Beader's Canvas Update
As I tried to figure out how to make feather earrings a few weeks ago, I finally had the chance to do some in-depth work with Beader's Canvas software.
Size Adjustments: One of the biggest challenges in plotting out a pattern by hand on graph paper is that all beads are not made the same, but all squares on graph paper are. Some beads are perfectly round, some are wider than they are long, and some are longer than they are wide. That means that a pattern will vary according to the type and size of bead used. Beader's Canvas allows for that, with the dimensions for Miyuki beads, including Delicas, and Toho beads already programmed in. Users can simply select the type (I used Delicas) and the size of the on-screen graph automatically adjusts. If you aren't using Miyukis or Tohos, you can manually enter the dimensions needed.
Stitch Switch: I first started the feather project in square stitch, but unhappy with how all attempts were turning out, I switched to peyote and then to brick, without having to open a new file. What I had drawn on the screen didn't look any more like a feather than my attempts in square stitch mode, but I liked the ease of transition.
Color Assortment: Most projects I do call for generic colors -- light blue, pink, dark orange -- etc. I mostly decide which colors I'll use after I've decided what the project will be. However, should I ever want to be very specific about the colors, especially with Delicas, this software will let you do that.
Only Mostly User-Friendly: My biggest gripe is that the print function is hidden. After I came up with a feather pattern I was satisfied with, I went to the "File" menu to print it out, and guess what? No option to print. It wasn't grayed out, it just wasn't there. At all. But, not wanting to take the time to read the directions, I created a screen grab, moved it to Gimp and printed from there. Only later did I discover that print functions are under the "Chart" menu. Go figure.
In all, I love the program and how simple it was to use. If I uncover any more big pluses or huge minuses as I use it more and more, I'll post another updated review.