New Pattern: "Susan"

I was recently inspired by a knit blanket pattern that I saw to try and crochet an ode to its design. This pattern, although a total of 44 rounds, worked up very quickly for me. I'm not too fond of working patterns more than 35 rounds, but it is such a repetitive pattern that it came together pretty fast. 

I have called it "Susan."

With a total of 44 rounds, it takes about 550-600 yards with a 1.75mm hook. I personally used 84g (about 590 yards) of Artiste Egyptian Cotton in the color 'caribbean.' 

It is not like my other patterns--it's very dense. When my husband saw it, he thought I had made a placemat. And if it weren't for the ridges, it could work quite well as one. 

I really enjoyed designing this. It was a challenge for me, to anticipate where the pattern was going next--to plan ahead. I usually do very little if any planning when I design. Something else I did was alternate the edging design. Each section of the edging alternates between a filled or open pattern. That was also very interesting to lay out.

All in all, this pattern is probably one of my simpler ones. It doesn't require too many complex stitches, just enough to give it the 3-D look. I hope you enjoy it. You can find it in my pattern shop.

New Pattern: "Ruth"

My newest pattern is called "Ruth." I set out in December to take a break, but that didn't end up happening. This pattern was the first of four designs I created last month. And when I saw the green thread on my shelf, I knew it had to be the next color I used.

This pattern is 34 rounds and works up to about 13-inches in diameter with a 1.75mm hook. It uses about 350-400 yards.

I love how the center turned out. It reminds me of those crochet overlay mandalas I see here and there across Instagram and Pinterest. Some of my testers worked it up with multiple colors, and it really makes the textured stitches POP!

You can find the pattern to this piece in my pattern shop.

 

"Doily #7" by Patricia Kristoffersen

I designed non-stop through the entire month of December that I decided to work a pattern that's not my own. This 35-round pattern by Patricia Kristoffersen took me only three days, but oh boy do I feel it! My hands ache! 

It called "Doily #07" and is from the book "Pineapple Gallery" which is Leisure Arts book #3494--it looks like it is unavailable at this time. 

There were a few interesting combinations of stitches, but it's mostly straight-forward if you're familiar with PK patterns. I picked up the yellow thread from the store on a whim. I purchased 2 skeins (300 yards each). The pattern calls for almost 500 yards, but I used under 300! 

If you're interested in this piece, you can find it in my shop.

New Pattern: "Marion"

A few weeks ago, I was encouraged to design an oval-shaped doily. Ula, my translator, said I should try something other than a circle. I am not a big fan of doilies of other shapes, but I decided that I had to at least try. Let me begin by saying that ovals are no joke--they are unbearably difficult at times. Every step of the process was frustrating. However, I always begin by trusting that the final product makes up for any trials along the way.

This pattern is named "Marion" after my grandmother-in-law. In 2009, I got married to a wonderful man who had an equally wonderful family. His grandmother and I formed a friendship that I wish continued to this day, but she sadly passed away early this year from brain cancer. She was the only one that I knew in person who actually crocheted. Some of the hooks I use today were gifted to me from her stash. By this time in her life, her hands could not bear to hold the hooks well enough to crochet anymore.

This pattern was frustrating at many times--but especially during the "writing up" phase. Most of my patterns are only four pages long. However, because this one is oval-shaped, the repeats occur only twice per round, and therefore they are very long repeats. This pattern is eight pages long. 

I do enjoy how this design turned out. It is worked entirely in-the-round with no need to cut and pick up elsewhere. I was nervous trying to design an oval at first because I knew I didn't want to work one side and then the other, or do anything else weird. I knew I wanted to work it in-the-round. And that was tricky. All-in-all, it came out beautifully, even if the color is awful (in my opinion). I like the color, but photographing it was a true pain. The photos definitely do not do it justice.

You can find the pattern listed in my pattern shop. It is 36 rounds! Hopefully I will be motivated to try this shape again in he future.

Tutorial: How to Make a Document Preview

Presentation is an extremely important part of selling. Today I'm going to show you how I make my document preview graphics that I use in my Ravelry store to showcase the PDF files that I am selling. Below is an example of the kind of preview graphic that I mean. In the example, it is featured as the first photo, when in actuality, it is listed last on the pattern page. I moved the photo up to the first slot in order to get a good screenshot for you.

They aren't necessary, but they give a good 'at a glance' snapshot to users of what they can expect from their purchase. I know there are probably better ways to do this, but I don't have or use Photoshop, so I'm working with the tools I have. 

Tools you will need for this tutorial: 

  • Microsoft Word
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Snipping Tool (optional)

1. Open the PDF you want to make a preview of in Adobe Acrobat Reader. This step will create the page thumbnails you will use for your preview.

"File" >> "Save As Other..." >> "Image" >> "PNG" or "JPEG" (I prefer PNG.)

Choose the destination on your computer where you want the files to save, preferably in the same folder where the PDF is located.

2. Open a New Document in Microsoft Word. 

3. Adjust the orientation and add a grid.

You don't necessarily have to set the orientation to landscape, but I prefer it so that I have more room to work with.

Selecting 'gridlines' is very important because it allows your thumbnails to have something to snap to, and it helps you line them up equidistant apart. 

4. Insert each thumbnail and adjust the properties and placement. 

Find the file location where you saved the thumbnail and insert the very first one. You will complete step 4 working with each thumbnail one-at-a-time. So complete all the sub-steps in step 4 on the first thumbnail before inserting the second one and so forth. 

After you have inserted the image, adjust the size as shown below--change the height to 3.5" by typing it in the box.

Add a drop shadow for the 3D effect. 

Adjust text wrapping so the thumbnail can be manipulated into position. Select "in front of text."

Position the first thumbnail in the top-left of the grid. Position all subsequent thumbnails 3x3 squares down-right from the previous one. 

Select "send to back" for every thumbnail except the first one. 

Finish step 4 for each thumbnail before progressing to the next step.

5. Choose a page color for your background.

6. Remove gridlines and take a snapshot.

To remove the gridlines, see step 3. Simply uncheck the box you checked during step 3. To take a snapshot, you have several choices but I will go over two of them. 

If you have the Snipping Tool (part of Microsoft Windows). Open the Snipping Tool and adjust the delay time to 1 second. The reason this is important is because it allows you to take a snapshot during the interval when the cursor is blinking and it will be hidden from the snapshot. 

When you are ready, select "New" which will they gray-out your entire screen. Simply take your cursor and begin at the Top-Left of where you want the graphic to start (I usually begin 1-inch above and to the left of the first thumbnail), and then while holding the cursor button down, drag it along to the Bottom-Right to the same placement below and next to your last thumbnail. Then let go. A new window should pop up with your final preview graphic. Make sure you select "save" and save it to a location you will remember--preferably to same directory you saved everything else. 

If you don't have the Snipping Tool. Simply move all other windows and programs out of your way while you have your document open. Then press "Print Screen" on your keyboard. This is located at the top of your keyboard directly above the left arrow key... usually. It's around there somewhere. 

Next, open a graphics program like Paint or Paint.Net. Then paste your screenshot that you just took into the graphics program. You can simply use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+V or go to Edit >> Paste. 

You should then see your entire screen pasted into the program. Use the selection tool or the cropping tool to adjust the portion of the screenshot that you want to save, and then save the file to the appropriate location. 

Voila! 

What you should now have is a lovely preview snapshot you can use to showcase your PDF.