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Downloading Cross Stitch Patterns

Downloading cross stitch patterns more and more seems easy and obvious choice but that’s not always true. There are technical issues to consider.

One Sad Story

I bought an elaborate cross stitch pattern with something like 90 colors. It was huge. I knew I would have to have it spread everywhere to be able to see the entire thing and switch between pages. So, when I saw it was offered as a download, I got the bright idea that it would be better to buy it as a download then use my Android pad to view the pattern. Heck, I could just scroll back-and-forth instead of having papers, everywhere. Plus, with the pad, I can just zoom-in. And, of course, with a huge pattern, you need to use a highlighter to show what you’ve finished. With such a large pattern and tiny symbols, that would just be so handy to do.

Downloading Cross Stitch Patterns: Reality Check

Wow! What a pipe dream! That’s not how it turned out.

First of all, with 90-ish colors in the patterns, I needed to see those at the same time I saw the pattern. That’s how complex it is. So, I printed out the pages with the colors and symbols.

Then, I realized that I couldn’t find the right (and free) software that BOTH let me zoom and let me highlight the screen.

Lots of time and effort passed without doing a single stitch as I tried a variety of apps.

On top of all this, I also realized that the resolution of my Android pad wasn’t that great – if I zoomed close-enough to read the symbols on my pad screen, the symbols became unreadable.

So, guess what?! If you guessed that I went back to my desktop computer with the big screen and great resolution, zoomed on it all and printed it, instead, you’d be correct. I now have EIGHT pages of chart that I shuffle between AND FOUR pages of colors/symbols. AND the resolution of some of the symbols doesn’t properly show-up in the print, either, so I keep the pad around to occasionally check a blurred symbol.

Next Sad Story

I live far-away from stores. Even before the COVID-19 virus hit, a lot of my chart shopping was on-line. I normally buy paper charts but do occasionally buy downloads.

In any case, I saw the Margaret Sherry cross stitch collection advertised and I knew I wanted that. But I couldn’t find a paper copy to purchase, on-line. So, I decided to buy the download.

Unlike any other download I purchased that came as a PDF, this doesn’t count as a chart download but as a magazine. So, it didn’t come as a PDF, it came in a format that required me to install magazine software.

This irritated me so I looked for a way to print it as a PDF. That’s possible but only two pages at a time. And, if you do that and then pull it into your PDF reader, it gives a gap between the pages – it doesn’t display the way the pages displayed in the original chart in the magazine. So, you’ve got these big gaps.

While gaps are normal in larger charts, that’s usually only true of the pattern, itself. In a “magazine” you might have a picture of the final product that spans pages. So, in these formats, when you try to convert to PDF, it leaves you with a big gap in the picture of what’s supposed to be the final product.


There are a lot of downloadable charts out there. Many are actually PDF formats. But just beware that some aren’t. Some are going to require other readers.

In addition, extremely large, complicated charts remain a challenge.

While there are a variety of cross-stitch apps out there, I have not yet run into any that solve these issues, although they could exist. However, regardless how good the app is, there are still limitations caused with the resolution of the machines we’re using.

For me, my desktop computer has the resolution necessary to allow me to zoom and stitch even my most complex pattern. However, it’s not set in a place where that’s convenient. On the other hand, I can put my Android pad in a convenient place by my craft tables but doesn’t have the resolution.

It’s a bit of a Catch-22. So, for now, I continue to sit among the papers with my highlighter in my hand.

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