Although you can use Stitch Fiddle for free, the options are somewhat limited. Of course, you could buy your way into using all the gizmos if you want. Before I spend money on something, I like to try it out. And that's why I love that you can actually USE the software with the free version - It's not just some free trial that ends in 7 days. (I'll show you those limits at the end of this post.) Now, let's learn a few of the things you can do with this amazing free tool:
First, choose your craft. You can create knitting and embroidery projects, too, but I'll only be showing you the crochet side of Stitch Fiddle.
And one more thing: It would be great for you to turn off your ad-blocker if you use one. The nice people at Stitch Fiddle have made this awesome tool available to us, and the page is not distastefully plastered with ads - It's just one little one at the bottom of the page. Be nice back (like you do for me, right?) and let them make a few pennies.
Now, what do you want to create? Choose "crochet with colors" to create a picture graph, "filet crochet" to easily make a filet chart, or "free form" to make anything your heart desires:
1. PICTURE GRAPHS
Design your own, or upload any picture you want to turn into a graph. Here are a few I've created:
(They are minimized for the sake of space... Click on the graphs to see what they really look like when expanded.)
Those are all very detailed pictures that would be hard (for me) to convert into crochet by eye. And they wouldn't be easy projects, either... I had to increase that sunset to a grid of 300 x 300 to get the resolution clear enough. I used photos that were already resized to a smaller image, but I tried again with one resized to more pixels. I also wished I had increased the colors to include the purple of the clouds, so I tried that, too:
Okay, so maybe this is something better done with a less-detailed picture. I just love that dramatic sunset, and I wish I could turn it into an afghan. Now that I know 20 colors still won't get me the image I'm looking for, I don't think I want to take on such an elaborate project.
2. FILET CHARTS
I'm not sure if there's a glitch in the site or if it's on my end... I couldn't get the "make your own" chart to load. (Summer thunderstorms have been causing internet trouble again, so I bet it's me.) So just to show you, I used the same photo of the amaryllis flower from above to create a filet grid:
I did the same again with the picture of the cat:
Uh... Obviously, this is another case where a less-detailed photo would convert to a better project. But to be fair, I've yet to use this feature to create a real filet project. I was only playing around to see how the pictures could compare in different forms.
3. FREE FORM
My favorite! You'll get a blank space to create a design in any shape or form you like. There are options already available for basic stitches when you begin your project:
Select the option shown above to add more advanced stitches that aren't found in the main options:
To make your chart easier to work on, use a new layer for each row or round:
Not good at putting the symbols in place manually? Select all the symbols in the layer at one time, then right-click:
Choose whether you want to align them in the round, vertically, or horizontally:
And remember to create a new layer for each round/row! I like to add a new symbol to change the color, to make rounds more distinguishable...
But, you can make the chart all in one color if you like. It's easier that way.
When you're all done, you'll find options under "file" to save, download, copy, or print. You can also share your design with the world, or upgrade to Stitch Fiddle Premium for more options:
As for the limits of the free version: I find they don't limit me much at all! But if you want to be able to download your chart in another file form or size, then you'll need to upgrade to premium...
All the limited fields are marked with an asterisk, so you know right away that it's not available to you in the free version. Now that I've used the program for a few designs here on the blog, I think I'm ready to make the upgrade to premium. I can't wait to try out the conversion tool that will turn your filet charts into written directions... I hope you're ready for more free patterns after I make the purchase!
This can be a great tool to turn a picture of a loved one into a memorial afghan, get started on a design in your mind, or to convert a written pattern into an easier-to-read format. Don't forget to sign up so you can save your unfinished projects, then come back later. It's okay... I've been a member for a while, and they don't spam or sell your email. And don't worry - All your designs are private unless you choose to share them. So, what are you waiting for? What will you create?