Currently Taking a Poll . . .

comments: 140


I posted this photo to Instagram this morning. I took it yesterday as I was working in my office making a master list of names, numbers, and symbols of all of the floss colors I use in my designs. Currently that's 116 different colors. We (well, Andy does this, not me) keep them on 500g cones and pull floss whenever we put kits together. I have never made a master list and it is NOW TIME. So I have been working on that, and it is annoying and tedious to get it all formatted and create all of the little swatches of color/symbol that I use in the key and it is taking me absolutely forever, but in the long run it is going to be brilliant for me to have this without having to reinvent the wheel every time so I soldier on. . . .

But, the question came up at Acorns and Threads the other day about whether "people" (i.e.: you) like black and white cross stitch charts


or whether they prefer symbols over color.

SymbolsOverColor Sample

I was quite astonished to find that all of the (four) people that I asked said they preferred black and white.

 (>ˆ0ˆ<) !!!!

So now I am quite curious. . . .

I have always done my charts in symbols over color, as you see in the second sample, because that is my personal preference. But now I truly want to know: Is it yours, as well? Do you like black and white charts that you can copy easily? Or do you prefer color? Tell me everything. I am listening. (And thank you if you have already left a comment on Instagram!)


I prefer color charts...and i REALLY like the symbols over the colors!

I definitely prefer the symbols on the color. It is so much easier to differentiate between stitches. This is one of the reasons I like your patterns/kits.

I like the colored one and I agree with previous comments that having the symbols makes it easier to see the differences.

I prefer colors with symbols, just as you have done.

I prefer the color chart, definitively.

I like the symbols plus color variety. If I’m working with a black-and-white chart I often pull out the colored pencils and color it myself.

I much prefer the color charts, with symbols over the colors!

colour charts1

colors. it’s nice as a guide for stitching so I can easily see if I’m off, and it helps me with color choice so I can more easily visualize where the colors that are listed in the key go. Thanks for asking!

I haven't done cross stitch in several years, but I always liked the color charts. I found them so much easier to follow than the black and white.

I prefer B/W charts. I make a copy of the page(s) and color in the stitch squares with a colored pencil as I finish a section or row. This helps me keep track of where I am on the chart; and keeps my original chart clean in case I want to make the project again. Thank you for asking!

I prefer symbol over color!! I usually stitch from a tablet so the color is very much preferred. Most of the patterns I have purchased lately have come with both a color version and a black and white version though.

Heather Faulkner says: February 12, 2020 at 01:42 PM

Symbols on color. I've even been known to color patterns I've gotten that were black and white.

black and white

Color charts with symbols are easier to read.

I prefer symbols over color. It is a terrible day when two similar colors also have symbols that are similar. ASK ME HOW I KNOW.

Color please

I like the colored ones, makes it easier to know which thread to search for. If i just have a symbol and a number then i don't know which section to start looking in. Having said that this is most likely because i do giant cross stitches with nearly 100 colors so its hard to find the right one sometimes.

colleen parker says: February 12, 2020 at 03:08 PM

Color.....all the way! Black and White would make me Feels very inefficient.


Personal choice would be a color chart.
It helps me judge if I've missed a color or an area.
Plus it gives me a good idea of color placement if I should want to change a color or substitute a like color.

Well I struggle with all charts as they are usually so small (poor middle-aged eye sight). However I like the use of colours with the symbols. Much jollier in general, plus easier to keep track of. Sometimes colours alone are too similar so it is good to use both colours and symbols together. Black and white especially needs symbols that are easily differentiated from one another, when used in proximity. These days I don't think I could cope at all with black an white.

A universal system standardised over all your floss colours is a good idea, except when it turns out similar looking symbols are going to be next to each other. In that case perhaps the key could be changed for particular designs. (In my head this is similar to when soccer teams have similar colour strips i.e. both white and blue and so people can tell them apart easily on the pitch, one team might wear red just for that match.)

Two votes for symbols on color from my household! ^ ^

Following the color pattern as offered? Then yes, color over symbol is my choice,

The minute I’m changing a color to suit my own tastes, the colored charts mess me up, Were you originally asking people who always follow the pattern’s color suggestions?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


post a comment

About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.