So, I reverted to form- I made my own. Not by charting, which would be no different from charting a cross stitch design, or a Fair Isle sweater... I just didn't want to follow a chart- I've learned that I like having the lines drawn for me, and the color choices at least suggested (if not set in stone).
And I didn't draw on the canvas either, even though I bought a large set of colored Sharpies at Sam's Club in Sioux Falls a couple of weeks ago, just for that purpose.
Instead, I found an image online that I like a lot.
Mucha print. Mucha's beautiful beautiful beautiful Art Nouveau art has recently been added to the public domain, so it's all copyright free now. I love this image, and I love the colors.
PicMonkey to *sharpen* the image and *posterize* it, thereby reducing the colors. And then I printed it out just to see how it looked. It looked just fine.
printed the flipped image on a printable iron-on transfer sheet.
And then I cut a 16" x 16" piece of 14ct blank needlepoint (which I just happened to buy in Aberdeen a couple of days ago) and pressed it flat. I trimmed all excess paper from the printed transfer sheet and let it dry for 30 minutes (that was a loooong 30 minutes).
And then following the manufacturer instructions, and after lining the transfer up carefully along the canvas grid, I pressed it. I was absolutely thrilled when I peeled the transfer backing off (and I'm pretty sure there's still enough *ink* on the transfer sheet to make an interesting t-shirt... if I ever feel like using it).
See how beautifully it transferred? I chose this image in part because the face was in profile. I am certain that my current needlepoint skills would not do a full-on face justice. And in truth, this mesh is still too big for this design- if the craft store had had 18ct mesh on hand, I would have bought that. But it didn't, so I'll have to simplify the design as I stitch. And it's very likely that I'll have to do some surface embroidery for the Zodiac signs. But we'll see how that goes as I work on it.
The transfer *stuck* only to the mesh- there are very few holes that will have to be poked (which won't be an issue anyway), and this is a washable transfer, so the colors won't run when the finished piece is blocked.