What is this app? This app generates overlay mosaic grid patterns from designs you create by clicking on squares to toggle colors on and off. I coded this for myself to have some fun playing around with simple designs to see what they would look like in an overlay mosaic crochet pattern. It wasn’t created with serious designers in mind! Understanding the algorithm behind how overlay mosaic patterns work helps me when I’m crocheting someone else’s design.
Once I put it so much time into it, though, I figured I’d share it in case anyone else might find it interesting.
Who created this? I’m Sharon Machlis, a journalist and data geek who loves coding and data. I’ve also been crocheting on and off for many years. I discovered overlay mosaic crochet in the Spring of 2022 after seeing the incredibly cool Azul pattern by Tinna Thórudóttir Thorvaldsdóttir and I am, well, hooked.
How do I use this app to make a design? Options are in the left column. Choose your grid size – number of rows must be odd and between 5 and 51; number of columns between 5 and 50. You can keep the default colors or choose colors of your own, and also choose your own pattern title. Then start clicking squares in the first table below to create your design. When you’re ready to see what it looks like as a grid pattern, click the “Generate pattern!” button.
Note that the system does not save your work. I can’t guarantee that your work won’t be interrupted and potentially lost because of an Internet issue on your side or server issue on my side (this app is hosted on a $10/month Digital Ocean server and has multiple other apps as well). USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. If you’re working on something for more than a few minutes, saving your design periodically is highly recommended.
How do I save my design? Once you generate a grid pattern, you’ll have the option to download the pattern as an HTML file or an Excel file. The HTML file includes written instructions; the Excel file does not.
HTML or Excel file? I want a PDF/Word Document. For a variety of technical reasons, generating an HTML was easiest; then an Excel file. Since this is a free app I coded for myself for fun, there’s a limit to how much time I want to invest in it! You may want to look into free converters like cloudconvert.com or Cometdocs to get other file formats.
What if I don’t have Excel? You should be able to upload the .xlsx Excel file to Google Drive and use Google Sheets as your spreadsheet software.
Can I use this commercially? I want to repeat that I can’t guarantee your work won’t get interrupted and possibly lost when using this system! If you’re willing to take that risk, though, feel free to use this for creating patterns you want to sell. I’d love it if you’d offer me a free copy :) but it’s not required. In fact, if you make something cool with this, even if you’re not selling it, I’d be interested to see it! You can email me at crochetapp @ machlis.com.
How did you create this app? With the R programming language including packages DT, gt, dplyr, data.table, glue, openxlsx, and a Web framework for R called Shiny.
You can see the code on GitHub – and even download the code to run locally on your own system, but only if you’ve got R installed and all the necessary R packages. Explaining how to do that is definitely beyond the scope of this FAQ, though. :)
In my day job, I analyze data for a tech publisher with R and host the Do More With R series at InfoWorld. I also wrote Practical R for Mass Communication and Journalism.