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Convert images to embroidery patterns

I want to create a program to make embroidery patterns from images. This should be relatively easy to do by taking e.g. a photo, lowering its resolution, lowering the number of colours, and maybe matching the colour palette with existing embroidery thread colours.

Maybe this is solvable with pnmtools (or similar toolkits) only.

It would be also nice to have thin outlines in some places, maybe at high contrast borders.

This is what my script currently does:

Original photo Image after running it through the script

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