Inspired  in part by Hastings Sanderson over at Is That an Apres?, who is thinking of embarking on an extensive graphed needlework project, I went out web-walking to see if others were using GIMP for needlework graphs.

In addition to my own set of tutorials on using it for line unit patterns (backstitch, double running, punto scritto, Holbein stitch, etc.) I note this tutorial on using GIMP to transform photos into cross stitch graphs, and a GIMP plug in for that purpose.  I’ve also adapted my method for use with square unit graphs (cross stitch, needlepoint, lacis, burato, knitting), but it’s not as elegant as the commercial programs designed in specific for needlepoint or cross stitch.

However, in all cases, I find very few folk have successfully used GIMP for needlework charting. The most prominent feedback on my method is that few people have the time or patience to establish the base templates.  So, to give others a leg up on creating their own charts, I offer up my base pages.  These are 8.5 x 11 (US letter size) pages, each set up with the layers needed for graphing.  They are intended to be used with the grid spacings and brush sizes specified in my tutorial.  They are based on the ones I’m using right now for T2CM, the sequel to my New Carolingian Modelbook.

Because of WordPress limitations I can’t post the GIMP *.XCF files, so I’ve bundled both the line unit and square unit templates into one standard Windows *.ZIP:


Remember – after opening these templates go back and change your grid spacing and brush sizes to those specified in the GIMP series here.  Then have fun!

5 responses

  1. Hey Kim, Sharon Boggon ( is doing a 6 week class on GIMP now. I think you’ll be getting an influx of readers from the class as I’ve posted this link to the class. It would be cool to see the two of you collaborate sometime, you’re both such incredible artists!

  2. And thank you so much for your base pages. I’m going to try using them in conjunction with the class with Sharon.

  3. Thanks, Julie! I’m very interested to see what she’s come up with. GIMP is a very powerful program with lots of options, and I’m sure our independent discoveries highlight a broader range of capabilities between us than either of us has found alone. I’m looking forward to learning more! -k.

  4. Hi Kim, I just found your GIMP tutorial and templates. I’ve been trying to use GIMP off and on for some time, and I always thought it would have merits for charting knitted lace. I’m really looking forward to spending some time with your tutorial. Thank you so much or all your effort and your generosity in sharing this! If I can make some good charts I’ll share them, as you have so kindly done! – kitty

  5. […] GIMP Charting Tutorial 108. Preconstructed templates to save you time. […]

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