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I’ve been exploring different ways to create random toss patterns with a seamless repeat in Adobe Illustrator. I tried a bunch of methods before happily stumbling upon Astute Graphics and the Space Fill plugin. It can’t create a repeat all on its own, but it does most of the heavy lifting and is a brilliant time saver.

I’ve been using Illustrator to create some textures. This involves applying live effects and blending modes – things that employ transparency. When you export to an image format, the effect’s transparency needs to ‘flattened’. This is where I ran into a color issue that took 2 days to figure out. Turns out my problem relates to how Illustrator defines a pixel and what happens to a live effect when its flattened. Here’s what I learned 🙂

Every few months I go on a print & cut project spree. I almost always start with Adobe Illustrator and vector art. Each time I have to remember the best way to set up cut paths and print bleeds all over again. So I never waste this time again, here are some notes-to-self – I hope you find them helpful.

Graph paper with 1/8 inch, 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch, 1 inch, 0.5 cm, and 1 cm grids. Sized to print on 8.5″ x 11″ paper. Great for homework & project planning. Print as much as you need. Print only what you need.

I do paper & knotting projects and have found lots of uses for these circular ‘pie slice’ guides – especially the odd numbers. Sized to print on 8.5″ x 11″ paper. Outer circle is 7.5″.

A few months ago, I began using Node.js to compile my WordPress themes. Today, GitHub began warning me about security vulnerabilities in one of my projects. Whenever I do something for the first time, I document it. Here’s how to update NPM Packages.

I love interweaves but I can’t do them from sight or memory yet – I absolutely need a reference image and run list.  Here’s how to use Advanced Grid Maker to create instructions for the gaucho fan and herringbone knots.

One of the most useful features of Advanced Grid Maker is the ability to create custom designs. The Set Over and Set Under features let you switch individual crossings anywhere in a knot and are a great way to add detail or stability to a pattern.  Here’s a quick example.

When using Advanced Grid Maker to design a knot, it can be hard to tell if the knot is properly formed. Here’s a quick example of using the Remove Non-Loop Strands feature to tell if a strand’s working end meets its standing end, forming a loop.

One of the most helpful things about Advanced Grid Maker is using Strand Width and Strand Gap to estimate the size of a knot and the length(s) of cord needed. Here’s a quick example – combine these with Resize and Stretch for even better estimates.

One of the best parts about Advanced Grid Maker is its use of color to create both the pattern image and run lists. Here are tips for the Colors and Shadow Color fields plus a example of how color affects a knot’s appearance.

One of the coolest parts about Advanced Grid Maker is the interactive image it creates. With  the Resize and Stretch features, you can resize the image to either resize a knot or stretch it into different dimensions. Here’s a quick demo of both.

I love Advanced Grid Maker and am the first to admit it’s not pretty or intuitive – it’s one of those tools that needs explaining. If you’ve ever wanted to use AGM but felt lost, here’s an introduction to creating run lists for Turk’s Head knots.

I’ve been tying knots for 5 years and can only do a few from my head. Video and image tutorials are great, but I find run lists to be the most helpful. Here’s how to use Advanced Grid Maker to create run lists for pineapple knots. Fair warning: it isn’t hard, but it isn’t straight-forward either.

A few years ago, John Allwine – creator of Advanced Grid Maker – was generous enough to help me learn about the pineapple interweave. Before you can use a tool like AGM, you need to decide how many strands or colors the knot will have and the ‘type’ of pineapple you want to tie. Here’s a quick reference for 2, 3, and 4 strand pineapple types.

Counting bights is easy, but counting parts is something I struggled with until I stumbled across one simple explanation – I wish I could remember where. Since it’s helped me a lot and may help you, here’s how to count the bights & parts – aka leads – of a knot using a 5B 7P Turk’s Head as an example.

While developing this site’s theme, I decided not to have an image at the top of every page. So I needed a background with enough detail to compensate. I also wanted the background to be responsive and not use image files. And I wanted it to look a bit different from page to page. Here’s how I did it with a magic number, radial-gradient, and the nth-child selector.

I love knots because they’re technical & creative. At the heart of every knot is math – something I’m still learning. Because the Turk’s Head is the base for so many other knots, it helps to know the math. It’s pretty simple and once you see it visually, it’s easy to remember.

While learning Adobe Illustrator, I made these for a friend who colors to relax. The designs are a medium size – small enough to make cool patterns & big enough to be relaxing. They’re made to print edge-to-edge on 8.5″ x 11″ paper. A great way to print just the patterns you want on the paper of your choice.

This is a modest blog in the USA. While this site isn’t governed by the GDPR, I do use Google Analytics and I want visitors to be able to opt-out of tracking if they want. This is also a handy way for site admins & others to exclude themselves from Analytics reporting for their own sites. Here’s how I did it.