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Monday, November 24, 2014

Round 5? Meh...

A few days ago I added a fifth round to Rosaleen, the design from this post.

It was good practice. I found it was a bit more difficult to add a new round when one was never planned. But, as a stand alone motif, I don't like it. It's too big for a snowflake, and oddly shaped for a coaster.

I did have the idea that it might work as the center of a larger doily. I've never designed a doily before, so it would be a good learning experience for me.

At the same time, I wanted to see if Inkscape was a viable resource for drafting tatting designs. You see, I simply cannot create something unless I have a visual reference to guide me. I often get ideas of how to put elements together, but unless they are drawn out in front of me, I don't really know if it will look any good.

The iPad app (Kaleidoscope Drawing Pad) is good for making small designs. However, there is not nearly enough room to draw a doily. So, to Inkscape, to create a design draft:

I used the diagram I had for Rounds 1 through 4 and added to the design. It took about an hour (maybe a bit longer) to create, and it's not perfect, but good enough to give me an idea of how the design could look visually.

Creating the above drawing involves using some techniques that I have not covered yet. I plan to get back to making Inkscape posts in early December. Hopefully, by that time I will also have the diagrams ready for Rosaleen, so that I can post them to my Free Patterns section. I will make a post about it when it's available.

For Carollyn: Here is the motif in size 80, without Round 5. The thrown rings in Round 4 have also been omitted. It measures 3.5 inches across at its widest and may give you an idea of what to expect if you were to tat all five rounds in size 80.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

6) Multicolored Elements: Lock Chains

Today I will be talking about how to use Inkscape to draw Lock Chains. (In my next post, I will talk about how to use a similar technique to draw Split Rings.) Here is a sampling of what you can do:

Black and White:

If you are working with a black and white diagram, you may want to take a look at the variety of dashes that can be applied to your drawing. They can be found under the Fill and Stroke menu, which is accessible from the main menu under Object > Fill and Stroke.

On the Fill and Stroke menu, select the tab labeled "Stroke Style." Here you will see a section labeled "Dashes" which contains a number of different styles you can use. Make sure to have your chain selected for this menu to become active. You may also have to widen your Stroke Width to make everything more visible. I am using a width of 3 pixels.

Below, I've drawn a few chains (some with the circle tool and others with the Bezier tool) and set different dash styles to each one:


If you are working with color, the process will be a bit different. As far as I know, the current version of Inkscape does not support lines with multiple colors. So, we have to fake it by duplicating and overlapping two differently colored lines:

The first step to creating the above image is to draw a chain. You can use the circle tool, Bezier tool, or your own preferred method. Increase the Stroke Width so that your colors can be easily seen. I chose a width of 4 pixels, but anything in the 2 to 5 pixel range should be fine.

Change the line color (Shift + Click on your color palette) to one of the two colors you plan to use in your diagram. Although we can change the line color at any time, it is easier to do so now, before we overlap our chain with a duplication. I've changed my chain to red:

Next, duplicate this chain (Ctrl+D) but DO NOT move the duplication. We want the duplicated image to lay directly over top of our original, so that we can create the illusion of one line. Change the color of the Duplication to the second color you have chosen to use (in my case blue):

Now, with your Duplication still selected, open up the Fill and Stroke menu and go to the section labeled "Dashes" under the tab for Stroke Style. Choose the type of dash that you would like to use from the drop down menu:

We can now see the red line emerge from underneath the blue line:

When you are happy with your result, don't forget to Group both lines (Ctrl+G) so that they can be moved and edited as one:

The same process can be performed on straight lines:

And on other shapes as well:

Please Note: Inkscape will often keep prior settings when drawing new lines. After selecting a style from the "Dashes" menu, you may find that every line you draw is a dash. To fix this, you will have to go back into Stroke Style and change the dash back into a solid line.

If you would like to change colors AFTER duplicating:

After duplicating, we have two lines, one directly on top of the other. Due to the overlap of lines, you will find that using the cursor tool only selects the line that lies on top. If you would like to change the color of the line that lies beneath, we have to use a workaround.

Let's take my example of the red and blue lock chain. In this case, the blue line lies on top of the red line. I know this because when the chain is Ungrouped, clicking on it will show blue in the lower left corner of my screen:

Even if I click on a red section of the chain, it will still display as blue in the lower left corner. This is because the red line is below the blue line, and inaccessible to the cursor.

Changing the blue line is easy. Simply select the chain (make sure it is ungrouped first!) and then Shift+Click on a color from the palette. I've changed mine to black:

Changing the red line is harder. To do so, we are going to have to temporarily break the image apart so that the red line can be selected. (Don't worry, it's easy to put back together). With your cursor, drag the top (dashed) line away:

Now, select the red line (or whatever line you had underneath) with your cursor:

And press Ctrl+Z on your keyboard to undo the move. This should NOT undo the selection of the red line. You can confirm this by looking in the lower left corner of your screen to see which color is displayed. My screen displays red, letting me know that the red line is still selected:

Now, changing colors is just as easy as it was with the blue line. All I have to do is hold Shift while selecting a color from the palette. I've chosen light blue:


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Free Diagramming Template

Hi everyone! I was planning to include a free diagramming template in a future post, but I decided to go ahead and offer it today. I've created an Inkscape file with a variety of ring constructions that you can copy paste into your own diagrams. Here is a screenshot:

Click here to access the file on Google Drive.

To be able to use the file, you will have to download it to your computer. There should be a Download button at the top of the screen after clicking on the above link. Make sure that you have Inkscape installed, because the file is in .svg format and may not show up properly in other programs.

Also, a brief note to those making your own diagrams: When you save your final version, make sure to export it as a PDF so that it is accessible to the general public. To do this, go to File > Save As:

Then choose PDF from the drop down menu on the save screen:

There will be some boxes to check. Select "Convert text to paths" and "Rasterize filter effects." Then decide if you want to export just your drawing, or the whole page (I always choose page):

That's it for now. I will probably resume making tutorial posts next week. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

5) Grouping, Line Width, and Color

Today's post will cover how to group objects, edit line width, and change color. I'll be using the trefoil from my previous post to create the following image:


Grouping is a feature that is used to combine objects so that they can be edited as one unified whole. Grouping comes in handy in a number of situations. We might group a trefoil so that we don't have to edit each ring separately. We might create a diagram with all rings in one group and all chains in another. With a few clicks we could change all of the rings to red and the chains to blue. Grouping can also be used to rotate entire sections of a diagram to create images such as snowflakes.

To group: Drag the cursor over all of the objects that you want to combine.

The individual boxes show you which items have been selected:

To group these items, press Ctrl+G on your keyboard. You can also group and ungroup by clicking on the following icons on your screen:

If you can't find the grouping icons, you can go to the menu at the top of the screen, and go to Object > Group:

After we have grouped our selection, notice the border has increased to include all three rings in the trefoil:

We can now duplicate, resize, and rotate the trefoil without having to edit each ring separately:

(For more about duplicating, resizing, and rotating click here)

If, at any time, you'd like to Ungroup: Select the object and press Shift+Ctrl+G. You can also click on the Ungroup icon on your screen, or go to Object > Ungroup on the menu.

Line Width:

In Inkscape, "Stroke" refers to the lines that form our images. We can adjust the thickness of our lines by editing Stroke Width.

It is much easier to edit Stroke Width in groups, however, to get an idea of the original width, I am going to briefly Ungroup my trefoil. I am doing this because Grouped items have a tendency to display Stroke Width as "Unset," which doesn't help me at all in figuring out what values to work with.

With my trefoil Ungrouped, I can click on one of the rings to see Stroke value in the lower left corner of the screen:

I can also see this value by opening up the Fill and Stroke menu. To open up the menu, double click on the area to the right of the word Stroke:

I can also access the Fill and Stroke menu from the top of the screen, by selecting Object > Fill and Stroke:

After the Fill and Stroke menu opens, click on the tab that says "Stroke Style." Make note of the width that is displayed, in this case, 1 pixel (px).

Now I am going to group my trefoil again, so that I don't have to change the width of each ring individually. With a grouped object, the Stroke may display as Unset. In the lower left corner of the screen, double clicking on "Unset" will bring up the Fill and Stroke menu again:

I want to make the lines in my trefoil thicker, so I am going to increase the Stroke value to 2 pixels. After typing in a new value, press Enter on the keyboard to get the change to take effect. Make sure that you are working in the correct units on the drop down menu (in this case "px" for pixels).

Now my trefoil looks like this:


There are two types of color changes: Fill and Stroke. Fill refers to the inside of the object, while Stroke refers to the outline of the object. For tatting diagrams, we usually only need to change the outline color. To do so, select your object and hold Shift down on your keyboard while you select a color from the palette at the bottom of the screen:

If you want to create a custom color, open up the Fill and Stroke menu and click on the tab for "Stroke Paint." Then choose a style (in this case I've chosen "flat color") and slide the Red, Green, and Blue dials (R, G, B) to create a color of your own:

For tatting diagrams, we typically want to set Fill to "X" so that the shapes are not colored in. Fill should be set to "X" by default, but if you need to you can select your object and click on the "X" in the lower left part of the screen to eliminate Fill. (Holding Shift down is NOT required to change Fill)

If you'd like to fill in your shape with a color, simply click on a color from the palette at the bottom of the screen. You can also open up the Fill and Stroke menu and click on the tab that says "Fill" to make custom edits to color.

I like to diagram my rings in red, so my final trefoil looks like this:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Revisiting "Rosaleen"

I'm starting to get burned out from writing Inkscape tips, which is a sign that I need to pace myself better. I tend to go into things with the idea that I am going to take it slowly, and then I never do. I'm still super excited about diagramming though, and I feel a bit like a mad scientist in that regard :)

On the design front, I've been revisiting a pattern that I designed back in March of this year. Just before designing this motif, I had watched one of my favorite movies: The Company of Wolves. The main character is named Rosaleen, and for lack of a better idea, this pattern was called Rosaleen.

There was some interest when I posted photos in my Works in Progress post, and I figured that I really should finish diagramming this pattern before the end of the year. When I do, I will post it to my Free Patterns page.

I tatted another copy last week, just to make sure that the notes I had were accurate:

This motif can also be connected together to form a hexagonal mat. I'd still like to tat a fifth round, which would be an optional addition to turn this pattern into a coaster. I'll have to see how that goes and if I can come up with something that I like.

I don't want to bore you all with too much diagramming stuff, but I think I have really benefited from taking the time to research Inkscape for my tutorial. I was able to create this diagram with some new things that I learned, and it was so much easier than what I had been doing before:

Here's a snapshot of my Inkscape screen. I've used an imported photo to draw on top of, layers to work each round individually, and guides to snap a point of rotation to the center of the diagram. All things I hope to share later on in my tutorial.

Now I just need to work on that fifth round, colorize my diagram, and add some numbers.

Monday, November 10, 2014

4) Duplicating, Resizing, and Rotating

Today I will talk about how to use three functions in Inkscape: duplicating, resizing, and rotating. Using these functions, we can create shapes such as trefoils:

1) Duplicating

Duplicating is a very important feature in Inkscape. It allows you to make multiple copies of an object so that they don't have to be drawn from scratch.

To duplicate an object, select it with the cursor tool and press Ctrl+D on your keyboard. When you duplicate an object, the copy will be placed exactly on top of the original. You will have to click and drag it from the original to see the two images:

Duplication can be used as many times as you want, and is a real time saver when creating new rings, chains, and picots.

2) Resizing

Resizing is very straight forward and can be done by dragging the arrows that appear when an object is selected.

As you drag the arrows, it is important to hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard. This will prevent the proportions from becoming skewed.

Resizing an image also changes the thickness of the lines. This can be fixed by opening the Fill and Stroke menu and inputting a new width under "Stroke Style." To learn more about how to do this, Click Here and scroll down to the section labeled "Line Width"

If you want to be more precise about resizing an image, we can do so by going to Object > Transform on the main menu:

The Transform menu allows us to resize by a variety of measures, including pixels (px), centimeters (cm) and percentages (%). If you would like to maintain the proportions of the object you are resizing, make sure to check the box to scale proportionally. Below, I've chosen to change size by percentage.

To resize, make sure that you have your object selected, then input a value into either Width or Height, and click on "Apply." With the box checked to scale proportionally, we only have to enter in one value and the other will automatically fill in. In this case, I've typed 50% into Width:

Here is the result:

3) Rotating

There are three ways to rotate an object. The first is very similar to the method we used to resize our image. Find the object you want to rotate, and click on it twice. Notice that as you click on the object multiple times, the arrows toggle between resizing arrows and rotating arrows. Rotating arrows can be seen in the image below:

To rotate an object, click and drag on one of the rotation arrows until you have the angle that you want.

A second way to rotate an object is to use the hot keys at the top of the screen. These will appear when the object is selected. I've circled them in red:

The hot keys will only rotate your object in 90 degree increments, or flip it vertically or horizontally. If you want to rotate by a different increment, you can use a third option.

To rotate by a predetermined amount, select the object you want to rotate and from the top menu, click on Object > Transform:

Select the "Rotate" tab and enter the amount by which you'd like to rotate. Then press "Apply"

My ring has now been rotated by 60 degrees:

Creating a Trefoil:

Let's use duplicating, resizing, and rotating to create a trefoil.

We can begin by duplicating our basic ring so that we have two copies:

Next, we can resize one of the rings to create the larger central ring typically seen in tatted trefoils:

With the larger ring selected, we can use the hot key at the top of the screen to flip the image vertically:

Here is the result:

Now, using the rotating arrows on our smaller ring, we can turn the ring:

And drag it close to our large ring:

Let's duplicate the small ring again so we can place the other side of the trefoil:

Use the hot key at the top of the screen to flip the duplicated image horizontally:

We can now move our flipped ring in place, to finish our trefoil: