My favourite free photo editing and graphic design sites

Megan Recommends blog seriesI have a MacBook, but it is showing its age and likes to be super slow and shut down programs in the middle of use (especially Photoshop!). I mostly use my little Acer Chromebook computer now, and I am loving it.

A Chromebook is basically a computer with a browser, and that is it. It is super affordable, super basic, and super fast (it turns on in seconds!). The only problem with a Chromebook is that I can’t download software to use on it, such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. However, I still use my Chromebook for all my photo editing and graphic development for my website – I simply use all online tools, that are free! There are three websites that I use consistently:


My favourite website for editing photos is Pixlr. It is very similar to Photoshop, and has everything I need. I can resize the photos, change the brightness and contrast easily, as well as use a paintbrush to make clean solid white backgrounds (I use a method similar to Stacey of FreshStitches).

A recent Instagram picture after editing with Pixlr.

The program is free, fast and I can easily download my finished photos to my Google drive when I am done. The only disadvantage is that there are advertisements on the side, which make the working area on the screen a little smaller, but it is still large enough for what I need. Or, of course, you can always pay to have an ad free experience.


For most of the graphics for my website, advertising, and CAL badges, I use the website Canva. This site is so fun to play around with. While there are features, fonts, and images that you have to pay for, you can do a lot for free (everything I have made has been free!). I can also upload my own images to to site and use them in my designs.

All my blog titles and graphics for my newsletter are made using Canva:

How to read amigurumi patterns by @hookabee

Press and Publications of hookabee crochet


I created an account with Canva which allows me to save all my designs and go back to them whenever I want. I love that the site has pre-made templates for particular elements on different sites, such as social media, so you don’t have to look up what dimensions you should use. For example, there is already a template for an Etsy banner, so you just choose the Etsy banner and it is already the perfect size for your Etsy shop. They also have templates for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, as well as for blog posts, flyers, posters, cards, and invitations. It makes things so easy!


PicMonkey is somewhat in between Pixlr and Canva – it is great for photo editing (but does not have all the tools Pixlr has), and it is also useful for graphic design (but has different features than Canva).

I use PicMonkey a lot for the images in my patterns and blog tutorials
– when I want to add text, arrows, or need to highlight certain stitches. It is also super easy to resize and round the corners of my images, as well as make collages.

Joined rounds in blo for amigurumi by hookabeearmattachmentantennaAttachment

So, those are the three programs I use on a daily basis for my photo editing and graphic design. I highly recommend all three of them – I cannot do everything using just one, but need all three in combination for my creations. Maybe try them out for your website or ravelry project pages!

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Until next time,
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New pattern: Spring Caterpillar

Press and Publications of hookabee crochetMy most recent pattern has been published in the digital crochet magazine Happily Hooked! You can find my cute little spring caterpillar pattern, along with the patterns for 9 additional designs by other crochet artists in the most recent issue of Happily Hooked.


I will eventually have the pattern available in my shop, but if you want it now, you can have a trial run of the magazine for only $0.99. That is a pretty good deal! I like that this magazine is digital, so you can read it on any device you have, but you can also save it to your ravelry library or download it and save it as a PDF to read later if you don’t have the time when it is first released.

Spring Caterpillar amigurumi pattern by @hookabee

You can also get a a “gold membership” to the magazine for a little extra (you can add it after you purchase a regular subscription) and you get even more free patterns and deals – including my little Bobby the Bumble Bee pattern until mid March!

Little Bobby the bumble bee amigurumi pattern by @hookabee

The caterpillar pattern is really fun – you can use up yarn ends you have in your stash, even yarn from different brands, and your caterpillar will turn out pretty unique! While the pattern is written in joined rounds for cleaner colour changes, you can make it in continuous rounds if you prefer. The little legs are fun bobble stitches, and if you change there position each round, your caterpillar will look like it has crazy dancing legs!

Spring Caterpillar amigurumi pattern by @hookabee

I look forward to seeing lots of caterpillars come out for the spring – which I hope is on its way soon!!

Don’t forget to sign up for my amigurumi newsletter to receive emails filled with ami fun. You can also follow me on facebooktwitterinstagram, and pinterest to keep up to date on all things hookabee.
Until next time,
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Press and Publications: Inside Crochet

Press and Publications of hookabee crochet2016 is off to a good start – I am in a magazine! At the end of last year I was interviewed by the UK magazine Inside Crochet for an amigurumi article in their magazine, and the issue has recently been published.

In the article you can find tips from me on making amigurumi, as well as from other fellow ami designers. It was so fun being involved in this, especially since I am among other designers I admire and love. Bill the Pineapple was also featured in the article as a fun amigurumi pattern to try – he looks great in print!

Inside Crochet amigurumi article

Pick up your own copy of the magazine this month to read the article and learn more. There are also some cute ami patterns in the issue – the duckling is especially adorable!

Don’t forget to sign up for my amigurumi newsletter to receive emails filled with ami fun. You can also follow me on facebooktwitterinstagram, and pinterest to keep up to date on all things hookabee.
Until next time,
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