Stephanie Mason Design

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Sunday Hair #3 - Messy French Braid

Jan 19, 2014

messy-french-braid-short-hair

Of course, now that I’ve commited to regulary fancying up my hair and sharing photos of it I pretty much dislike everything I do with it. I hope that I can share more tutorials and more inspired hair styles from time to time, but I also just want to be able to be happy with my hair when nothing too exciting is going on with it and share that too.

I’m not a perfectionist when it comes to my hair on a day to day basis, so why should I be a perfectionist about it when it comes to my blog? There are plenty of things I can fuss over here, and my hair doesn’t need to be one of them. I still want to do regular hair posts, but I’m going to allow that things will just get better with time and practice and not hold back in the earlier, futzier stages.

The hair posts are really more of a way to get away from my regular routine of just knitting and crafty related things, and I want them to be something I look forward to; not stress over because every strand isn’t doing something awesome.

So here is a very simple, somewhat messy, but perfectly acceptable and cute french braid. Ladeda.

short-hair-french-braid

french-braid

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, I had some good family time this weekend and that is always refreshing for me :)


How to Create Knitting Schematics with Inkscape: Part 3

Jan 18, 2014

knitting-schematics-how-to

Part Three: Adding Measurements

This is part two of a three part tutorial series in which you will learn how to create knitting diagrams (or schematics) with Inkscape, a free vector editing program. These are the technical drawings that go with your knitting or crochet designs. They give the people who are making the pattern idea of how everything should measure up.

Part One Introduction to Inkscape and basic tools

Part Two How to draw the outline of your design

Part Three How to add measurements

If you have never used a vector editing program before, you should start at part one before reading this tutorial and learn to use the basic tools. This part of the tutorial will show you how to add your final measurements onto your schematics. I am assuming that you have a chart with all of your measurements calculated out for your pattern already.

Adding Guides

If you open up your file from Part Two in Inkscape, you’ll see on the top and left side of the screen some rulers. (If for some reason you don’t, go to View > Show/Hide > Rulers and maker sure it has a check mark next to it. Or press [ctrl + R]) If you click and drag off of one of these rulers you will bring onto the screen what is called a guide. Guides are handy little devices for making measurements or “snapping” elements in a specific place on your drawing, and they’re very handy for adding measurements to your schematics.

How to make knitting diagrams

Drag guides in for any key points on your pattern. Some horizontal points I usually like to add are the shoulder to the underarm and the underarm to the bottom (and sometimes a line at the hem as well, if it’s notable)

How to make knitting diagrams

For the vertical points I like to add them on either side of the neckline and shoulders, at the chest width, if the waist width is different I’d add them there too. In the case of this sweater the sleeves are laid out horizontally, if they were on a slope I would just skip them for this step because dealing with diagonal guides isn’t really worth the trouble for that one measurement.

How to make knitting diagrams

It’s up to you how many guides & measurement lines you add in the end. I’m of the opinion that more measurements are better than less as long as they are clearly marked. (Particularly after having gone back to some of my earlier designs to reference something only to find I mysteriously decided not to include some measurement.) It’s really easy for knitters to ignore measurements they don’t want to deal with, it’s really frustrating to be looking for a measurement to see if you’ve done it right only to find it’s not there.

Once you have all your measurement guides in, you now want to drag in guides on each side of your design to box it in, giving a little space. These guides are what we’ll use to draw our measurement lines on.

How to make knitting diagrams

Adding Measurement Lines

Now pick up your handy dandy bezier tool ([shift + f6]) Now, go hover over any intersection between guides and you’ll notice a little thing pop up that says “Handle to Guide Origin” and your cursor will snap to this point. This is great, because the snap means your point will be right on that intersection. So now draw a line, clicking on any intersections along the way that are pertinent (as we will add dots to these later) and then hit [enter] to complete the segment.

For example, on my sweater here I want to indicate the width of each shoulder as well as the width of the neckline, so I’ll click on each intersection along the top to create a line that has four points (which you won’t see just yet, it will just look like a line)

How to make knitting diagrams

After you’ve drawn lines for all your important measurements, you now want to hide your guides. By pressing [shift] + [] (that is to say, . Not I as in I am, but the vertical line above the back-slash) you can toggle between showing and hiding the guides. This is handy because if you need to bring them back to draw another measurement, you can.

How to make knitting diagrams

So you should have a number of lines around your design, kind of like this.

What we want to do now is add those cute little dots that indicate all of those points we worked so hard to click on. To do that we need to bring up our Fill & Stroke menu. (You remember that from parts one and two, don’t you?)

Select all of the lines you just made by holding shift and clicking on each one. Open up Path > Fill & Stroke and click on the Stroke Style tab.

How to make knitting diagrams

Now under the Start, Mid, and End Markers tabs, select whatever little marker you find to be the cutest. I always go with DotM, but there are obviously a plethora of options. You could even use different ones for each, though I don’t recommend it for professionalism sake.

How to make knitting diagrams

It’s important that you put something on the “Mid Marker” one because when you do…

How to make knitting diagramsAll those little hidden intersection points will magically appear.

How about that?

Add the Numbers

This next part is pretty straight forward. Now you just need to grab that text tool and start adding your measurements. I can’t speak to what system of design you have, but for this project I do all of my calculations in a spread sheets, so all of my measurements are already written out there and I just re-type them in Inkscape. I have all the pattern written for 5 sizes so all of my measurements take the form of 3 (6, 12, 18, 24) months. I do them in inches, and I generally round to either the nearest 1/4” or 1/2” depending on the measurement.

How to make knitting diagrams

It’s really your choice how you want to format it, which way you want your text to go, etc, but I suggest looking at knitting magazines and books to get an idea of how it should look. I’ve seen schematics with different colors for each size, schematics with the number inside the design, etc. If you want to indicate a measurement taken in the round versus flat that’s easy to do too: Simply drag on the line using the edit paths ([F2]) tool until it’s a nice little semi-circle and that shows that this measurement is taken around.

How to make knitting diagrams

Adding it to your Pattern

Okay, so this part could be a little bit of a headache depending on your situation. For me, it’s actually really really easy because I use LibreOffice (another free program, heyo!) and with that, you can directly import the default Inkscape SVG file format as an image and it’s all hunky dory. I just scale my image to be as wide as the page (which defaults to 8.5”, which is perfect for my 8.5” wide LibreWriter file), edit the height of the page until it fits my schematic in File > Document Properties, save it and I’m good to go.

I don’t know if MS Word handles SVG files or not, but my hunch is that it’s a no-go. If you have Photoshop, one option is to save the file as a Encapsulated Post Script EPS file (at at least 300 DPI), open it in Photoshop (at at least 300 DPI) and save it as a PNG, JPEG, or GIF. This is what I was doing before I discovered that LibreOffice imports SVG files.

The other option that I can suggest, if you don’t have either LibreOffice or Photoshop, is to simply take a screen capture of your finished schematic (zoomed in to a reasonable degree) by hitting your [Print Screen] button on your keyboard. This will copy your screen to your clip board. You can then paste this screen capture into whatever image editing software you DO use, and crop it. Then you save it as a PNG, JPEG, or GIF and import it into your Word file. There are a number of other file types that Inkscape can save your image as, but I don’t really know what ones work for what so if you have a better idea, please do let me know in the comments :)


How to Create Knitting Schematics with Inkscape: Part 2

Jan 15, 2014

knitting-schematics-how-to

Part Two: Drawing the Design

This is part two of a three part tutorial series in which I am going to teach you how to create knitting schematics with Inkscape, a free vector editing program. These are the technical drawings that go with your knitting or crochet designs. They give the people who are making the pattern idea of how everything should measure up.

Part One Introduction to Inkscape and basic tools

Part Two How to draw the outline of your design

Part Three How to add measurements

If you have never used a vector editing program before, you should go to part one before reading this tutorial and learn to use the tools. This part of the tutorial will show you how to trace a photograph you have taken of your design to create the outline for your schematic, and will briefly touch on free-handing (which is often the best solution.)

Tracing a Photograph

One way of drawing your design in a vector program is to trace a photograph of the finished object. This works really well if you’re not super confident in your spacial relations. You don’t have to do any guesswork when it comes to proportions–you just have to trace a photo.

It’s best to use a photo of your object laid flat and spread out. If you are creating a schematic of your design pre-assembly (as might be the case when you are knitting a sweater with seams as opposed to one that is knit in a single piece) pictures of your work mid-blocking are perfect. Keep in mind that if you ARE drawing schematics for multiple pieces, you will need to follow these directions for each piece. (It’s up to you if you want to do separate drawings for similar pieces or not. Sometimes I will layer back and front pieces into the same schematic if, say, the neckline is the only thing that differs, and then indicate the difference with differently shaded necklines.)

These photos don’t have to be beautiful pictures you’re using for marketing, they should just be accurate representations of what the design looks like flat that you can portray measurements on easily.

To start, go ahead and open up Inkscape and go to File > Import.

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Select the photograph you wish to use and open it up in the program.

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A dialogue box will pop up, go ahead and select “embed” and click OK.

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Now go to Object > Fill and Stroke. We’re going to turn the Opacity of our photo down so that it’s easier to see what we’re doing when we trace over it. Using the opacity slider, turn the image down to somewhere around 30-50%–you want to be able to clearly see the outline of what you’re tracing, but you also want it to be pretty light.

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Now select your Bezier Tool and begin tracing HALF of the finished object (assuming your design is something symmetrical. If it is not symmetrical, then trace the whole thing.) Trace it roughly with straight lines–don’t worry about any curved edges at this point. Try to keep your outline as simple as you can while giving an idea of the overall shape. Add as many points as make sense to suggest the outline, but don’t go crazy– this is a technical drawing, after all. And don’t worry if something ends up a little wonky, we’ll edit our points to make it look nicer in a second.

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Slide the opacity on your image down to 0%. You can slide it back up later when you need to reference it, but for this part we don’t want the distraction.

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Select your** [F2]** Edit Paths tool, and start dragging points around so that they look less jagged.

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Don’t forget that you can** [ctrl+click]** various points to make them rounder and you can drag lines out to make things look smoother. You can also delete points that are unnecessary to the outline.

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Once your half-object looks pretty good, we’re going to create the other half. Click on the object so it is selected and press [ctrl] **+ **[D] to duplicate it.

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Then press [H] to flip it horizontally. Voila, you have all you need to make a nicely symmetrical schematic.

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Drag this object over so that it connects to your first half. Now select both objects with your [F2] Edit Paths tool. We’re going to combine the points that are in the middle so that we have one object. To do this, drag a box so that you select both of the points that are at the middle of the neck.

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Now press [shift] + [J] to join these nodes together. I usually delete this joined node, but you can decide whether or not the point is important to you. Do the same thing with the nodes at the bottom.

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Now it comes time to continue tweaking your outline so that it looks more and more like your finished object–add whatever details make sense to your design. You can always turn the opacity back up on your original image if you get stuck on what goes where: You don’t want TOO much details, but anything that helps to show pertinent aspects of your design are good to include.

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Don’t forget that you can turn down the opacity of any of your objects. I often put in lines to denote where certain design elements go, and then turn down the opacity so that they aren’t as prominent as the more important outlines. For this sweater, I wanted to show the drop shoulder line as well as where the ribbing ends.

I also thought it was important for this design to show the collar and button placket. I put a little note in place to show what edge gets sewn down, because I thought the written instructions for this could be confusing.

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Remember how in part one we messed with start and end markers? Arrows are great ways to portray information.

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I realized that I drew the collar backwards from how it actually is in the design, so I did a little detailed editing. Just like you can join nodes together with [shift] + [J] **you can break nodes apart with **[shift] + [B]. This is incredibly useful for when you need to get rid of lines or sections of paths.

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It’s also really useful to know that if you Double Click somewhere on a path with your [F2] Edit Paths tool, it will add a point. If you add a node in the middle of a segment, break it apart, and then delete a node you can remove a section of a line.

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Keep messing with your outline until you have a schematic that shows the general outline and any important details of your design. Keep in mind what measurements you are ultimately going to put into your schematic and what information you need to portray graphically for those measurements to make sense.

Once you’re done you can select the whole thing by dragging a box around it, and then resize it as needed.

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Free-handing a Schematic

So now that I’ve shown you how I traced a picture for this schematic, I’ll tell you that I decided not to use that particular schematic for that pattern. The reason was because the picture I used wasn’t actually the best one for portraying this particular sweater–Even though the picture was a lot more visually pleasing because of how the sweater was hanging, it is a lot easier to portray measurement information with a schematic that looks like the one below:

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It’s easier to put measurements on this drawing, and better shows how you would actually block the sweater. Since directions in pattern generally say to “block pattern to schematic measurements,” it’s helpful if the schematic looks like the blocking, yes? Yes.

The great thing about free-handing schematics is that you can really control the way you portray the information you think is most important for knitting the design, and you can also control how much space is around the schematic so you can fit measurements in there.

The basic technique for free handing is exactly the same as above–draw half of the object, duplicate and flip it, and then change details based on the design. I generally free-hand my schematics MOST of the time because it ends up being quicker and (believe it or not) more accurate.

Keep in mind proportions are not the most important aspect of your drawing. Don’t ignore them entirely, but don’t worry too much about it being perfect. It’s impossible to be totally accurate with proportions when it comes to most knitting schematics because the proportions of most garments’ small sizes versus big sizes are completely different. (For baby sweaters, the length varies a lot more than the width, particularly with sleeves. For adult sweaters, it tends to be the opposite.)

It is far more important to focus on putting accurate measurements that clearly relate to a given part of a design, that way even if someone is making an XXL sweater from the schematic you based on a size S sweater, they know that their knitting it to the right measurement.


Sunday Hair - Simple Dutch Braid

Jan 13, 2014

Pink & blue dutch braid

This is how I wore my hair on Christmas. While the dye job is a little sad, I was still happy with how the braid came out what with the pink on the bottom and the purply-grey faded crap on top. Thankfully I re-dyed my hair the day after Christmas so it will look a lot better in upcoming photos.

I’m planning on regularly sharing some of my hair-dos with you here on Sundays this year. I’m looking to experiment and share what ideas and tutorials I’ve found and probably also photograph a few of my own. I’m hoping that this will also help keep me motivated to keep growing it instead of succumbing to the siren call of short hair.

There is going to likely be a lot of braiding involved. My hair is finally getting to the length–after a few years of being quite short–where my options for braiding are becoming vast. When I was little and had super long hair (fun fact: I cut my hair for the very first time when I was 13), I always loved having it braided up. Now that braids are back in vogue, I couldn’t be happier because there is nothing more delightful to me than creating something beautiful with good ol’ manual dexterity. They also appeal to me because I don’t like using much in the way of hair products (aside from hair dye, obviously) or using too much heat on my hair. With braiding all you really need is a good quantity of bobby pins and ideally slightly dirty, unwashed hair. Check and check.

Pink & blue dutch braid diagonal-dutch-braid_03


How to Create Knitting Schematics with Inkscape: Part 1

Jan 8, 2014

How to create Knitting Schematics using Inkscape

Part One: An Introduction to Vectors

This is a three part tutorial series in which I am going to teach you how to create knitting schematics with Inkscape, a free vector editing program. These are the technical drawings that go with your knitting or crochet designs. They give the people who are making the pattern idea of how everything should measure up.

Part One Introduction to Inkscape and basic tools

Part Two How to draw the outline of your design

Part Three How to add measurements

Please be aware that while I try to keep in mind that you may or may not be technically proficient with computers when I’m writing this, it isn’t super in-depth totally for newbies tutorial. I’d have to create a whole course for what I’m going to pretty well condense into three parts if I covered every detail. And hey–Maybe someday I’ll do just that.

For now I’m not assuming you know everything about computers, but I AM assuming that you are adventurous and confident enough to try and figure a few things out on your own. The best way to learn how to use any program is to just get in there and start messing with tools, experimenting with buttons, and seeing what happens. Then create a small objective (like, say, a drawing that looks like a sweater) and try to figure out what buttons you need to push to make that objective happen. That’s how I’ve learned how to use pretty much every computer program I’ve ever used, and that’s how I came to figure out how to make these things myself. I’m just hoping to show you the basics so you can feel confident enough to get started.

Wait, wait, wait. What the hell is a vector anyway?

If you already know the answer to these questions then you should just skip on ahead to the next part. But if you’re totally new to the world of graphics, here is a little break down for you. Most images you see on your computer screen, whether it be on your camera or the internet, are one of three formats: JPEGs (.jpg), GIFs (.gif), or PNG (.png). Each of these files has their own characteristics, which you can read more about here if you’re curious, but in the end they’re all made up of pixels–in other words they have millions of tiny little squares and each square holds information about a color to display on your screen, and all these little squares make up a picture.

This is why when you have a really big picture and you scale it down, it works really well because for the smaller picture you have an excessive amount of pixels and therefore information for your computer to work with to create a really nice looking smaller photo–it just gets rid of the extra pixels.

smaller-jpg

It is also why when you try to create a bigger picture from a really small, low resolution image it gets either pixelated or blurry. Since whatever program is resizing the image only has a limited number of pixels to work with to begin with, when it has to fill in all the extra information for the bigger picture it has to guess what to put in.Some programs are much better at this than others, but in the end a bigger picture made from a smaller one will never look as good.

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This is where vectors come in. You see, vectors are images that aren’t made up of pixels at all. While the finished image you may seen in a file or on the computer might end up being one of those JPEGs, GIFs, or PNGs, filled with pixels, the original vector file that you can edit is actually made up of mathematical relationships. This is what makes them scalable–each point in a vector drawing has a specific relation to another point. So when you move one point out to make it bigger, the computer moves all of the other points out proportionally and the whole picture scales up without losing any resolution.

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Vector images are very important in design because when you’re designing, say, a logo you need it to look good on everything from a 2”x3” business card to a 12’x24’ billboard. The scalability of vectors, however, isn’t the reason why they’re so great for knitting schematics. While this can come in handy for designing pattern layouts, the real reason why they’re very useful is because the tools you use to create vectors lend themselves very well to the purpose.

They are very good for making technical drawings because it is very easy to create smooth, straight lines and to control the weight of those lines, as well as change the proportions as needed to match the scale of your actual item.

Inkscape

Inkscape is an open-source (in other words, free) vector editing program. Adobe Illustrator is the big name out there in vector editing land. But Inkscape is also very useful, has more than enough tools to make schematics, and it’s free.

Toolkit and HotKey Basics

Vector software has tons of tools and complicated dealie-os that can be used to make gorgeous vector illustrations and all sorts of fancy graphics.

We don’t actually need most of those tools for our purposes, though. This is a run down of the tools I use all the time for my schematic drawings, and a few of the hot keys that I find to be very useful. Don’t know what a hot key is? Girl, you better get reading because you will be saving yourself hours and hours of your life if you learn how to use hot keys.

I use Windows so all the hotkeys I use may be a little different if you use Mac. (If you’re totally awesome and use Linux, your hotkeys should be the same.) When you first open Inkscape, you’ll see a screen that looks like this.

Inkscape tutorial for knitters

The rectangle in the middle is representative of your printing dimensions, which you don’t necessarily have to worry about if you’re putting the final schematic into, say, a word processor to format your pattern. On the left is your main toolbar. Here is a breakdown of the tools I’ll be using in this tutorial, which are the only tools I ever really use for schematics. For a full list of hotkeys see the Inkscape manual here. Once you’ve messed around for a bit, it behooths you to look through this list because you will definitely learn a lot more about what you can do just by skimming down the hot key list.

Inkscape tutorial for knitters

Lets break down what each of these tools does. We’re going to start with the [shift+f6] Bezier & straight lines tool, which is the tool that looks like a little pen. This is the most important tool you will use, because it is what you will be using to draw your shapes.

Bezier Curves & Straight Lines Tool

Most vector shapes are made up of these things called paths. Paths are lines that are connected by two nodes, they can be straight lines or they can be curved. Pick out your bezier curve tool and click around a bit. You will find that if you click in two spots, you’ll create a straight line. If you click again and drag the mouse while you hold down the button, you’ll create a curve. Start clicking around a bunch and see what happens, both when you drag your mouse and don’t. When you’ve done this a few times, press enter. You’ll now have your first path.

how to create knitting schematics

Now press [delete] and draw something a little more intentional. Draw yourself a quick polygon. (It doesn’t matter how many sides, we just need it so we can explore other tools.) Close this polygon by clicking on the first node that you created. Before you do this your polygon should have several green sides, and one red side (which indicates you are about to close your shape.) Now, on to our arrow tools. 003_trap

The Arrow Tools: Select and Edit

The first arrow tool in the top left is the select and transform tool. What this tool does is allows you to move around objects, scale them, skew them, and rotate them. Select this tool and click on your polygon (you’ll have to click on the lines, not the middle.) What you’ll see is little arrows surrounding it with a dashed box. 005_select01 Click on these arrows and drag your mouse around to see what happens. See how you can scale your object? Now hold [ctrl] **and do it. This maintains the proportions of your shape when you scale it. Now, click once on the shape (again: on the lines) The arrows should now change to allow you to rotate and skew the object. 005_select02 Experiment with these arrows and see what they do. Now hold **[shift] **and do it. Now **[ctrl]. Holding shift allows you to rotate & skew the shape around a given point. Holding ctrl allows you to rotate it at 15 degree intervals (this comes in handy when you want to quickly rotate something, say, 90 degrees.)

Now that we’re done skewing and rotating our shape, we’re going to mess with our paths and nodes for a bit. Go ahead and select the second little arrow tool, the edit paths by nodes tool. What you’ll now see happen is little dots will appear at each of the points on your polygon.

006_nodes These are your nodes. Try clicking on a node and dragging it around, see what happens. Now, click somewhere outside one node and drag your mouse across the screen (you should see a box form). Drag this box so it surrounds two nodes and let go (they should turn blue) Click on one of your blue nodes and try dragging it around. See how you can move more than one node at a time? See how it changes the shape?

Hold down the [shift] key and click on a third node. Start dragging these nodes around. You can shift click nodes at any time to select or deselect them. Now, try clicking and holding on one of your paths. See how you can create a curve by dragging a path?

007_bezier-curveHold **[ctrl] **and hit **[Z] **to undo what you just did until you have a straight-lined polygon again. (If you don’t already know about ctrl-z, well, I just introduced you to your new best friend.)

Alright, now for something a little different. Now you’re going to hold [ctrl] and click once on one of your nodes. You probably now have a curved line, but it’s a little different than your bezier. What’s going on here?

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What you just did by ctrl-clicking your node is you converted it to a different kind of nodes. There are several kinds of nodes, but the only ones that I really understand the difference between are cusp nodes and smooth nodes.

how to create knitting schematics

As you can see, smooth nodes are nodes that have curved points coming out from them, and cusps are basically like corners. This is very handy to know because when you are drawing, say, a sweater, it’s easiest to block it out with a bunch of straight lines and then convert some of your points to smooth nodes to create nice smooth shoulders or slopes. Fun, eh?

Alright, delete your beloved polygon. Oh wait–when you press delete and you still have the node tool selected, it will only delete a node. If you don’t have any nodes selected it won’t do anything.

So go ahead and press **[F1] **to get the select tool, then press **[delete]. **Voila, polygon is gone. We’re going to mess around with circles for a bit while we explore a few more concepts.

Circles, Strokes, and Fills

Next we’re going to explore what paths, strokes, and fills are and how they differ from each other. We’re going to do this with circles so that you have a chance to mess around with that tool too.

Go ahead and select the circle tool, and draw yourself an ellipse. If you want your ellipse to actually be a circle, all you have to do is press and hold [ctrl], which will lock 1:1 proportions. If you hold [shift], it will draw your ellipse from the center. (Can you see how handy the ctrl & shift buttons are? I’m going to stop mentioning them now, but you should definitely continue to experiment with what happens when you use them.)

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Now, go up to your top menu and select Object > Fill and Stroke

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This will open a box on the right side of the screen. I want you to take note of the fact that there are opacity and blur sliders at the bottom.

I never use the blur slider. The opacity slider however, can be handy when you want to de-emphasize lines (like if you want to show where ribbing ends, or the shape of a set-in sleeve. Anything that isn’t super important to finished measurements but might be worth having in the schematic.)

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Now lets talk about what “fills” and “strokes” are. You may know by now that your shapes are made up of paths, which are more or less lines. What you probably don’t know is that your shapes have already had strokes applied to them automatically by the program.

What does this mean? Well, a path isn’t technically something that is “visible.” It’s really just the information the computer uses to connect two points in a certain way. When there is no stroke, it still gets displayed as a very thin line, but if you were to save the file it would be invisible. A stroke is what it sounds like, it’s a stroke of color being applied to the path to give it an outline.

A fill is also what it sounds like, it’s color that fills the interior of a shape. You can create fills by clicking any of the buttons under the “fill” tab–from left to right each of the buttons will create: 1.a solid fill (this can also be accomplished by clicking any of those little colorful boxes at the bottom of the screen), 2. a gradient fill 3. a center weighted gradient fill, 4. a patterned fill 5. a swatch 6. an unset fill. Click around on each of these buttons and see what happens, see how you can change colors, see how you can fill in with patterns. Fills aren’t terribly useful for most knitting schematics, but you may as well see how they work.

Now click over to the stroke paint tab. This tab has very similar options to the fill tab, and allows you to change the color of your outline. Again, not terribly useful for knitting schematics (black lines are really all you’ll probably ever use) but still good to know.

Finally, the stroke style tab. This will come in very handy.

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All kinds of goodies here. Let’s go through them.

Width: This is how heavy your stroke line is. This is really important, because when you scale your drawing you might not want the weight of your lines to get all thick. You can thin them back down with this. Go ahead and make this number bigger and smaller and watch how it affects your circle’s outline.

Join: This is how your stroke will look around corners.

Miter Limit: This has to do with joins and how curved or flat your corners will be.

Cap: How the end of your lines will look.

Dashes: Make your lines dashed, if you want.

Markers: These are great. This is what you can use to create cute little arrows (or end dots on your measurement lines.) Go ahead and click on some of these. Since you have a circle, they’ll appear on the points around the circle, but you can always draw another bezier curve and see where they appear on there. Start markers will always affect your first node, end markers your last, and mid markers the nodes in between.

So at this point if you’ve been experimenting with all these features, you’ll hopefully have a colorful circle with some fun features. Let’s go ahead and mess with one more tool before we quit.

013_strokesandmarkers

The Text Tool

This one is going to come in handy when you need to add measurements to your schematics, and it’s really easy to use. So go ahead and select the text tool from the left menu bar.

Click somewhere on your picture, and type something. Then click outside what you just typed. Then hit [F1].

Your text is now an object, how handy. You can scale it, rotate it, change it’s color, etc. etc. A good thing to note is that text is created as shapes, so when you change the fill color it will actually change the color of your letters. Each letter is made up of an outline of paths, so if you stroke it you’ll create outlined text.

(This is actually true of all fonts. Fonts are vectors. This is why you can scale them. See how I am unlocking your understanding of the whole world?)

After you’ve messed with your text for awhile, take a step back and look at all that you’ve learned. Do you feel like a true-blue vector artist yet?

art-so-beauty

Okay so maybe I have a little ways to go before I truly master this whole vector thing. But everything you’ve learned here in this tutorial is about 90% of what you’ll need to know when we get down to drawing up our actual schematics. We’ll learn a few more tricks along the way, but I don’t want to slam your brain with too much minutiae just yet.

In Closing

That is all for this weeks tutorial. What you should do before the second part comes out next week is just sit down and start messing around with the program. Try out all those tools I showed you, get a feel for what everything does, and try just making some fun doodles. Try out the other tools too. Don’t forget to use the hot keys and really get a feel for how they work–they will save you loads of time in the long run and you’ll get a lot more use out of the program if you’re not having to constantly click through menus. [ctrl] and [shift] click the %*^# out of everything, you’ll discover all kinds of neat things you can do. Try out some of the tools I didn’t cover here, try looking through the menu options.


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