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!)


Mary Kaeding says: February 12, 2020 at 05:16 PM

Black and white - best for me.


Color for sure!

I definitely prefer color.

I vote for the color.. it's way more intuitive and would help me immensely. Instead of having to figure out where the color goes, it's right there in front of you. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Black and white is so much easier to follow - maybe i'm easily distracted, but the color charts are often confusing, especially when there's subtle colorations going on, since they make the symbols so much more difficult to see! Many of the charts I get include both options ... you could make everybody happy that way!

Dearest Alicia, I am just reading your post about your very sweet kitty. I am so sorry. A lovely tribute to her and lovely photos. Thank you for sharing at such a incredibly sad time. Remember the memories. I do adore your posts and thank you for being you.

My vote is for symbols with colors.

The color chart with symbols, definitely! :)

Kathleen Poulsen says: February 12, 2020 at 07:07 PM

Symbols. Colors can be very confusing particularly in different lights out when patterns have many colors. One of thing that bothers me is symbols that are not different though

Kathleen Poulsen says: February 12, 2020 at 07:09 PM

Sorry about that typing, it bothers me when symbols are not different enough.

My vote goes to color with symbols! And if it's a really complicated design, I like it when the colors on the chart are altered from the thread colors to show a greater variety of contrast. It's also helpful when the charts aren't printed in a super tiny font/grid.

I love the color and symbol chart! Easier to find my place.
Maybe offer both, especially if you sell as a .pdf?

Definitely colour!

Tracey Sherman says: February 12, 2020 at 08:01 PM

Color, definitely! So much easier to read and follow.

Can you include both types of charts in your patterns? Maybe that is double the work, but it would give people the option to pick their preference. I personally prefer the symbols over color, because it makes it easier for me to stitch.

I am relatively new to following more complex cross-stitch patterns, so that may be part of it, but I vastly prefer color charts as it helps me to keep track of what I'm meant to be doing and what it's supposed to look like. And the symbols over color, as you have it, is very helpful as then one can differentiate between similar colors on the chart.

I must be in the minority because I much prefer black and white charts. The color charts add too much confusion to my older eyes and make it hard to read.

Bonnie Kramer says: February 12, 2020 at 10:08 PM

Color!! Thanks for taking a poll on this.

Hi Alicia! I prefer color charts. The B&W make me feel lost. I love your patterns, they are easy to follow and the reason (partly) is color chart. I hope something new will come in 2020, I’ve done four seasons and love it and Love&Joy is my favorite, I made it to my parents and my brother family as a gift, it is so perfect.

My preference is black and white symbols, but next would be colour with symbols. I am finding I can't work with colour charts without symbols as I have a degree of colour blindness which makes too many shades look the same.

Amanda Schnabel says: February 13, 2020 at 12:50 AM

Colored charts are great--much preferred over black and white in my book!

Definitely colour, so much easier to see.

Black and white for sure.

I prefer color but I’d love your charts no matter how you made them!

I prefer the black symbols on the COLOR.

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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.