Charting Woes


I said in an earlier post that I would attempt to create a knitting chart forOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA the leg warmers I designed. Attempt being the operative word, there. So far I’ve had trouble finding decent free or at least inexpensive software to use for this task, and the options are limited.

Chart Minder is a free web app you sign up with an email address and password and can easily create knitting charts. Your charts are stored online so you can access them from any computer. While the web app is pretty straight-forward, I find it lacking in options.

I like my cable charts to indicate at a glance how many stitches need to be placed onto the cable needle and how many total stitches you will be cabling. This is typically done by stretching the symbol across the appropriate number of stitches. Unfortunately, Chart Minder does not have this function. It simply has the left and right portions for the cables, and it is up to the user to determine how many stitches are cabled.

Another issue I find with this web app is a lack of a key or legend. You have your stitch palette you pick your stitches from which is viewable on your own patterns. But when browsing through other public patterns others have created, there’s no telling what they want you to do. It simply assumes that all the symbols are universal and does not allow for any variations.

Yet another issue (and this may seem small) is that you cannot select a section of stitches and make them all one stitch at once. For example, to add purl stitches I had to click each individual box as a purl. It’s almost as tedious as doing the actual knitting but not nearly as fun.

Stitch Fiddle is similar to Chart Minder in that it is a web app you sign up for via email address and password. This one has the added benefits of incorporating a legend so you can actually read someone else’s published pattern and is also able to select a group of stitches to make it all the same stitch at one click. But other than those two benefits, it has all the other shortcomings as Chart Minder.

Knitting Chartmaker on ticksyknitter seems to also be a web app, but one I didn’t bother to sign up with. It appears it is geared toward colored stockinette charts and that’s about all I could find browsing the published charts.

Stitch Mastery is a downloadable software for PC, Mac or Linux. I downloaded the demo version and I have to say it is pretty much what I was looking for. It offers symbols that actually cover the total number of stitches you’re cabling with, visual design features, auto-detect of repeat sections, conversion to written instructions plus much more. It can be found here.

However, the full version must be activated by purchasing the activation key for £60 (about $86.67 by current conversion rates). The demo version only allows a chart of 12 by 12 stitches, which was enough to fool around with and know I like it but not nearly enough to really get creating with it. And I just don’t want to spend that much on good software. In today’s technological age where nearly any app or program can be found in a free version, I’ve gotten quite spoiled. Since I don’t often create patterns, I can’t justify the cost.

EnvisioKnit is similar to Stitch Mastery in that it is a complete downloadable program to design knitting patterns. It seems to have a comprehensive inventory of knitting stitches as well as a draw design function and does pretty much the same things as Stitch Mastery. I didn’t bother to download the demo, though, as the full version is $99. If you’re interested, it can be found here.

Intwined is yet another downloadable software, although a bit more affordable. At $44 it seems like a nice compromise between the free web apps and the expensive downloads. It has the cool feature of being able to add stitches to the stitch library but doesn’t seem to be as aesthetically pleasing. It still exports the charts and written instructions, but I wasn’t able to get hands-on with it as it doesn’t seem to have a demo. If interested, info can be found here.

KnitBird looks lovely and seems to offer most of the same standard features as other downloads. Export charts as images, insert text, upload images to convert to a chart, draw stitches etc.. But at €59 ($67.12 at current conversion rates) it’s on the pricier end of stitch design software. It also has complicated install instructions that most users would find daunting. I am tech savvy enough to pull it off, but I am also notoriously lazy. If interested, it can be found here.

There are, of course, many other free web apps and paid downloads to fool around with. I simply do not have the time or energy to try them all (again, notoriously lazy). I’ve also seen a few blogs about using Microsoft Excel to create patterns, but I dislike the necessity of downloading knitting fonts. I would much prefer a downloadable software specifically designed to create knitting patterns for around $20. I do this so infrequently I can’t really justify spending too much, and I’m already pretty good at creating written instructions so a program that will do it for me automatically is not necessary. Why pay for more bells and whistles than you’ll actually use?

I hope this has been informative if not particularly useful since I still haven’t settled on a program. I need to mull this information over a bit more before deciding, and will update accordingly. Follow my blog for all things knitting and updates on current projects!

Happy Stitching!