For those of you who read through the first entry in either the Knitting 101 or Crochet 101 series, you’ll be glad to know that this will be MUCH shorter.
When it comes to design, there really isn’t much to getting started. Now, of course, you can easily get in depth in this field and spend four to six years just getting the degree if you really want to get into it. For our purposes, we’ll be going through the layman’s basics. Who knows, today you may start by copying a picture for knitting and tomorrow you may be the next Paul Rand or Milton Glaser.
This series will walk you though how to design your own work as well as how to adapt existing pictures or photos. Before we begin though, we have to get a few things ready: Something to Draw With, Something to Draw On, and A Few Other Things.
Something to Draw With
The most complicated part of this will be deciding if you prefer designing digitally or if you prefer pen and paper.
For those of you who enjoy doing things the “old fashioned way,” get your favorite pen, pencil, crayon, marker, or whatever you’re most comfortable using.
For those of you better versed on the digital side of things, you’ll need to get a stylus or a mouse and make sure you’re comfortable with both of them.
Something to Draw On
Again, the most complicated part here is going to be choosing your medium or method by which you will work.
For the traditionalist, it has to be graph paper. The lines will act as guides when you are working the stitches out an easily make a 1:1 ratio for stitching. Graph paper pads are fairly cheap around back to school time at most mega-marts and office supply stores. If you can’t find them, or just don’t want to buy a pad, you can print your own for free here.
For the digital artist, Photoshop or a similar program are best. You CAN use simpler programs like Paint that comes with most Microsoft machines, but I have found that the tools in the more advanced programs come in handy. If you’re not sure you’re ready to take on Photoshop, or if you would like a free alternative, one of my favorite programs is called GIMP and it’s downloadable for free here.
You may also want to look into a tablet to work with if you don’t have one already. No, not an I-Pad or Galaxy tablet, an artists tablet like these. They work just like a piece of paper would except that your drawing is input directly to your computer.
Oh–and digital artists, you can start your practice drawings by making a grid or getting some digital graph paper done up. You WILL need it.
A Few Other Things
So at this point you should have the basics you’ll need. There are a few other things you may want either in digital or traditional format:
Rulers: yes, rulers plural. Sometimes you just need a straight edge, sometimes you need to center something by inches/centimeters, sometimes you need that weird ruler you got for geometry class to make a shape. I have often found a tape measure to be useful as well.
Calculator: unless you’re a total math whiz, at some point you’ll be doing some multiplication or division. A lot of times I’ll check my math on the calculator as a form of “measure twice, cut once.” It saves some work to know.
Inspiration: This may seem odd, but seriously. It will really help you if you go into designing with an idea. ANY idea. Maybe you want to make a twin sized blanket that looks like a chocolate bar, maybe you have a kid who loves gardens and want to make a something. Just start somewhere. Without some kind of inspiration, you may well end up staring at your note pad for an hour or more.
Trace Paper or Carbon Paper: for that time when your princess needs to have her favorite princess on her blanket or your space nut needs his favorite ship full of children. Tracing over art work is also just a good place to start. Carbon paper is also a good way to take something that’s 3D (like a penny for example) and create an image of it you can work with. PLEASE BE CAREFUL WHEN COPYING!!! It is always best to get the artists permission, but when that is not possible please remember the US has EXTENSIVE laws regarding copyrights. DO NOT EVER sell work that is not your original work. If you’re ever unsure, it is best to err on the side of caution and just don’t. **I am not a lawyer and cannot give legal advice or help.**
Now that all that is done, let’s get started!