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Crochet Design: My Essentials

One of the questions I get asked a lot is how and where I get my inspiration for designs. There is really no easy answers.  Sometimes its something I've seen. Sometimes its a stitch pattern I like.  Sometimes, its because there is something I have to design.  But no matter where inspiration comes from, there are some essential tools I use to making them happen.

I could not live without my collection of stitch dictionaries.  I have very strict rules about going onto Pinterest and Ravelry when I am designing, so I rely on these for some serious inspiration.  Stitch dictionaries are essential to design, imho.  These are the 3 I use.

- 300 Crochet Patterns

I bought this from etsy and it has paid for itself.  Charted, like most Japanese crochet books - a huge source of inspiration with some unusual stitch combinations.

- Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs This is an enormous book and the newest addition to my library.  It has lots of lace and crochet fabric stitch patterns.  It contains charted and english instructions and is organised by stitches.  Its good and will be really useful in future garment designs.

- Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia An excellent taster of a book - it has lace and borders and Tunisian and cables and...just a lot of different crochet patterns.  It's the only one I have found that has a decent section of crochet cables.

For designing garments, I find Elizabeth Zimmerman and Barbara Walker essential.  All of these books are written for knitting, but it's not terribly hard to convert them to crochet.  Knitting without Tears saved me many when writing Crochet at Play, as I had no idea how to design a jumper and this talked me through the steps I needed. Also useful is the Knitter's Almanac. I am currently working on a cardigan with seamless set in sleeves, something I could not have made without Barbara Walker's Knitting from the Top. What is great about all of these is that they aren't knit by numbers books, rather they all tell you how to design your own garments, explaining the theories behind how each step works.  Invaluable information, particularly when paired with advice from sources like Ravelry and other friendly designers.


My other essentials are:

My Graphics Tablet.  I LOVE this thing.  I am terrible at drawing and I love this for pulling together sketches that don't look they were drawn by E, and making colourwork charts.  I use Adobe Creative Cloud for all of my image and design processing - so this just helps make it all a bit easier.

Silly I know, but I am soooooo picky about the hooks and scissors I use.  The scissors are from John Lewis and the hooks are the ones I talk about here. I keep meaning to phone the company and ask about supplying them to the UK, but I never remember during US business hours.

Finally, I love my sketchbook.  It's just a notebook with grid paper, but its my entire life - lists, and designs and sketches.

What are the tools you can't live with out?

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