When we convert photographs to charts there are some basic rules that apply which impacts just how much detail can be included into the chart.

Finding out the dpi of your image

Number of colours versus detail achieved

Photo size versus fabric count

Each photo is made up from dots of colour which are known as pixels. We recommend that photos for conversion are on average around 100 pixels per inch or dpi (dots per inch), but more dpi does not cause us a problem.

Calculating the dpi of a photograph

Aida fabric count means the number of holes per inch and the most popular counts are 14, 16 or 18 count. 14 count has 14 holes/stitches per inch, 16 has 16 per inch and 18 has 18 per inch.

This means that a photo can have much more detail in a small area compared to a chart for cross stitching.

So, for example, to get an exact like for like comparison of detail in a chart to a photograph which measures 5 x 5 inches you would need to use the following amount of fabric:

14 Count = approximately 35 inches

16 Count = approximately 31 inches

18 Count = approximately 27 inches

You can see that the 18 count would get more detail onto a smaller piece of fabric.

Obviously, in most cases the examples above would not be workable due to the size of the fabric and the amount of stitching required. So, to reduce the amount of fabric and stitching needed we have three options:

1. We concentrate the design on a more targeted area of the photograph rather than the full image, we do this by cropping the photo to just use the focus of the photo.

Original image Cropped Image

2. We choose a fabric count with more holes per inch.

  14 Count (10.7 x 9 inches)
16 Count (9.3 x 7.8 inches)
18 Count (8.3 x 7 inches)

3. We accept the reduction of detail in the design.

It is interesting to note that any of these stitched designs look better from a distance, this is because the brain fills in the extra information that is missing and cannot be seen when you are closer to it.