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My Name in Crochet | Rope Knits


looks like this, after I downloaded the Stitchin Crochet font from the MyFonts website. From the description by designer Adriana E. Hernandez:

Stitchin Crochet is the first of a series of symbol fonts intended for use by everyday fiber arts designers. The Stitchin Crochet font includes over 90 symbols ranging from basic crochet stitch symbols to more complex decorative stitches. Also included with the purchase of Stitchin Crochet is a keyboard key and a stitch guide in PDF form.

What was the inspiration for designing the font? A lifelong crocheter, I found a serious lack of easily downloadable fonts for use in designing or explaining crochet. All the pattern books have guides at the end, but no reference to a font that can be downloaded. I hope to change this by introducing a readily available and easily accessed set of crochet symbols in Stitchin Crochet.

As a crocheter myself, I would much, much rather work from charts than from an alphabet soup of abbreviations. As a designer, therefore, I’d like to be able to offer both written abbreviations and charts. For knitting symbols, there are several options available, my favorite so far being Knit Visualizer. At $185, however, KV ain’t cheap. Stitchin Crochet, on the other hand, costs only $3, making it very affordable.

Being merely a font, not an entire program, it isn’t nearly as sophisticated as KV, so it’s not really fair to compare them at all. But I’m not aware of there being a crochet program out there similar to KV, so right now SC is all I’ve got (unless I invest in Illustrator or Inkscape, learn how to use them, and create my own symbols which may happen someday but probably not soon). So given its plain old fonty-ness, how does it hold up?

Purchase and download: Easy. Paid with a debit card, was typing things out in it a few minutes later. Okay, my husband did the actual installing, but I think even a tech wimp like me could have figured it out, especially with the help of the detailed support page. You have the option of an OpenType OTF version or Windows/Mac TTF; I went with the latter, and then had the option of an “Easy Install” or an “Advanced.” Initially, I went with the Easy one but for some reason couldn’t find the symbol key that was supposed to come with the font (and without which using the font is close to impossible). The key popped right up when I downloaded the Advanced version–don’t know if I missed something the first time around, but I got it and was ready to move on. Designers will be pleased to note the the $3 price gives them commercial license to use the font in for-sale patterns and other professional endeavors.

Usability: Pretty good. Helpfully, there are two keys, on using American terminology and one using UK terminology (thank you, Adriana, for remembering that one stitcher’s dc is another stitcher’s sc!). There are some 90 symbols available, from slip stitch to bullion 5-wrap . There are post stitches, spike stitches, a puff stitch, and instructional symbols such as brackets and arrows. Inevitably, though, you’ll come up with some stitch combo that doesn’t exist in the font. I originally downloaded this thinking I’d be able to chart the lace edging for Bite Me, for instance, but that calls for a [tr, ch1] 5 times into one sc. That particular combo just isn’t available, alas.

That brings us to the other big limitation–and this is just a factor of SC being a font rather than a program–is that it can only be used for flat, back-and-forth type charts. If you want to diagram circular motifs, you’ll have to do a lot of manipulating in an image program. I haven’t tried this, wouldn’t really know where to begin, and I’m not sure if I’d want to bother anyway. If I really needed this kind of diagramming done (and with future patterns, I might), I would probably just try to hire someone with the software and the skill set to get it done quickly and easily.

Edited April 4, 2010: Adriana now has a tutorial (part one and part two) on her blog on using Stitchin Crochet in Adobe Illustrator to create circular charts. Unfortunately, I don’t own or use Illustrator but if I ever get my hands on it, this will probably be the first thing I try 🙂

I’ve played around with the Stitchin Crochet in Word, Excel and Fireworks. Excel or another spreadsheet program may be the best bet for initially writing the pattern. Unlike Word, it allows me to fill in a grid and work from the bottom up, the way most charts are laid out and the way most directions are written. Fireworks allows me to easily save my charts as various types of images. Any of these programs will let you manipulate the size and color of individual symbols.

Here’s a quick example of a fairly simple stitch pattern (Boxed Shell Stitch from Basic Crochet Stitches p. 39), rendered in SC:

It was laid out in Excel. The numerals are in Arial and I changed colors on alternate rows to make it easier to read. As you can see, the symbols are spaced a bit further apart than you’d see in most professional publications and the most obvious difference is that the 5-dc shells don’t stretch out to make a more accurate visual image of the stitch pattern. Each symbol gets about the same amount of space regardless of how many stitches it would equal in real life. You could, I suppose, save the symbols as images and stretch them out, but sheesh, I’m not sure that I want to bother.

Okay, I do want to bother. I can’t help myself. Here’s the same chart done in Fireworks, playing around with the kerning, font sizes of individual symbols, and line spacing. Not perfect, but much better, and if I were willing to fuss with it more, I could align it better and add the rest of the row numbers and generally make it look pretty darn professional:


Overall: For $3, SC is a great bargain. The symbols are crisp and clear and take very little effort. Given the nature of crochet and the fact that it’s still not quite as popular as knitting, I’m not too optimistic that we’ll get a crochet version of KV anytime soon (but I can hope). But in the meantime, for the price of two aluminum hooks you can get symbols to cover a wide range of stitch patterns and make them available to publishers, customers or just yourself. Really, what’s not to like?

PS. Just found out that the creator of this font is Adriprints on Ravelry and elsewhere and that I’ve seen her postings in several forums without making the connection. Just got that funny feeling I get when the world gets a half-size smaller 🙂

 

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