Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Using Microsoft Excel for Crafting Purposes

I may just be reiterating things tech savvy crafters already knew. But I was so excited I figured this out and keep thinking how handy it will be for all KINDS of different projects.

I wanted to make a computerized grid without spending loads of money for a new program. With Excel it seemed easy but there was some math I had to figure out. In Excel, the size of the "cells" are preset when you open the program. The size can be changed, but it's not as easy as setting the Row Height to 5 and then the Column Width to 5. No no...excel recognizes the width of the column by how many letters can fit into the slot so making it the same "size" as the row height isn't gonna do much good.

The way I figured it out was the Row Height has to be an incriment of 5 and the Column Width is the division of the Row Height by 5...make sense? So if your Row Height is 30, then 30/5 = 6...and your Column Height becomes 6. Tah Dah!!!

So here's a little tutorial to explain exactly how to make this magic happen:

First, select all the cells in your book. To do this, click on the cell to the Left of the "A" and above the "1". Your entire sheet should turn blue like so....
Next, go to your top tool bar, click Format. On the drop down menu, select row and click on "Height." A box will appear and you select your number (remember to make it one divisible by 5!) For this one, I chose to make my Row Height 15.

Next, repeat the same steps for Column by going to the FORMAT option on your tool bar, selecting Column and selecting width. Imput the correct width...for example, as above I chose 15 for the height so therefore the Column width would be 3 (15/5 = 3).

When you're finished you will have a graph...which as you see below, I have used to help visualize a quilt I'm going to attempt. As with every graph, each cell/block is equal to a certain measurement. I did this to help myself figure out how many 9" quilt blocks I needed for a twin quilt. And to be honest, I wanted to play around with some different color combinations. All of this can be accomplished with the color fill button. And the great thing about Excel is it even has the option to throw in some patterns!

So my other thinking is that with this program you can plot cross-stitch patterns, create other tutorials (which I plan to do in the future!) and in general be a crafty nerd! Woo Hoo!

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