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!

For more on creating charts, read In Search of Crochet Charting Software, Part 2, and How to Draw Crochet Symbols using Adobe Illustrator.

Want to see how I can help you learn more about creating crochet charts? Fill out this short questionnaire and we’ll get started.

The Lonely Doll Knits a Scarf

Recently I discovered something that made me very happy: The Lonely Doll books are still in print. These picture books by Dare Wright were my favorite stories oh-so-many years ago. After all, the eponymous Lonely Doll is named Edith, and we Ediths have to stick together.

Of the several Lonely Doll books that I owned, my most favorite was A Gift from The Lonely Doll, in which Edith decides to knit a scarf for her friend, Mr. Bear. Because she wants to keep the gift a secret, she keeps the scarf hidden in a basket. There’s a not-so-surprise ending, but I won’t be responsible for spoilers. You’ll have to read the book yourself!

The Lonely Doll got me thinking about other picture books with good fiber-y content. I’ve rounded up a few titles here.

 

 



Charlie Needs a Cloak
 was especially popular at my house, because we actually had a Charlie.

 

 

 

 

 

I read Amos’s Sweater so many times, I still have parts of it memorized: “Amos was old, and Amos was cold and Amos was tired of giving away all his wool.” He really is a pretty grumpy old guy, but by the end of the story he’s no longer cold. Oops, I promised no spoilers.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sheep in a Jeep, Sheep Go to Sleep, Sheep in a Shop, Sheep on a Ship (and others!) are classics and provide all the sheep rhymes you can stand. Read all of them and you’ll be dreaming of sheep, for sure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I haven’t read this one, but can’t resist the rhyme.

 

 

 

 

 Adorable illustrations!

Now it’s your turn. Comment below with your favorite fiber-related picture book. I’m off to find a small person who would like to hear a story or two.

Sneak Peek: Crochet One-Skein Wonders for Babies

This post may contain affiliate links, which provide a small income but don’t cost you anything extra.

Wanna see a sneak peek at a few of the designs from Crochet One-Skein Wonders for Babies? Alrighty then! With 101 patterns (at just under 19 cents per pattern), this may be the only baby crochet book you need for quite some time.

Excerpted from Crochet One Skein Wonders for Babies (c) Judith Durant & Edie Eckman. Photographs by (c) Geneve Hoffman Photography. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.

Creativebug’s Mother’s Day Sale

Mother's Day Sale

What Mom really wants this weekend is a day or two off, but if you can’t give her that, give her the next-best thing: some Me Time with her favorite craft! Creativebug has a really great deal on for Mother’s Day, and the cool thing is that you can watch all the Creativebug classes for that price, for an entire year.

That means that you can binge-watch (binge-craft?) to your heart’s delight, anywhere and any time you can find the time.

And Moms, if you don’t get something totally awesome for Mother’s Day, you can still buy something for yourself. You have my permission.

Crochet One-Skein Wonders for Babies

Crochet One Skein Wonders for BabiesCrochet One-Skein Wonders® for Babies is here! Crochet One-Skein Wonders® was such a huge hit that we decided to do another one, this time for wee ones.

I once bought a Phildar pattern book of knitted baby garments. I didn’t have a baby at the time. I didn’t have any friends with babies. I didn’t even know anybody who was pregnant. I simply wanted the book because the models and sweaters were so cute. As time went on, I knit every single sweater in that book, for nieces and nephews, children of friends, and eventually, for my own children. It was my go-to project book for years.

Crochet One-Skein Wonders® for Babies will serve the same purpose. You’ll find adorable projects of every type, suitable for gift-giving at every level: Nearest and Dearest, Children of Close Friends, Children of Co-Workers, Random Strangers, Charity Projects, and OMG-I-Need-A-Quick-Shower-Gift.

As with all the other One-Skein Wonders® books, there are 101 projects, each using just a single ball of yarn. At a retail price of $18.95, that works out to just under 19 cents per pattern!

 

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Crochetville Blog Tour

Free Stitch Dictionary for Crochetville’s National Crochet Month Blog Tour!

Ten Stitches CollageI’m a huge fan of collecting stitch patterns, as well as creating my own. Just take a look at some the crochet books I’ve written, and you’ll get a sense of how much value I give to stitch dictionaries!

As we wrap up Crochetville‘s month-long blog tour for National Crochet Month (AND National Craft Month!),  I’m offering a free mini crochet stitch dictionary which I hope you’ll enjoy. Get it now, because this is a time-limited offer! (SORRY-the time has expired, but please sign up for my newsletter anyway!)

I invite you to sign up for my newsletter so you can hear about my latest adventures in designing and teaching. There will be announcements of new books and online classes coming up very soon, so don’t miss out!

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