using ’search and replace’
If you select an area (rectangular or lasso), then go to the Palette/search and replace menu , you can tell the program to replace all of the yellow stitches by a white chosen from the palette. This will replace all the yellow by white within the selected area only.. so no need to flood fill many little areas, it will do them all at once.
Diagonal Stitched Crochet
We had a number of enquiries about Diagonal layout Tunisian Crochet. Its an odd style of working (see the diagram example below), but we are happy to report this as a new feature introduced today! Hope you like it!
We recently had a query asking if we would support over-dyed threads, such as Weeks Work, Gentle Arts, and Crescent, because they are popular in the USA.
These threads are already included with the full program.. (we just didn’t list all of them on the website).. :)
Printing, paper quality & thin lines
The most common printers these days are inkjet printers, which work by spraying fine jets of color onto the paper. But unless you invest in coated paper, which has a fine chalky surface designed for inkjets, you are probably using photocopying style paper, which is much more absorbant.
For cross stitch patterns, especially where the grid lines are thin, this means two things: colors can bleed out and look ‘fuzzy’ when printed. Thin detail lines can be swamped from nearby colors. So use coated paper if you can get it, and print in ‘photo quality’ which prints slower and allows the ink to dry a little between passes.
Another common message we get is that the thin lines dont show up at all. You can see them on screen, but not on the paper. This is caused by having the printer set to low quality or economy mode. It has a number of dots-per-inch settings, and if it is working at a low number of dots per inch, our very fine black line will be ignored among a few dots of white when the printer is deciding what to print. So again, use high quality or photo printing style.
If the lines are too thin, increase the line thickness in the program itself before you print. (and dont try to get too many symbols on the page because that makes the symbols smaller and the lines thinner, too! ) :>
Black and White Charts
We often get asked about stitching greyscale or pure black and white charts. These are simpler to achieve than you might expect. It helps if you can get the photo as black and white first, (but if you have color images, our Premium edition has a small image editor that converts to greyscale, among other things)
The trick is to import using a PALETTE of colors instead of a full thread range. When you use a set of threads, you give the program full range and it will often end up with the odd purple or green here and there which you dont want.
But if you use our greyscale.palette file, it only includes black, white, and greys. The program is forced to use just these and so you get clean greyscale. For pure black and white, just delete the grey colors from that palette , save the palette as blacknwhite.palette, and then use that when importing.
The image will be stark, but can only include black and white stitches!
That feeling when you get to start a brand new cross stitch project
Love this cheerful design! Just in time for the summer (in this hemisphere, anyway…!)
My windows program won’t start..?
This is always due to a ‘too keen’ virus checker. Windows defender is often the culprit, but the ‘worst’ offender is Avast Anti-virus. Our programs are supplied virus free and codesigned for safety, but some virus checkers have a list of programs they know, and if they dont have ours on their list, it can take ages for them to decide whether to allow them to start. We dont advocate turning off a virus checker, but if this occurs for you, you can add an exclusion for our software, or disable just the ‘reputation services’ option (which slows the system down too)
Cant download a DMG File?
“Hi.. when I try to download the DMG file, all I see is a page full of odd characters”
This is caused by your browser (Safari?) not recognising a DMG as a ‘binary’ file to be downloaded: it is trying to display it as a web page. Either use ctrl-click and ‘save file as’, or use a different browser such as Chrome or Firefox.
Where did the navigator go?
We had an email today saying “I miss the navigator window” Well, it isn’t gone, its just not on the toolbar these days! Click the little monitor option at the bottom of the palette, and the palette will be temporarily replaced by the navigator view. And its now resizable!
Just a note: we’re looking to improve the range and usage of backstitched alphabets soon. If you have any you designed and would like to see incorporated, please get in touch!
Something I stitched up recently, was a quick and happy project 😊
PDF output from everything..
Although we have ‘advanced PDF’ output from Premium editions, people often ask how to get PDF from the other editions. The good news is that it is certainly possible to get a PDF from all of our software.
On the mac, when you go to print, we have an export to PDF there, and on all current Macs, if you preview what you print in any program, you can save from the preview screen as a PDF. Easy!
On Windows, our Lite edition doesnt have the export to PDF, but you can still get one by installing a ‘PDF Printer’ such as CutePDF or PDF995.. both free and easy to install. Need help? Just ask!