Wednesday, 5 April 2017

hacking away imperfections

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My go-to tech gurus are Robin & Ninetta and they never fail me ! All my Inkscape learning is based off Robin's excellent tutorials, as you all already know. However, as I drew and practiced I discovered a few 'shortcuts'. But I could never share them coz I didn't know how to put up  those visuals. Now Robin has again come to my aid by finding me a superb tutorial on how to take screenshots on XP. Due to paucity of time, I have done the best I can for now (but it is such fun taking those shots ;-P). Will ask her to help me out some more ... so please bear with the under par quality of images.

Inkscape Hack #1
How to draw a Row of Chains 

Here's one of my most recent pattern diagram in which I used my quick shortcuts to draw the rows of chains, or connect rings with chains :

You may recall the pink edging that diversified into a crown, necklace, etc. This is the revised version where All 5 rows can be tatted in one pass. Once I receive the pdf link from Georgia, I will upload here & on my Patterns page. For latest new, reoriented one pass pattern (May 2017)  

Symmetric Chains in a Row
Imagine drawing one arch (chain) can copy-pasting it along the length one by one. No more ! One can make the chains of the entire row in one stroke ! Here's how .... 

A] This is the crucial step. Choose Grid from View , then select the bezier icon.
Now holding the bezier pen, start drawing a line, but clicking at intervals. When you reach the end, only then click on ENTER. As seen in image, at this stage it looks like a normal line, but we have clicked it at 3 places in between, using the grid squares to keep the spacing even (4 squares apart). 
In tatting, think of these points as the base of ring, or picots to which the chain will be joined. eg. Rows II, III, IV in pattern above. All these rows were made in this fashion...

 B] When we select Node icon, 5 nodes appear !

C] Choose the height at which we want the chains/arches. I have chosen 2 blocks on the grid. Using the node arrow (cursor), position it in the center of segment 1 and drag it upwards. It has a height of 1 square in center. If I pull further, it will rise to where the segment 2 arch is - 2 squares above. 
Repeat for 3rd & 4th segments.
I find this the fun part because the chains/arches can be manipulated to any shape, direction, angle, off-center, etc. 
The grid squares act as guides, keeping the arch symmetric.

D] Now all 4 segments have attained their shape and height.
And that's it !!!

E] We have a row of symmetric chains !

F] This is how it is after removing the grid.
This procedure is not limited to straight lines. As seen in Row V in pattern, one can go all around the scallop.
Incidentally, Row V was drawn only around one scallop. Then they were grouped together. This group was copy-pasted twice to produce 2 rows simultaneously.  

Asymmetric Chains
Play around with the node cursor/arrow and see all the different shapes that are possible ...
I have used this method to connect rings in a circle or a hexagon, too, such as are commonly found in snowflake patterns.

One cannot discount individual preferences and comfort zones. I have to work within my physical and visual limitations, hence absolute perfection is sometimes sacrificed. Yet, my experience over these past 2 years, drawing numerous diagrams, has shown that this hack works well for me and I think my diagrams have shown improvement. And for a relative newbie, it takes the fear and overwhelm out of Inkscape drawing, making it quite enjoyable and quick.

This is merely one of many methods. Learn how to use the pencil to draw symmetrical chains .
I hope to share a few more of my shortcuts in future, with hopefully better images.

Have a great day :-)


  1. Thank you for sharing! We got the chance to go over this post in the early session of today's Inkscape discussion group. It's great to have many different options to choose from and I'm glad you can finally join in on creating some of these tutorials.

    1. Right back at you, Robin :-) Wouldn't have been possible without you !
      By the time I had completed working on the pics for this post, my hand was almost shaking. So you see why I cannot aspire to perfectionism unless I want to get stuck at just one project and compromise my well-being ;-P

  2. Oh my goodness. I know this is something I should learn. I downloaded Robin's tutorial but I didn't get far with it. There's always something I want to do more!

    1. Learning this was one of my tatting milestones, Jane. But I can totally understand how swamped we are with projects & learning vying with each other for priority :-D I'll be sharing more of my shortcuts/hacks so may be we can get you interested enough ?

  3. Oh this needs learning Inkscape!!! Never tried to draw diagrams before creating. That's why I think it's difficult for me to explain my design to others. You are really devoting your time Muskaan��

    1. Thanks Usha :-) I usually sketch my ideas with regular pencil on paper. Inkscape I use mostly for pattern or tutorial diagramming & presentation. But I love the program & enjoy using the shortcuts - more to come !