Review by Donna Gorrell

M&R Technologies has created a program that is the answer to every cross-stitcher’s dream. If all you want to do is work from a packaged kit, this program will probably not be for you. On the other hand, if you want to personalize your crafts or have experienced the agony of plotting out a design on graph paper, PCStitch offers the perfect solution.

From our cottage on the St. Lawrence river, we look across to Rock Island lighthouse. There are many patterns for lighthouses, but I’ve yet to find "my" lighthouse. Having taken photos of it from every angle and in various lighting conditions, I can now make a pattern for any item I desire—from switchplate covers to a wall hanging, or even a rug.

PCStitch installs quickly and easily. Within a few minutes you are ready to start creating. You can create your own design by mapping out the squares just as if you were using graph paper, but using the mouse is so much easier and faster than pen and paper. The mouse can sweep over an area and the program also offers mirror stitching which makes it so simple to make a symmetrical design.

The real beauty of PCStitch is its ability to import a graphic image [clip art or photograph] and convert it to a cross-stitch pattern. The colors in the image are mapped to three floss manufacturer’s colors and digitized to your specifications. You choose the dimensions of the pattern, the number of colors you want to use and then the Import Wizard takes over and does all the work.

Once the pattern is created, you can use any number of stitches; full stitch, half stitch, backstitch, and even French knots. If you want to change all the blue stitches to red stitches, just click on the palette and replace one color with another. The design may be viewed using symbols or colors or a combination—it’s your choice.

To add the perfect personalization to my lighthouse pattern, I might want to have the lettering "Rock Island Light" stitched as part of the design. PCStitch can do that, too. True Type fonts can be used or you can design your own alphabets. You choose the style and size of font, type the letters you want, PCStitch then converts the text into your pattern.

If you have a digital camera or scanner, PCStitch can work directly with these devices. Most of the common file formats such as .bmp, .tif, and .jpg are supported.

You can zoom in and out, copy, paste, and undo. Although the program is extremely easy to use, there is an excellent tutorial which I highly recommend using the first time so that you can become proficient without the usual hassle of a learning curve. The tutorial takes you though creating a pattern using the patterns supplied with the program. You can use any of these patterns when creating your own design—you are limited only by your creativity.

A trial version of PCStitch can be downloaded at, or you can order a CD and book online for $39.95 plus shipping. The trial version will allow you to do everything but save and/or print. There are instructions for snail mail purchase on the website in case you do not want to use your credit card online. The program can be purchased locally, but be prepared to pay $10 more.
Thanks to M&R Technologies for providing me with a copy of PCStitch to review. A second copy will be won by a lucky member during the door prize drawing at the March meeting.


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This page was last updated on:
February 2003