I used to think that charts were the scariest things on the planet. I mean they had all of those weird symbols and you had to read them right to left, and worst of all you had to remember to invert them for your wrong side rows if you weren’t knitting in the round. Now, I absolutely love charts and frankly prefer them over written instructions 90% of the time. Of course I have moved into more adventurous knitting–colorwork, cables, etc. Those types of knitting definitely benefit from having some kind of chart to them.
However, I don’t always have the best means of converting a written pattern to a chart, unless I want to make my own graph paper. (PS I am really surprised by how hard it is to find graph paper where I live. Maybe I am looking in the wrong places, or I need to shop during school supply season.) Anyway, I know people have made special knitting paper that looks like stitches to better accommodate the medium and I know there are printable versions on the internet but sometimes you just want an easier way to work.
Enter KnitBird. I have a sweater that I want to make someday, however the pattern is one of those “more of a recipe less of a pattern” type patterns that can be fun if you have the experience or frustrating if you are lazy like me. :D The way the pattern is written would require me to remember when to cable on certain rows, and also has a chevron (aka flying geese) pattern that has a small chart included by not within context of the overall sweater pattern. Not to mention if I have to doctor the pattern to make the sweater bigger or smaller to fit me, which requires inserting extra stitches into the pattern. You know what helps with that? Being able to visualize the pattern…and maybe better math skills than I have.
I started searching for knitting software for Macs (since that is what I currently have, however, most knitting programs are for Windows). I stumbled onto this application, and I have been testing KnitBird with their free trial version on the sweater pattern I want a chart for:
I uh, I actually screwed up the test….*facepalm*
So far working with the program is very simple. You have options on the left such as stitch type, coloring certain squares different colors, selecting certain sections so you can copy/paste them, and even creating repeats. Pretty cool. You can also import images directly and add text to create some pretty professional looking patterns. It even has a calculator right there in the right column to help you with your aforementioned knitting math. I haven’t played with all of the features, and since I only have the trial version it will shut down every thirty minutes and I can’t save anything I makes so it’s a little hard to determine how useful it can be.
There are some cons to this program, namely the fact that it is such a simple program. This type of software definitely seems geared more towards color charts, since the included stitch symbols are pretty limited in scope. For instance, there is a knit 2 together option, but no purl, and while you can doctor up the symbols by writing new meanings for them, most knitters are accustomed to certain symbols and their meanings, so that’s not as practical as it initially seems. This program is probably not designed for intricate patterns like lace, however, at a nicely priced $40 I am seriously considering purchasing the program. It seems to fit my current needs and cuts out the added work trying to make charts in Excel or Word invovles. For instance, on top of wanting to chart out my sweater if you’ve seen my one afghan wip I may have mentioned that the center panel chart is seriously wrong. I had to write on it but it looks sloppy, this software would be a great way to rewrite the chart if I was so inclined, and possibly print it at a size that doesn’t require squinting and/or using a magnifying glass. If I take the plunge and purchase the program I will let you know how I feel about it as I use it more.