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Illustrator for Cablework Charts


My final installment of the Illustrator for knitting charts series, is now completed. I think that those of you who feel comfortable with the first two tutorials will find this one pretty straightforward, with just a couple new skills to apply.

For those of you who haven't seen the other tutorials, I highly recommend you watch them before trying this tutorial.

Illustrator for colorwork charts, has all sorts of introductory information on using Illustrator which will be applied through all the subsequent tutorials.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Illustrator for stitch pattern charts, builds off those basic skills and adds custom made shapes.
Watch it here.

Lastly, here is Illustrator for cablework charts where we expand on making custom shapes and build a more complex chart. I've created this last tutorial in High Def so you can enlarge these and really get a good look at what I'm doing.

Part I

Part II

Download the chart I built here and play along at home.

Next up, I'd like to do a tutorial or two on InDesign and features that may be useful to designers. If you have any questions or requests, please don't hesitate to leave me a comment. And of course, any hints or tips you want to share would be great.

It's been a long time, but I've finally added another installment to my Illustrator for Charts series.

Standard caveats: This tutorial is shown on a Mac using Adobe Illustrator CS3. If you are on a different platform or a different version of Illustrator, some steps may be different. I do not offer Illustrator support. If you have any questions beyond what is shown in this tutorial, you will need to refer to your user guide. But, if you have any tips, suggestions, or corrections, feel free to leave them in the comments.

For those who haven't had a chance to view them, there are three very detailed introductory tutorials for colorwork charts. These will give you a strong foundation for building charts in Illustrator and the skills learned there will be applied to this and any subsequent tutorials I do. You can view Parts 1, 2, and 3 if you haven't already.

This next tutorial expands on those skills to create your standard, non-cable stitch patterns charts, including knit and purl, and lace patterns. We'll learn how to make some commonly used stitch symbols using shapes, and the pen tool.

If you would like to download the file I created in the tutorial, I have saved it to be compatible with versions of Illustrator as old as version 10. Download it here. You are welcome to use this file for any commercial or non-commercial purpose.

At some point, I want to conclude this series with a tutorial on cable charts. They are not hard but have a few additional considerations we haven't had in these previous tutorials. If you have any other requests, don't hesitate to let me know, in the comments.

In a previous tutorial, I have covered making colorwork charts in Excel. Excel is a wonderful option for simple charts because most people have access to and a comfort level with it or to a similar opensource alternative. However, for the persnickety designer, Excel lacks a certain level of precision and flexibility. Illustrator has a steeper learning curve but gives you unlimited freedom in designing your charts and many more options for file formats.

For this tutorial, I'm experimenting with doing videos instead of my usual written out method. I would love your feedback on which you prefer. You'll have to excuse my crummy editing, I'm still finding my way around iMovie.

I'm embedding the tutorials below, but I think you'll find them easier to view in High Quality [HQ] and in full screen, so you may want to watch the videos over in YouTube by clicking these links: Part I, Part II, Part III. If there's a good response to these video tutorials, I'll continue to create them, otherwise, I can go back to my old method.

As always, my standard caveats:

  • There are oodles of ways to create charts. This is one way, not necessarily the right or best way. Play around with the tools you have and adjust as you see fit.
  • I work on a mac and am using Adobe Illustrator CS3. Other versions of Illustrator, on other platforms may work differently. Consult your users manual if needed
  • I love hearing your ideas. If you have suggestions, leave them in the comments.

Download the Illustrator file here. Note: I've converted this file to be compatible with Illustrator 10 and higher.


Most images can be clicked for a larger view.

I get a surprisingly large number of questions about schematics so I thought it was time to cover that topic here.

This tutorial is meant to give you some basic skills for creating schematics in Adobe Illustrator or a similar vector based application. There are countless ways to create schematics, this is just how I like to do it. Hopefully, even if you don't have Illustrator, some of my suggestions will be useful for you if you've struggled with making your own schematics. These instructions are written by a Mac user and I am using Illustrator CS2 and CS3. I will try to provide appropriate alternatives for PC in brackets [], but no promises that they will be 100% accurate. Refer to your Help menu, if need be, for PC or older versions of Illustrator.

The first step, of course, is to open a blank document. (Once you've made a few schematics you like, you can start using the ones you've made as a template, which will save oodles of time.) I like to build the schematic to the approximate scale of the sample I am or will be knitting.

Once you have a blank document, go to the Illustrator Preferences [Options] and choose Guides and Grids.

You can use whatever you like for measurements, but I find it useful to start with a centimeter per inch relationship. I set up grid lines every centimeter with 4 subdivisions each, which allow me to get quarter inch increments in my scaled down schematic.

To make your grid visible, type CMND+' [CTRL+']

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