Category: Writing a book

Imagical Seasons: New Patterns, Giveaway + MORE!

I’m so excited to share with you all a sneak peek of my very first book. Although it seems that the amount of work to be done is still endless and I still need to learn lots of new skills and things, I’m so glad that I started this book venture! I’m absolutely sure that I would do this again, especially if I will be teaming up again with incredible Tin Ambat and Annya Uslontseva! Tin’s brilliant descriptions and Anna’s fantastic book layout have made the book look great, even if it is still a draft version and only 1/3 of it is done…

 

So, let me introduce:

Imagical SeasonsTM: Crochet Couture for Kids 2-12 years

Imaginative and magical designs for little ones in your life.

… where Imagical is a portmanteau word – a combination of “imagine” and “magical”. It describes perfectly what I want to achieve: coming up with unique ideas and designs, and making them a reality through the application of basic crochet and knitting skills…

 

Want a sneak peek of book and pattern preview?

Imagical Seasons01

Imagical Seasons02

 

Well, this is not a final version – still need to do photos for book and polish a bit there and there, but it’s pretty close to what book will look like ;o)

What do you think? Any questions or advice about the book name, designs, layout, charts, or instructions? I would love to hear from you! Please leave your comments, suggestions and feedback here. All your input is appreciated!

 

*** Patterns release update: Silverlace and Tropicana Blanket patterns will be released this afternoon  are released, and Petalline dress pattern – tomorrow will be released September, 4 (not sure what was in my mind when I offered two releases of such big patterns in 2 days, I still need to do the modeling and polish pattern a bit – my apologies for this delay) .

Both patterns are released and available now (click links below):

Silverlace and Tropicana Blanket

Petalline Dress and Poncho

 

Of course, we will have our traditional little giveaway … the first 6 people who leave a comment on this post will get blankets or dress patterns (one pattern per person – fully for your choice) via email in PDF format, absolutely FREE right they will be released! *** This giveaway is closed and winners are: Donna, Mary Z, Mutant Supermodel, Natasha, Laurie and Rose. My CONGRATULATIONS!! Dear ladies, please email me with your pattern choice and I’ll email your patterns right away!

 

AND … to celebrate this milestone in the book’s development, let’s have a CONTEST on top of our giveaway! You can enter the contest in 3 ways:

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment on this post. No other action is required!

Optional Entry # 2: Blog about this contest, linking to this post, and leave another comment to this post with a link to your blog post.

Optional Entry # 3: Share this post on your accounts at Google+, Facebook, Ravelry, Twitter, Yahoo, etc., and comment on this post with your link. You also can just share my original Google+ and Facebok posts. Share on more networks for more entries! (one entry per network only).

 

The winning commenter will receive a 50% coupon to my store, along with 5 balls (100g each) of Trigo yarn. The winner gets to choose what colors she/he would like! By the way, this is the same yarn I used for Silverlace Blanket and Petalline Dress (size 10/12).

 

Omega Trigo Ball

 

Also, everyone who submits a mandatory entry plus one optional entry will receive a 50% coupon for a one-time purchase (valid on everything, including the new patterns!) The coupon has no expiration date but is only good for one use, so choose your pattern(s) wisely!

This contest starts today, August 30, 2012 and will end on September 6, 2012 at 11:59pm PST.
I’ll select the winner with random.org’s random number generator. Winner will be notified by email on Friday, September 7, 2012.

 

So, what are you waiting for? Post your entries now and good luck to everyone!

Alla Koval Designs

Yes, it’s official! :)

First of all, many thanks for your patience and sorry for being away from my blog. Work on first book seems endless, but I’m pretty excited to see how it turned out and hope back to normal schedule somewhere in near future …or so ;o)

I’m so glad to letting you know that I’ve just got back edited Kristal collection, which is a part of my book, but we agreed that I’ll make it available as soon as possible ;o) Not to mention that you will see a sneak peek of book layout and find a book name on these pattern’s pages!

 

Kristal collection includes 5 designs, based on an idea to use same square motif in so many different ways—watch this lovely motif transform magically from a simple circle of stitches into an eight-petaled flower, then into a diamond, and finally into a gorgeous lace square! Work it in a single color for a pristine effect, or in combinations of different colors to highlight the changes in the pattern. Use different yarn weight and hook sizes to change the finished motif’s size. Even better, join it to other motifs as you go, and keep sewing to a minimum. As versatile as it is beautiful, the motif lends itself to several of the projects scheduled to be released this week:

 

1. Tropicana Blanket

Tropicana Blanket Web

 

2. Silverlace Blanket

Sneak Peek

 

3. Petalline Dress & Beach Cover

Petalline Dress

 

…. and hopefully the Dryad Scarf too—let me see.

Dryad Scarf Web

 

Wish me luck and see you pretty soon ;o)

Thank You!!

Thank you so much dear ladies for your comments about the diagrams!!

Personally I like first version much better too and I’m so glad we are on the same page, yay!! :o) The only thing I’ll probably change is orange to turquoise or lime green—let me see.

 

I would like to comment about some of the interesting points for the colors on the diagrams, as Krista and Mary mentioned:

I like both for different reasons. I like the way you have your pattern “breaks” laid out in version 1 better. And I like the color scheme of version 2 better. The dark and light break it up perfect and don’t make it too busy(or maybe it’s just because there’s only 2 colors. Is the row red because it’s the repeat row? If so, then I think the red circle and dash lines do the trick just fine without the whole row being red.
Just my opinion. Hope it helps you to see how others look at it.
"-
The first version definitely seems to me to have clearer definition! I always do prefer the charts, and, I think using a new colour for every line is the easiest to read quickly. If I am reading from a chart which is only printed in one colour, I actually use my coloured pens & retrace over each line using a new colour. Whilst this is a bit time consuming in the beginning, I still find it faster in the long run because I can quickly follow the current line I am up to without constantly stopping to check if I am following the correct line of symbols.
"-

Kristal Motif (used for Petalline Halter Dress) is a good example of my final color preferences. It’s 21 rounds motif and I’ve tried different colors for every other round, but which would look “readable” in b&w print too. And then during testing (for 4 more garments using this motif), I found that my eyes prefer black and grey version much more. And if talking about style, I really like grey/black version better too. As Krista said, black and grey diagrams are not too busy and pretty readable. The contrasting turquoise, lime or tide of orange I use to highlight repeats, joining motifs, etc… It’s work so far, but I still play with my own style, so let me see ;o)

 

Also, many thanks to Amanda for comment about breaks:

I like version 1 better for the different colors, especially for row 3 and the repeated rows. I like version 2 better with the way you did the breaks. It seems more natural to me to have a continuation of the pattern around denoted with a dashed line rather then a break and a jump in pattern rows shown by a break rather then a dash. I love that you include the written instructions along with the chart. I like to read through the instructions before starting to make sure that I am reading the chart correctly.
"-

In diagrams with one repeat/continuation (example: blanket border) I really like to use that “weaves” break (like laid out in version 1) than dashed line. But break in version 2 looks not clear enough for me, even if probably seems more logical than in version 1. We will see how it will work with other diagrams, and find the best solution for sure.

 

And below is sneak peek of my ~one more realized dream—I can draw LOL!! Well, even if it’s just simple schematics in Illustrator, but who knows ;o)

 

Petalline-Measurements

 

A wonderful and lovely Tuesday everyone!! We have 4th day of summer here (finally!!!!), so definitely enjoined it! :o)

Alla Koval Designs

 

Sneak Peek & Question to You

Would you like a sneak peek of my new style crochet diagrams, made with Adobe Illustator SC5—the best and most friendly drawing software ever!  I really can’t describe how happy I am with even though I am still learning how to get  max comfortable with such variety of Ai tools.

 

As I said before, I always loved stitch diagrams – the international language of crochet and knitting not only because they are more clear and easier to read compared to written instructions, but also because the patterns really do not need to be translated to any other language.

 

And I pay a lot attention to every detail and play with the styles to find the sharpest one.

But before take a decision which version is better, I would love to hear your opinion first.

Below are 2 versions of crochet diagram for pretty simple skirt/tube, worked in rounds in (ch 5, sc) pattern and shell edging.

So the question is: which version (Version 1 or Version 2) looks more clear for you? If none of these look clear to you, please explain why. And if you would like something to be changed please say so.

Thank you so much for your time!! Every one Your opinions will count and be much appreciated!

 

Underskirt-Diagram

 

Underskirt-Diagram-Version-2

 

But if you prefer written instructions – sure they are available and included too (written in US English as all my patterns):

Skirt

In the news

Just a quick update that Petalline Halter Dress pattern is done as well and another 4 book projects and patterns using that same gorgeous motif.

All patterns will be send to tech editors today and right after I get them back, they will be released – yes, I decided to make them available before the book will be published. Stay tuned for more details ;o)

 

Ethno11

Ethno1

Ethno2

And above is current book pattern, I’m working now.

Yes, I know… it took me almost a year to get back to this project, but later is better than never I hope ;o) I also would like to thank you so much for your patience! This is going to be a vest (as shown), waist jacket and coat (as I promised)…

And most excited news (I guess) that is one more pattern, which will be released before book published. So, you will have 2, really volumetric patterns with endless possibilities and variations… just in near future (read—as soon as possible)!

 

Ethno12

Ethno7

 

Happy and productive Monday everyone!!

Alla Koval Designs

Sneak Peek

Sneak Peek

I am thrilled to show you my first tank top for our new collaboration with amazing Francoise Lama-Solet for the cover of the summer issue of Wee Style Magazine adorable Mya and Autumn will be modeling.

Also I’m also pretty excited about this my scallops pattern! And mainly because the scallop motifs are crocheted in one piece with minimal joining and weaving, making this top an easy and fun to make. The bodice is also worked in one piece with crocheted darling flowers as you go.

 

Poppy Top01

The scallops can be turned in any theme you may think of – ocean, cruise, romantic, tropical bright aka rumba, where each layer is crocheted in contrasting color… well, just to name a few! Francoise and I decided work in floral/butterfly theme, so I’ve turned my scallop top into base top with scallops edgings in neon lime – not only pretty popular color this season, but also a color, which gives such fresh look and will fit most everything perfect.

 

Poppy Top02

Poppy Pin011

Poppy Pin02

 

P.S.: Yes, I consider to add this top and new poppy pin patterns to my book ;o)

 

Alla Koval Designs

Trade Secrets à la Koval. Crochet Symbol Charts with Adobe Illustrator CS5

Even if I get asked a lot about how I draw my crochet diagrams, just about a week ago I started to use Adobe Illustrator and I really can’t describe how I’m happy with this drawing software and with a new and exactly look of my diagrams I wanted!! And as I promised, I’m so glad to share some helpful links and tips, which helped me a lot. So, let’s go!

 

Get started

If you don’t have this software, you may want to try trial version of Adobe Illustrator® CS5 first, which is fully functional and offers every feature of the product for you to test-drive. To get started, I would highly recommend Illustrator CS5 Essential Training by lynda. Take your time to watch this course, which includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics, and shows how to use each of Illustrator’s drawing tools. It’s really matters to pass first learning bumps and get comfortable with Ai tools first of all.

 

Creating crochet charts

To create the charts you will need a library of crochet symbols first of all. You have two options: create your own or purchase a crochet font like StitchingCrochet (or ready-made library if any is available for sell). Below are links to amazing video tutorials how to create diagrams in rounds using StitchinCrochet font by BayviewPaula (sure this technique will work for your custom created symbols too):

StitchinCrochet Tutorial: Part 1
StitchinCrochet Tutorial: Part 2
StitchinCrochet Tutorial: Part 3
StitchinCrochet Tutorial: Part 4
StitchinCrochet Tutorial: Part 5 (final)

Many thanks to Paula for such helpful and clever tutorials! It’s really everything you need to know for creating your very first crochet charts.

 

Making a library of crochet stitch symbols

Creating your own library of stich symbols makes a sense for several reasons:

  • Custom style (stroke weight, cap, corners, etc.)
  • Flexibility of work with symbols (to transform, change proportions):

Dewdrop Pin Chart Rotaiting HDC

  • Ability to create any customs groups of symbols like petals, shells, etc.
  • Create all symbols you needed (StitchingCrochet has most of them, but not all). Well, you may use both: font and partial library to adjust styles.
  • Using cool tools (like Blend tool), which doesn’t work with fonts.

Amie, from Nexstitch, has great detailed tutorials on using Adobe Illustrator to create symbols and diagrams on her blog.

Below is a part of my library of symbols, which were created with Line Segment tool Line Sigment Tool and Ellipse tool Ellipse tool. Make sure the symbols have same Width (mine are 25 px wide) and proportional Height values (sc – 25 px, hdc – 50 px, dc – 75 px, etc.). New Width and Height values can be specified in the Control panel at any time if needed.

Crochet Symbols

 

Creating Shells

Probably there are other and more easy ways to do that, but so far I made Shells by using Envelope Distort.

1 Create a group of 5 dc and 2 hdc, transformed as shown below (click pictures to enlarge).

5 dc Shell

2 Select all elements with Selection tool Selection Tool and go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp. In the Warp Options dialog box, select a warp style Arc. Click Preview check box to see the changes.

5dc Shell03

3 Change Bend and Vertical Distortion parameters to get shape close to this (Blend: 30%, Vertical: –34%).

5dc Shell04

4 Adjust size as desired. To reshape the envelope, drag any anchor point on the envelope with the Direct Selection tool Direct Selection Tool if needed.

5dc Shell05 Dewdrop Pin Chart

 

Creating charts of a row projects

I work on Sunlit Rose Bolero pattern now and will show you one of the ways how to create diagram in rows, especially if row is 193 sts wide.

Size 4

NOTE: I work on a PC in Adobe Illustrator CS5. The set up on a Mac looks a little different and the keyboard shortcuts are different too.

 

1 Open up a new document File > New. Call it “Body Chart” for example.
Set up options:

  • New Document Profile. Choose Custom.
  • Size of document. To calculate a Width of document (important for Blend tool), simple multiply a width of ch (25 px) by number of chains (194): 25 px x 193 = 4825 px. For a High – set up 3000 px (it can be easy changed at any time if needed). Click OK.

Body Chart01

 

2 Creating beg ch of 193 chs with Blend Tool.
First, start out by copy (Control + C)/pasting (Control + V) a chain stitch from a library of symbols to Body Chart document. Mine is called Crochet Symbols.ai (see screenshot below – highlighted in green). Zoom in to see it closer (look in the bottom, left corner of the workspace). Select a chain stitch with Selection tool Selection Tool and move a chain to lower left corner by set up next options:

  • Reference Point (click at lower left corner of Reference Point icon)
  • Set up X and Y value: X=0 px; Y=3000 px . This first chain is start of the blend.

Body Chart02

 

3 Duplicate a chain by pasting (Control + V) or by dragging (my absolute favorite tool so far!): select a chain and Alt‑drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) the selection. Set up for second chain (end of the blend):  X=4800 px (4825 – 25); Y=3000 px. Set blending options by double-clicking the Blend tool Blend Tool or choosing Object > Blend > Blend Options. Spacing determines how many steps are added to the blend. Choose Specified Steps and set up 191 (2 chains we have already). Click OK.

Body Chart03

 

4 Select both objects (chains). Choose Object > Blend > Make. Beginning chain is complete. Change layer name to Ch 193 or Beg Ch. Block layer to prevent any accidental changes (optional).

Body Chart04

 

Some more ideas  of using Blend tool. Add new layer. Rep steps 2-3, but with dc stitch and set up Spacing > Specified Steps = 95. Then choose Object > Blend > Make. You will get dc located in “every other” order.

Body Chart041

 

Then create new layer. Rep steps steps 2-3, but with chain stitch placed between first two (X=25 px) and last two dc (X=4800 px). Set up Spacing > Specified Steps = 94. Then choose Object > Blend > Make. You got a row of Mesh pattern in a minutes, don’t you! Yes, you are right – here should be a beginning ch-4, but I’m not finished ;o) So, let’s go back to our Body Chart.

Body Chart042

 

5 To add beg ch-3, you need to resize the artboard (add extra width value to the right). Select the Artboard tool Artboard Tool, click to select an artboard. To resize the artboard, position the pointer on an edge or corner until the cursor changes to a double-sided arrow, and then drag to adjust. Or, specify new Width and Height values in the Control panel.

Body Chart05

 

6 Add new layer and name it Row 1. Copy (Control + C)/pasting (Control + V) a chain stitch from your “library of symbols” to Body Chart document. Align a chain stitch to the beg chain (you should see the word, “intersect” in blue).
Select the Rotate tool Rotate Tool.

  • To rotate the chain around point A, click once in the document window in point A to reposition the reference point. Then move the pointer away from the reference point and drag in a circular motion, holding down Alt (Windows) after you start to drag.
  • Duplicate 2nd chain by dragging Alt-drag (Windows).
  • Duplicate 3rd chain by pasting (Control + D). Group beg ch-3.

Body Chart06

 

7 Copy (Control + C)/pasting (Control + V) a dc stitch (Wight value = 25 px, Height value = 75) from a library of symbols to Body Chart document. Set up: X=0 px, Y= 2990 px.

Body Chart07

 

8 Copy (Control + C)/pasting (Control + V) a V-st stitch (Wight value = 75 px, Height value = 75) from a library of symbols to Body Chart document. Set up: X=25 px, Y= 2990 px. Adjust Width and Height values of V-st: Width = 70 (to make a space between V-st symbols of 2.5 px from each side); Height = 75 px. Adjust Height value of dc: Height = 71 px.

Body Chart08

 

9 Duplicate V-st by dragging Alt-drag (Windows). Change Reference Point by clicking at right lower corner of Reference Point icon. Set up for V-st: X=4822.5 px, Y= 2990 px.

Body Chart09

 

10 Set up blending options: Spacing > Specified Steps = 62. With Selection tool Selection Tool select both V-sts. Then choose Object > Blend > Make. To make second row, duplicate layer Row 1 and change beg sts. To make short rows, duplicate 1st V-st by dragging Alt-drag (Windows) and then duplicate symbol as many times as need by Ctr + D.

Body Chart10

 

Looks as I’m completely hooked! ;o) To be continued…

 

    Nothing is fun until you’re good at it.
- Amy Chua

Amie, from Nexstitch, has great detailed tutorials on using Adobe Illustrator to create symbols and diagrams on her blog.

Below is a part of my library of symbols, which were created with Line Segment tool Line Sigment Tool and Ellipse tool Ellipse tool. Make sure the symbols have same Width (mine are 25 px wide) and proportional Height values (sc – 25 px, hdc – 50 px, dc – 75 px, etc.). New Width and Height values can be specified in the Control panel at any time if needed.

Crochet Symbols

 

Creating Shells

Probably there are other and more easy ways to do that, but so far I made Shells by using Envelope Distort.

1 Create a group of 5 dc and 2 hdc, transformed as shown below (click pictures to enlarge).

5 dc Shell

2 Select all elements with Selection tool Selection Tool and go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp. In the Warp Options dialog box, select a warp style Arc. Click Preview check box to see the changes.

5dc Shell03

3 Change Bend and Vertical Distortion parameters to get shape close to this (Blend: 30%, Vertical: –34%).

5dc Shell04

4 Adjust size as desired. To reshape the envelope, drag any anchor point on the envelope with the Direct Selection tool Direct Selection Tool if needed.

5dc Shell05 Dewdrop Pin Chart

 

Creating charts of a row projects

I work on Sunlit Rose Bolero pattern now and will show you one of the ways how to create diagram in rows, especially if row is 193 sts wide.

Size 4

NOTE: I work on a PC in Adobe Illustrator CS5. The set up on a Mac looks a little different and the keyboard shortcuts are different too.

 

1 Open up a new document File > New. Call it “Body Chart” for example.
Set up options:

  • New Document Profile. Choose Custom.
  • Size of document. To calculate a Width of document (important for Blend tool), simple multiply a width of ch (25 px) by number of chains (194): 25 px x 193 = 4825 px. For a High – set up 3000 px (it can be easy changed at any time if needed). Click OK.

Body Chart01

 

2 Creating beg ch of 193 chs with Blend Tool.
First, start out by copy (Control + C)/pasting (Control + V) a chain stitch from a library of symbols to Body Chart document. Mine is called Crochet Symbols.ai (see screenshot below – highlighted in green). Zoom in to see it closer (look in the bottom, left corner of the workspace). Select a chain stitch with Selection tool Selection Tool and move a chain to lower left corner by set up next options:

  • Reference Point (click at lower left corner of Reference Point icon)
  • Set up X and Y value: X=0 px; Y=3000 px . This first chain is start of the blend.

Body Chart02

 

3 Duplicate a chain by pasting (Control + V) or by dragging (my absolute favorite tool so far!): select a chain and Alt‑drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) the selection. Set up for second chain (end of the blend):  X=4800 px (4825 – 25); Y=3000 px. Set blending options by double-clicking the Blend tool Blend Tool or choosing Object > Blend > Blend Options. Spacing determines how many steps are added to the blend. Choose Specified Steps and set up 191 (2 chains we have already). Click OK.

Body Chart03

 

4 Select both objects (chains). Choose Object > Blend > Make. Beginning chain is complete. Change layer name to Ch 193 or Beg Ch. Block layer to prevent any accidental changes (optional).

Body Chart04

 

Some more ideas  of using Blend tool. Add new layer. Rep steps 2-3, but with dc stitch and set up Spacing > Specified Steps = 95. Then choose Object > Blend > Make. You will get dc located in “every other” order.

Body Chart041

 

Then create new layer. Rep steps steps 2-3, but with chain stitch placed between first two (X=25 px) and last two dc (X=4800 px). Set up Spacing > Specified Steps = 94. Then choose Object > Blend > Make. You got a row of Mesh pattern in a minutes, don’t you! Yes, you are right – here should be a beginning ch-4, but I’m not finished ;o) So, let’s go back to our Body Chart.

Body Chart042

 

5 To add beg ch-3, you need to resize the artboard (add extra width value to the right). Select the Artboard tool Artboard Tool, click to select an artboard. To resize the artboard, position the pointer on an edge or corner until the cursor changes to a double-sided arrow, and then drag to adjust. Or, specify new Width and Height values in the Control panel.

Body Chart05

 

6 Add new layer and name it Row 1. Copy (Control + C)/pasting (Control + V) a chain stitch from your “library of symbols” to Body Chart document. Align a chain stitch to the beg chain (you should see the word, “intersect” in blue).
Select the Rotate tool Rotate Tool.

  • To rotate the chain around point A, click once in the document window in point A to reposition the reference point. Then move the pointer away from the reference point and drag in a circular motion, holding down Alt (Windows) after you start to drag.
  • Duplicate 2nd chain by dragging Alt-drag (Windows).
  • Duplicate 3rd chain by pasting (Control + D). Group beg ch-3.

Body Chart06

 

7 Copy (Control + C)/pasting (Control + V) a dc stitch (Wight value = 25 px, Height value = 75) from a library of symbols to Body Chart document. Set up: X=0 px, Y= 2990 px.

Body Chart07

 

8 Copy (Control + C)/pasting (Control + V) a V-st stitch (Wight value = 75 px, Height value = 75) from a library of symbols to Body Chart document. Set up: X=25 px, Y= 2990 px. Adjust Width and Height values of V-st: Width = 70 (to make a space between V-st symbols of 2.5 px from each side); Height = 75 px. Adjust Height value of dc: Height = 71 px.

Body Chart08

 

9 Duplicate V-st by dragging Alt-drag (Windows). Change Reference Point by clicking at right lower corner of Reference Point icon. Set up for V-st: X=4822.5 px, Y= 2990 px.

Body Chart09

 

10 Set up blending options: Spacing > Specified Steps = 62. With Selection tool Selection Tool select both V-sts. Then choose Object > Blend > Make. To make second row, duplicate layer Row 1 and change beg sts. To make short rows, duplicate 1st V-st by dragging Alt-drag (Windows) and then duplicate symbol as many times as need by Ctr + D.

Body Chart10

 

Looks as I’m completely hooked! ;o) To be continued…

 

    Nothing is fun until you’re good at it.
- Amy Chua