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 don’t think my 48 year old eyes could go back to black and white patterns. I still have some pattern books from when I was very young and they look like no fun.

Never have tried b&w, so for now color.

I'm colourblind, so when there are colours over the symbols, it's a bit difficult to decipher which colour is actually needed. Plus I tend to mark up my charts with highlighters. (the copied one I use just for that reason)

I like it in color:)

Cindy Bowman says: February 15, 2020 at 07:50 AM

Symbols with color is my choice. So much easier that way.

Colour over symbols please!

Color charts every time!

color for sure!!

Black symbols on white paper, please - easier to read, plus cheaper and more environmentally-friendly to produce :)

I much prefer black and white charts if the kit has the floss in one big jumble and the first thing to do is organize your colours on the floss organizer. I have become confused in the past separating floss onto an organizer with the chart in colour if a lot of the colours are tonally similar. I find it easier to identify and separate them if the chart is black and white with icons, I think this is because I then have less opportunity to mix up colours at the initial floss organizing stage by getting lulled into a false sense of security thinking the colour looks similar. If it is in black and white, I am forced to get it right by looking more closely. I then colour the chart as I go to keep my place.
If the kit has the floss pre- separated and on a floss organizer labelled by colour/ icon to start with, I don‘t mind which system it is in.


I prefer the color charts. What a huge job - thank you for asking us although, that in itself may be a can of worms! Here in Northern CA, we are not getting enough rain - very scary. Daffodils are definitely in many yards. Can't wait to see your lovely and new creations!

I prefer black and white. I find that I can read the charts easier in b&w. For me, the colors get in the way.

I prefer color over symbol! So much easier to follow!

Oh, I absolutely prefer a color chart with the symbols over the color, especially as I have gotten older and my sight is not as good. In my opinion it is also very inviting and the mark of a quality pattern... not that a b&w chart isn’t quality but I do prefer the colored ones. Thanks for asking!

Amy in Texas says: February 16, 2020 at 04:14 PM

Black and white with distinctly different symbols. (I just finished a pattern where the designer used a dash as two bolded and one not. Drove me crazy!) I like to make a copy, color it in as I stitch.

Black and white

I'm all for the color chart--it leaves less room for error, for sure! Also, I LOVE your desk space! It has to be the coziest desk I've seen. I'm quite sure I'd get more done if my desk were that fun! ;)

I am finding this poll to be very interesting and am loving reading everyone's answer and preference reasoning. Personally, I have used both - b & w and symbols over color charts. I never have given my preference for one over the other much of a thought, but upon reading above about someone preferring the black & whites charts and coloring them in with colored pencils as she goes along is quite brilliant and an idea which I like very much. I know I have "ruined" many patterns by just crossing through each row as I finish it (and with INK nonetheless :O . . . . ) It will be quite fascinating to see what your poll bears out.

My vote would be for color.

Kathleen F. Ross says: February 17, 2020 at 12:00 PM

Black and White

Two things:
1) Color over symbols. I am very visual and make fewer mistakes when the color is already there.
2) Master lists are my cup of tea. I would totally do yours for you (for free) just for fun. :) Seriously.

Color for sure! It can be so easy to mix up all of the little symbols for me.

Love colours... FYI in Australia we love colour so much we add a 'u' :)

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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.