Money: - Serioiusly, these projects are wonderfully cheap. $3.00 for a hoop, $1.75 for the cloth, $1.50 for the needles, and $1.75 for seven thread colors. Literally $8 for the entire thing!
Effort: - I had some experience with stitching before and this was a good way to get back into it.
Suggested Music: Final Fantasy 20020220
Suggested TV: Final Fantasy: Unlimited
So, I called this Sprite Stitching and I'm sure you all think that portmanteau (Wiki Word of the Week) is pretty spiffy. If you've never seen cross-stitching, at it's most basic level it looks like the analog version of pixel art. And with that in mind, I decided to test it out with an easy project - a small set of 8-bit sprites. Here is the pattern I put together -
What has now, due to 8-Bit Theater, become the classic set of Light Warriors. If nothing else, they make for a nice combination of all 7 colors that make up the FF1 characters. Now, I don't have a full cross-stitching guide, but I can at least give you a few starter ideas.
First off all, lemme show you how to make a pattern from a sprite. First of all, you need to find a ripped sprite sheet. The one I'm using was posted by WaxPoetic at The Shyguy Kingdom. For our tutorial, I'll show you how to make a pattern for Black Belt and White Mage in case you'd rather do them then the boys I used.
So using a program like Photoshop or something, you'll put the sprites together in whatever postion you want. I kept with them facing to the left and arranged in a vertical line as per the battle screens in FF1. Flatten the image and then Select-All and Copy...
..and Paste into Paint. Now, why Paint? Because when you zoom to 800% and then turn on the grid (Ctrl+G) it does these 1 pixel squares which are perfect for counted cross-stitch. Anyway, you will Print Screen (that "Prnt Scrn" key next to Number Lock) and then go back to Photoshop (or hell even a new Paint window) and paste to a new file. Trim out the excess and you get...
A finished pattern! Now you can enlarge it further from here, but I find that you can simply view the image at 200% or 400% in an imaging program that you keep open while you stitch.
Moving on, let's go into the thread colors I used. My local Hobby Lobby carries DMC thread which I, as a gamer, find to be hilarious. (Am I the only one who would love to see Dante happily sewing with some DMC thread?) So here is my color list -
White - ...Blanc
Black - ...310 Black. ~_~
Red - 349 Dark Coral
Peach - 3774 Spanish Flesh
Blue - 518 Light Wedgewood
Yellow - 676 Old Gold
Tan - 680 Old Dark Gold
For Cloth, I'm using 14 count Aida cloth. For those who do not know (self-included at first) the lower the count number the bigger the squares. 16 is the most common, and 14 is fairly common as well. At 14 count, 10 pixels = 1/2 inch.
So let's get into the basic anatomy of a stitch -
We have the start of Black Mage right underneath Red Mage - you can see the tip of his hat right there. Now, I use a plastic hoop because it's just cheaper and more practical.
So, using Black Mage as our tutorial, I'll show a bit of how to stitch something like a sprite. Now, if you want a real guide about cross-stitching in general, check out DMC's Learning Center. But for our puposes this will suffice.
Now usually, the edges of a cross-stitch are done as "Back-stitching" where one strand of black outlines the color portions. However, because it stays truer to the sprite (and would be really hard to modify in most cases) I do black as full squares no matter what. Because if it's weighted the same as the other colors on a sprite, so it shall be on fabric! ^_^
Anyway, you want to do all the stitches in the same direction. Though, with black you can fudge a bit. I go Top-Left to Bottom-Right on the first stitch with all of my stitching. With the black outline, I find it works best to complete each square one at a time to reduce traveling. And, I'll say this for every cross-stitching project - Count, Count, Count! Count before you start any new rows or columns! And always re-count. Hell, I make up lil mnemonic devices to make sure I count right. Because trust me - nothing is more fustrating than having to undo your stitches.
Once the outline is finished, we can start filling in the colors. For this, you'll want to stitch the whole row going one way and then...
...stitch back in the opposite direction. This is very economic and makes doing rows much easier.
Basically, you're just going to go through and fill in the whole sprite, one color at a time. I go from the most common to least common color as I work.
Keep at it for one sprite a day, you will have...
A completed set! As you can see, I still have a few mistakes, but I think it looks good overall.
Here is a side-by-side comparison to let you see how well it translates.
Anyway, I'm working on a 16-bit sprite and I'll let you all know how it turns out! ^_^