Having made many simple striped shaped and having advanced to a striped heart, I decided to try something more complicated. I sketched a simple mountain scene to fit in a small square and started filling it in with stripes of color to see how it would turn out. I started with the trees and then the sky since they where simpler.
At this point I showed it to a friend. Her jaw dropped and she said "You should be selling patterns". Her words echoed in my mind as I continued. I decided to make the mountains brown with a tint of purple. The lake was the most difficult. I went through years of accumulated mountain pictures looking at lakes deciding what color it should be. Lakes are reflected color and don't seem to have a color of their own. I decided to go with lighter versions of the rest of the colors and add some simple reflections. Luckily, it resembled a lake when I was done.
"You should be selling patterns" was still echoing in my mind. To sell a pattern it must be reproducible. I have a box of overdyed threads. Most have become separated from their labels over the years. Even if I took them to the needlework store to compare with the racks of floss, could I even find the color again? I decided on a different approach. I would have to make it again using only what I could identify and this time take notes.
That was not fun. In fact, it was rather painful. First trying to duplicate all the colors and then keep track of the colors I used and in what rows. 14 square per inch graph paper is nice, because the sketch will be the same size as the finished product, but I really should have used bigger graph paper. In other ways I did make it easier upon myself. This time I used 14 count Aida cloth instead of 32 linen so there was a little more room to work with. Still things where tight and I had to be careful. Every thread has 2 ends which need to be woven in and it got difficult finding places to do this.
And finally the front of the simplified version. There are fewer colors - you can definitely see it in the sky - but otherwise it is close enough to the original.
I had bit the bullet and purchased cross-stitch design software and practiced with some simpler designs. After all, if I am going to be selling patterns they need to look good and graph paper won't cut it any more.
I had to take my scribbled notes and get them into the computer. That was several more painful and tedious sessions. I didn't use up all the available symbols, but I made a big dent in them. I discovered symbols in my notes I couldn't read, discovered missing lines and cursed the design. But I finally got it all in. The finished pattern has the scene twice. Once just the outlines and then just the stripes with blanks in place of the outlines. It's much easier to follow that way. After all, the pattern has to be reproducible.
At this point I have done the chart 4 times. I've stitched it twice, charted it on paper and charted it in the computer. All 4 are slightly different (count the number of sky rows on top of the big tree).
And, yes, my friend got her wish. This pattern is available, if you are brave enough to try it, at patternonline.com. Since then I have reviewed my landscape photos and taken more with an eye towards more striped landscapes. But, I haven't been brave enough to start attempt one yet.