FAQs: Craft Yarn Council Certified Instructors Program

CYC logoThat post title is really a mouthful, isn’t it? One of my many professional gigs is Master Teacher for the Craft Yarn Council’s Certified Instructors Program.  According to the Craft Yarn Council’s website, “since 1982 more than 15,000 students have completed the course and gone on to teach in retail stores, adult education programs, and to share their knowledge with friends, co-workers and family.”

If you have a strong basis in basic knitting and crochet skills, the Certified Instructors Program helps you become a better teacher of those skills.  As a matter of fact, if you want to teach knitting or crochet at Michael’s you need to have finished (or be working on) Level 1 of the program in your discipline.

You can read more about it on the Craft Yarn Council’s website, and I’ll be talking more about it in the future, as some changes are in the works.

Frequently Asked Questions

As a master teacher, I have found that many of the students enrolled in the program have questions. They are worried about how to complete the assignments. They stress over being tested. (Hint: There is no “test”.) Because I get the same questions over and over again, and to allay the fears and anxieties of students, I’ve shot a video that addresses these most frequently asked questions. I was actor, producer, camera person and sound engineer on this one, so it’s not as professionally produced as my Craftsy and Creativebug videos, but I hope it gets the job done.

If you want to sign up for the Certified Instructors Program, register here.


In Search of Crochet Charting Software, Part 1

Granny Square for blog post(2)Question: What software do you use to draw crochet symbol diagrams?

I’m asked this about once a week, and more often than once a day at fiber events.

My Answer: Adobe Illustrator

The reaction to this response is almost always a sigh, a shake of the head, and a quick retreat with shoulders slumped. (Even if the question was posed online, I can hear the sigh and feel the disappointment.)

Why the universal sorrow? Because drafting crochet charts is not (yet) as straightforward as typing in a set of text instructions and having a program spit out a lovely finished chart. Instead, you have to understand crochet diagrams and the construction of the crochet fabric, as well as have the skills to draw the chart using a vector-based drawing program like Adobe Illustrator, which is pricy to purchase, or the free, open source Inkscape. It takes practice, and the learning curve can be steep.

Even among those who do have the requisite skills, their approach to drawing a crochet diagram varies, even when they are using the same software. Having studied this matter for some time now, I have even come to recognize certain telltale “signatures” that hint at which illustrator drew the diagrams for a particular publication.

I asked some of these folks to share examples of their work. What follows are variations of granny square-style motifs. They aren’t all the same motif, but they do offer a glimpse into the ways that individual diagram drafters put their own stamp on their work. Unless otherwise noted, all of these diagrams were drawn using Adobe Illustrator.

Karen Manthey_Granny SquareYou might recognize Karen Manthey’s work. Karen is a prolific tech editor and illustrator who works behind the scenes on many of the publications you are familiar with. Here’s an example of a classic granny square from Karen, with alternating black and blue rounds.

My granny square (shown above) looks a lot like Karen’s.





Lindsey Stephens Granny Square

Lindsey Stephens, designer and tech editor, presents a black-and-grey diagram. She can be found at www.poetryinyarn.com.







Robyn Chachula_Granny Square DiagramRobyn Chachula, author of Vintage Modern CrochetBlueprint Crochet and other best-sellers, draws in AutoCad Lt then moves the drawing into Illustrator to create jpgs as needed. She’s a trained architect, so she uses the drawing program she knows best.






Joan Beebe_Granny squareJoan Beebe provides another classic granny. Look her up at ssknits.com.








Charles Voth Granny SquareCharles Voth offers this variation on a granny square. He can be found at www.CharlesVothDesigns.ca. He also teaches a Craftsy class called See It, Crochet It: Reading Stitch Diagrams. Check it out!







Granny Square_Alla KovalAlla Koval draws diagrams for all of her designs. You can find her patterns at mylittlecitygirl.com.

But back to the original dilemma. Is there a software program that helps the ordinary crocheter draw stitch diagrams? In my next post, I’ll share a bit more on the subject.

Meanwhile, if you are drawing your own crochet diagrams, pipe up in the comments section and let me know how you are doing it!