If you’ve been out recently, you’ve probably come across a piece of technology you’re unfamiliar with: QR codes.
The requirement to be hands-free to stop the spread of COVID-19 has boosted the popularity of this touchless method of data transfer in the previous two years.
They’re likely to stick around because they’re so convenient.
However, QR codes (short for quick response) are making their way onto fabric in addition to stickers and restaurant menus.
Cross-stitch is the newest QR code medium, and it’s causing quite a stir among crafters.
What exactly is a QR code and what can it be used for?
A QR code, like a barcode, carries data in addition to the name and price of a product.
However, because this type of pattern can be read from top to bottom as well as left to right, it can carry a lot more information—up to 4,000 characters.
It’s simple to use them. Whether it’s a plain text message, a webpage, or an app page in your operating system’s app store, open your phone’s camera, center the image, and your device will show the information in the pattern.
What’s the point of cross-stitching?
Cross-stitch has evolved from a prim and respectable hobby to one that may be fairly rebellious in recent years.
People from all over the world are joining a community that appreciates stitching unorthodox, irreverent, or sardonic designs.
This tendency has resulted in the development of a slew of science-themed designs that sit at the crossroads of technology and craft.
Cross-stitchers are always looking for new patterns to stitch, so it’s no wonder that they’ve taken on the challenge of QR codes.
The geometric nature of the codes nearly begs to be replicated using tiny pixel-like stitching.
Select your code’s location.
QR codes can link to a variety of data, ranging from a basic written phrase to a multimedia display, which is why making a cross-stitch design out of them is so much fun.
If you want to try your hand at this trend, start by looking for a simple, yet appealing pattern that, when scanned, produces a classic stitched phrase such as “Home Sweet Home.”
You might embroider a bespoke code to help houseguests identify vital information, such as your Wi-Fi password if you want to raise your game.
QR codes can also be used to enhance the viewing experience of a stitched work of art.
For example, you could sew codes into a project’s corners to take viewers to an online photo album (think family or bridal party gifts) or even a song file (think Happy Birthday on a stitched greeting card).
In case you want to Rick Roll your pals, patterns with seemingly benign images that connect to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” YouTube video are also available.
Finally, if you don’t want to, you don’t have to offer your cross-stitched QR code framed in a hoop.
QR codes can be sewn into anything that can be stitched, such as clothing or a tote bag.
You can use it to make a card or a bookmark, or you can stitch it onto plastic canvas to make a coaster or a patch that you can then sew onto a jacket or a magnet.
Your imagination is the only limit when it comes to various applications.
What is the best way to make my own cross-stitched QR code?
Once you’ve selected what you want to make, there are a few procedures to take to make sure your end product is usable.
Obtain what you require.
If you’re stitching from a tested pattern—which I recommend if you’re new to cross-stitching—you’ll just need to buy the following items to get started: the pattern, a hoop, embroidery thread, needles, and even weave cloth.
Beginners should use Aida instead of linen since the correct holes to stitch through are easier to see.
If you want to be completely confident that your code will be read by devices, use black thread on white fabric.
You can experiment with color to enhance your creation as long as the thread is dark and the fabric is light.
Become a stitching master.
If you’re new to cross-stitching, you’ll be relieved to learn that many patterns provide instructions.
But don’t worry if yours doesn’t: there’s only one type of stitch to perfect in this technique, and then you’re good to go.
You can learn the basics by watching a YouTube demonstration or reading books like Jane Greenoff’s The New Cross Stitcher’s Bible or Jamie Chalmers’ The Mr. X Stitch Guide To Cross Stitch.
Make a QR code for yourself.
If you’re up for a challenge and want to create your QR code, there are a slew of free programs that will do the job for you.
The majority of these apps are similar and will fulfill your needs, so don’t be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options.
Make stitches out of your code.
You’ll need to turn your code into a cross-stitch design once you have a digital file of it.
This sort of cross-stitch (also known as counted cross-stitch) is done without putting the pattern directly onto the fabric, unlike other forms of embroidery.
Instead, you count the number of stitches on the paper or screen and stitch the same quantity onto the material using your design as a map.
I recommend that you test-stitch the code on a scrap of fabric before making your final item, regardless of how you chose to design your pattern.
There is a wide choice of paid and free tools available to assist you to turn your QR code into a pattern.
However, utilizing a computer program adds the additional problem of determining the exact dimensions for your code, which can be time-consuming.
The width of a QR code, for example, influences the best distance from which to scan it, and the amount of data can also influence the size.
If you pursue this way, you’ll need patience, but it’s possible.
You may also print out the QR code and trace a grid over it to use as a guide during stitching.
Filling in the boxes on graph-ruled paper can also be used to convert the image into a pattern.
When you’re ready to start, fold the fabric in quarters and make a small crease at the folded corner to identify the center.
Then, to repeat the code, find the center of your pattern and utilize both points as a reference.
Then, as you get closer to the edges, stitch according to the squares in your pattern’s rows and columns.
The only thing left to do now is a stitch.