You can design your own cross stitch patterns manually or with the help of computer software. Some software, such as Pattern Creator, provides you with a color chart of thread that includes the brand and color number.
Manually creating a cross stitch design can be done by transferring a selected image onto graph paper and using colored pencils to fill in the design. Creativebug suggests choosing a simple image with only a few colors for beginners. Each square on the graph paper represents a square on the counted cross stitch fabric. Each block is then assigned a symbol to show the color you must stitch there. Choose thread colors to match your symbols.
Specially designed software allows for more detailed images - including photos - to be converted easily into cross stitch patterns. Creativebug cites Hobbyware Pattern Maker Cross-Stitch software and PC Stitch as two examples of user-friendly program choices. Make: and Instructables show how image editing programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, can also be used to create patterns.
Whether you use Photoshop or specialized software, if it is your first time stitching your own image, choose one with few colors, and if possible, a single-color background. Cross stitch pattern programs allow you to preview your design in varying numbers of colors, giving you the opportunity to experiment before settling on the best version of your design.