And page 19:


More doodles from my notebooks, both old and recent, but I have not published any of these before.

The interlace in #112 reminds me a lot of some of the more famous portraits of Henry VIII, but there’s nothing on any of them that is a direct parallel, and nothing about it that would limit its use to Henry’s lifetime. It would be killer done either infilled in gold, or on a voided background, perhaps on a book cover, pouch or sweet bag. Sweet bags were sort of like Elizabethan/Stuart gift wrapping. They were little decorative purses used to convey small presents. Similar small stitched bags were sometimes used as needlework tool kits (occasionally they come with a matching pincushion), or to hold mirrors or other grooming aids.

On the charting tutorial, other than a couple of install queries and a nastygram noting that I’m an idiot for giving away the pattern pages, I’ve had almost no feedback, so I am unsure of what problems folk are facing. I can’t say I can answer every question and I certainly am no computer expert, but I’ll try. And I do have evidence that people are finding these posts useful, so nastywriter – take a hike.

In fact, if anyone is or has done stitching based on these patterns, please feel free to send me a picture or a link. With your permission, I’ll repost the image or the link here in the gallery of works done based on my patterns.

GIMP Charting Tutorial 106 – More Drawing Hints

By now everyone playing along should be able to draw. Here are some more methods and hints:

A way to erase: Select the Pencil tool from the Toolbox. In its settings window, choose

Mode: Color Erase

Now draw a new line on top of the segment you want to disappear. This is very useful for small touch-ups rather than wholesale deletions.

Another way to erase: Select the Eraser tool from the Toolbox (looks like a little piece of pink bubblegum). Set the brush size to something larger than the Circle(01) setting we use for drawing. Make sure the Hard Edge box is checked. Drag the eraser over the part that needs to go. Not quite as fine-tuned as the method above, but effective.

Yet another way to erase: Use one of the selection tools (the square, circle, lasso, wand or color select icons at the top of the Toolbox) to highlight the offending bit. Hit your delete key.

To flip (aka mirroring):

Select the bit you want to flip. <ctrl>C to copy and <ctrl>V to paste. The area selected will look all twinkly, and you’ll note the creation of a new temporary layer in your layer toolbox:


Now with the area to be flipped all twinkly, click on the Flip icon in the Toolbox:


Note that I’ve got the first option under Affect selected – that flips the entire (temporary) layer where the bit I just pasted lives. That flips my image over. Now comes a tricky bit. One would think that once the bit has been flipped, it can be easily dragged into place. Not reliably so. I’m not sure why, but switching to the Move icon (the four-way arrow) and trying to drag the bit around doesn’t work. What I usually do is after flipping the image so that it’s in the orientation I want, and while it’s still twinkly, I use <ctrl>X to cut it into the paste buffer, then paste it back into the drawing with <ctrl>V. NOW I can mouse over it until I get the movement icon (looks like a four-way arrow) to drag it into position.

Here’s the result of copying, pasting, flipping, then re-cutting, pasting and finally nudging into place a simple heart:


It sounds complex, but since most of the work is control-key or arrow presses (see tweaking, below), it’s really quite quick and easy.

To tweak alignment:

Sometimes when a pasted, rotated, or moved bit is inserted into the drawing it ends up being out of alignment on the grid. This is because the selection box is constrained in size so that even if its origin is on the grid, its termination is one pixel shy. However, fixing minor alignment problems is easy. Select your offending bit (the lower heart in the sample below), and use your keyboard arrow keys to nudge it into place. Again, like in Flip, I have the best success doing this by selecting, <ctrl>X to cut, <ctrl>Y to paste, then using the arrow keys to nudge the pasted bit into place. Please don’t ask me why the Move command doesn’t seem to work reliably for this. I haven’t a clue.


Again similar to Flip. Select the bit to be rotated and copy/paste it to create a temporary layer. Click on the rotate tool, then on the twinkly selected pasted area. The rotate dialog box will appear:


Rather than drive myself nuts trying to freehand rotate, I type my desired angle into the Angle box in the rotate dialog. In our case that’s an easy 90, 45 or 180 degrees. Usually 90. Then I click on the “Rotate” button in the Rotate dialog box.

The selected bit will appear in its new orientation. For whatever reason, moving the image post rotation is better behaved than moving it post-Flip. I can usually click immediately on the rectangular selection tool (first in the Toolbox), then mouse around to get the move indicator, and arrow the still twinkly rotated selection into place. Here’s the just rotated image, prior to final tweaking:


And here’s the same image, after I’ve nudged the two new petals (at 9:00 and 3:00) into final position using my arrow keys.


Anchoring temporary or floating windows: Sometimes I end up with a floating or temporary window that I want to merge into my main pattern area. Easy. <ctrl>H nails it down.

Deselecting all selection boxes: Sometimes I want to pencil in a line, but click as I might, no line appears. What’s usually happened is that I’ve got a selection box active somewhere. <Shift><ctrl>A will turn off any that might be in use.

So ends this basic GIMP charting tutorial. We’ve only touched on some of the simplest options and commands available in GIMP, but covered most of the tools needed for this type of charting. I will leave color selection to you, but I’ll report back when I’ve figured out cloning via the Stamp tool. Please let me know if you have found this to be useful.

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6 responses

  1. Everything I’ve had a chance to try has worked. May have taken a couple of tries, but hey…I’m learning. : ) I’m looking forward to being able to chart out a few things from my books.

    As for the ‘nastygram’ writer? Apparently she doesn’t grasp the concept of ‘generosity’. thpt

    Hugs! : )

  2. Nearly two years after you posted this tutorial, it’s still working with my version of GIMP, and I found it extremely helpful. Thank you!

    1. Happy to be of help! I’m still using this method on a daily basis. If GIMP changes enough so that charting this way no longer works, I’ll be sure to post an update. In the mean time, please feel free to share a sneak peek at your charts. I’d get a kick out of seeing what you were up to. Thanks! -K.

  3. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I have been searching for an embroidery method for which to stitch my designs, and finally decided upon cross-stitch. “Now, silly… how do you make the design to use on Aida?”. I downloaded GIMP a couple of weeks ago, and your tutorial is JUST what I needed, so thank you, thank you, thank you!
    I do have one question however. The final design once drawn in GIMP– do you have a specific method of transfer onto Aida that works for you? I’d be curious of your answer.
    Thanks again! 🙂

    1. Delighted to have been able to help.

      I don’t transfer my designs onto my ground cloth. Because they are counted, I copy them from the graph, using the natural weave of the fabric as a grid. I usually determine the center point of the drawn design and the center point of my cloth and work from there. in general, one box of the drawn chart = one stitch unit on my fabric. This should be particularly easy on Aida because the blocks in its weave are so prominent. It’s slightly harder on even weave plain linen, where you have to keep track of the individual threads of the warp and weft. (Hint for starting out on plain weave – stitch over 2×2 threads, that’s much easier than over 1×1, 3×3 or higher or skew counts).

      Some people use a contrasting color thread, basting it in to mark the horizontal and vertical center of the piece. If you do this, I recommend a light color plain sewing thread, to minimize the chance of color rub-off or fuzz when you take it out.

      Hope this helps, -K.

      1. It did, and it will continue to help! Thank you so much. You are a wonderful teacher.

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