Nerdlepoint Pattern Chart

I really like how QRcodes —cryptic, digital, unintelligble — are at one extreme end of the “real versus digital” numberline, and needlepoint — dense, wooly, handmade — is way way waaaaay at the other end of that same numberline. I get a little bit of a worlds-colliding, mad-scientist thrill when I can coax a URL and a target website out of a piece of starched canvas and wool. Especially when I can do it using a frickin laser beam.

I’ve been generating QRcodes using the Kaywa tool, after trying some of the others. The javascript rails plugin doesn’t seem able to create the smallest version of code, and Swetake’s Perl/PHP tool generated images that crashed my iPhone’s alpha reader. The Kaywa generator is very easy to use: put in a URL, get a .png file back, which you can save. Then you can zoom that file up to a zillion percent in Photoshop and start transferring to canvas. By hand, painting each thread intersection with black acrylic paint.

The hard part of the pointing process, for me, is figuring out EXACTLY where to mark the canvas. Because on the computer screen or on a printout, a box is “between” the coordinates, but on the canvas, the box is on top of the intersection between two threads, so it’s “on” the coordinates. So when I’m painting the canvas, I’m always scratching my head and thinking “wait, the pixel is HERE, so I’ll paint the intersection that’s up… and to the right…” and it’s oddly draining. Especially when I’m using four stitches to represent one box, so it’s a little bit arguable where the first junction should be.

I’ve tried adding lots of red reference lines to the canvas, to match red lines that I’ve drawn on the chart. This clutters up the canvas. Actual needlepointers stitch threads into the canvas to mark lines, then pull them out later. That solves the clutter problem, but even the red lines don’t help me with the “always up and to the right” mental gymnastics, and so I’m reluctant to baste in marker threads.

Inspired by the really excellent pattern charts included in AMH Design’s kits, I took some time to start a pattern chart in OmniGraffle, which should look an awful lot more like the canvas than a flat stitch chart. This diagram is for a version 1 QRcode, which is the smallest possible size at 21 modules wide:

Nerdlepoint Stitch Diagram (completed)

It was fun to make (for some definitions of “fun”), but I’m not really sure how much this chart will help me. For instance, cross-stitchers apparently have no problem doing the mental juggling between boxes-between-the-lines and boxes-on-the-lines, because they work from stitch charts without ever painting the canvas. Maybe it’s just my spatial-relations challenge that makes that part of the process seem so confusing.

UPDATE: Hey, looks like this meme is breaking! My colleague Todd Bender linked to me and an article in about QRcodes in today’s NY Times that mentions the needlepoint pillow top. Cool!

2 responses to “Nerdlepoint Pattern Chart”

  1. On the meeting of old tech and new tech: my too-cool-for-me phone (yet not cool enough for many)– the Rizr– records what I tell it too– so now the fancy phone rings old time (me, cluck ol hen, banjo) or irish- (whit, road to lisdoonvarna, cello). I love that juxtaposition.


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