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.
You 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, designer and tech editor, presents a black-and-grey diagram. She can be found at www.poetryinyarn.com.
Robyn Chachula, author of Vintage Modern Crochet, Blueprint 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 provides another classic granny. Look her up at ssknits.com.
Alla 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!
For more on creating charts, read In Search of Crochet Charting Software, Part 2, and How to Draw Crochet Symbols using Adobe Illustrator.
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