February 12th, 2013

Tuesday’s Tip: There’s an App for That?

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In this post, J, one of our store associates, shares his experience with the world of apps for knitting.

I received an iPad mini for Christmas, hints were dropped and I can’t tell you how excited I was to open it up, my old laptop is now collecting dust. To the App Store I went. One of the first things I typed into the search bar was “knit” and then came the choices. We’ve all heard “There’s an app for that.”, I found myself asking, but what am I actually going to use this for. Should I download every app just because it has the word knit in the title?

Let’s get started with The Basics

WEBS
From your favorite page(s) on yarn.com you can make a bookmark. Now getting to the website is just a click away from your tablet. You start from the page of your choosing this way. Always Searching by Fiber? Perusing PDFs? Checking out the Yarn Closeouts? Keep Your Wishlist handy for when you come make the trip to the store!

YouTube
Of course, watch that tutorial over and over again, Russian join, Norwegian Purl? Please refresh my memory, purl off, knit, knit off, purl, but where do I start? In the searchbar on Youtube you can type in knitspeak (ssk, sk2p, p2togTBL, etc.) As with anything on YouTube, check a few out. You want instruction that you can actually follow, sight, sound, and all. As I mentioned, we have some great instructional videos at yarn.com. There is a real knitting instruction app that I’ll talk about later, but I mainly wanted to point out that you can type knitting abbreviations into YouTube, because it’s good to know.

Ravelry
I am amazed at the number of knitter’s who have not found this resource yet. It’s a thing, and if you love anything yarn related you should check it out, Ravelry.com. Create a bookmark so that you don’t have to type it in to your browser anymore. (Pro-tip: create the bookmark from your favorite page, ie. pattern search, your projects page, favorite forum and you’ll always start out in your favorite place) May we suggest the AllThingsWEBS group (http://www.ravelry.com/groups/all-things-webs)? Show off your FOs, chat with other fiber lovers, Queue up projects that are perfect for those beautiful skeins you just bought.

Calculator HD for iPad by CrowdCafe
Of course you should have a calculator at your fingertips. While there are many free options out there. This one in particular has one feature that the rest do not, a notepad alongside the calculator. No need to go back and forth. Whether you need to adjust a pattern, calculate how many skeins you need, the list goes on. Well worth 99 cents to have two apps in one. My favorite mode however, is the Tape mode. It doesn’t make the distinctive tape calculator sound when its “printing”, but seeing your work as you go is wonderful.

Units from Homegrown Software Ltd
Convert anything. How many ounces is 50 grams? If I have 228 meters of yarn, how many yards is that? Did you know that Cascade 220 is 1/8th of a mile and 2.2 Soccer Fields? Even shoe sizes in five different countries, which could come in very handy. FYI: a pinch is equal to 2 dashes or 1/8th tsp.

KnitHandy from Interweave 
Based on the work of Ann Budd, this is as handy as the name suggests. The app includes a quick reference for Standard Yarn Gauges and a wide range of project types with yardage estimates in a variety of sizes and gauges. I love the color of this fingering weight yarn, is there enough to make a hat? My WiFi is not connecting and I just want to know if I need one more skein. Yardage estimates are always just that, estimates. There may not be enough for that pattern you fall in love with, but there are more patterns in the sea, your sure to find something out there.

Counter Man from Riccardo Sabattoli
Count Rows and repeats at the same time. With the free version, you can have 5 counters going. Counters can be named and the items to count can be named as well, you can associate any color for each counter. This is one of those instances where I really only need the free version so far, but I appreciate how well it’s done so I’m willing to give this guy 99 cents. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll have six projects going at once.

KnitEvenly from JKnit
Have you ever needed to increase by just a few stitches, but wanted to make sure you spread the increases out rather than adding 1 in the middle and 2 on the ends or whatever sort of fudging you were thinking of to get you the number of stitches you need. Knit evenly, shows you two ways of doing it and even has a follow along guide to walk you through so you can keep track. It’s pretty amazing.

PDFs

Now that you’ve gotten started, maybe you have some PDFs and a little stand so that you can set the instructions in front of you while you work on your latest project. That’s pretty cool. The piles of paper aren’t piling up around you and ruining your recent re-organization. Nice work by the way, we love what you’ve done with your stash.

There is that free iBooks “library” and you can make collections to get things sorted the way you like. I like to have a little more control over the pattern. I miss being able to highlight, make notes, somehow pin the page down so that I’m only looking at the row I’m currently working on. I also, admit I miss the little creases in pages from folding them up and stuffing them in my knitting bag.

GoodNotes by Time Base Technology Limited
I stumbled upon this while trying to find something to manage my pattern PDFs. Originally, I was just hoping for a bit more organization than the standard PDF reader. Little did I know that this app would have so many features that are perfect for knitting pattern reading.


Highlighter function – I’m a lace knitter, mostly, the ability to highlight repeats and specific parts of a chart is fantastic.
Palm Rest – They call it a palm rest, I call it a chart follower. The palm rest is a handy tool with a little pull tab at the bottom of the screen. After sizing the pattern so you can read it, you can move the palm rest to follow your work row by row.
Notes – Add notes anywhere on the PDF.
Two ways of organizing PDFs, separate notebooks or separate folders.
I have separate folders for Lace, Hats and Scarves, Socks, and Sweaters. You can rename PDFs and Notebooks once they are in a Goodnotes folder and move them to any folder you choose. As for separate notebooks, I recently completed Gail(aka Nightsongs) a wonderful free pattern on Ravelry. I downloaded the pattern, I had the perfect yarn, and then I got to row 38. I had to go back to the pattern page in order to find the rest of the story. Note to self, really look at project pages and additional notes when you find a pattern. It turns out that just about everyone ran into the same problem. Ravellers, being the great community they are, had taken charge and created additional charts to help the rest of us get through those pattern repeats so that the shawl would come out as spectacular as I had envisioned. Instead of keeping all of the PDFs separate, I have them in their own notebook. The beauty is that next time I work with this pattern, my highlights and notes will be there and all of the PDF charts are together.

KnittingHelp Video Reference from Outer Limits Media
It’s becoming more common for knitter’s to be self-taught. While there is nothing quite like having a teacher to ask questions or help you better see what’s happening with your stitches, knittinghelp.com has done a great job of creating instructional videos and tutorials for just about everything knitting related. The app is basically an extension of her website. I know I mentioned YouTube previously, but with free there is always a cost or so said my grandfather. With YouTube you have to find an instructional video that is done well. You want to see the stitches, have it slow enough so that you can follow along, understand what the instructor is saying. Amy Sheldon of KnittingHelp.com does that well, the videos are clear, and there are instructions for just about everything you encounter while knitting, even tips and tricks for going back a few rows and fixing mistakes. While this is an iPhone App, important to note if you search for it in the App Store, you can double the size to make it easier to use on your iPad. The $4.99 for this app is well worth it.

Do you have a favorite app for knitting or crochet?

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Mary

Marketing Manager at WEBS - America's Yarn Store
Mary has worked at WEBS since 2005. She has been knitting since 2000 and also knows how to crochet, spin, and use a rigid heddle loom.
Her favorite color: bright pink
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  • Meglarz

    For those of us with Android phones or tablets – I really love Ravulous (app) and Evernote (app, multi platform organizer) . I really like being about to hop right into my Ravelry projects, stash or needle list from the Ravulous app – so handy! Also, I can upload photos to any active project in my Rav notebook right from my phone through Ravulous in one simple step.

  • Niki Curtis

    I am not an Android user, so I was wondering if you knew of a pattern organiser that works for a more traditional computer? I have hundreds of pdfs, but many of them are compilations which means I can’t just organise them individually into folders for say baby knits or DK. I could set up a library using spreadsheet software but oh the amount of work!

  • Donna Schmidt

    Knit Handy rocks!

  • Donna Schmidt

    Knit Companion is a fabulous app that uses PDFs and allows notes, highlights, row counters, cropping, and more. The website has excellent videos which really helped me learn how to use the app. It took a couple of patterns before I was feeling confident but now I won’t use a PDF without it. Real knitters designed this one.

  • http://www.momof3girls.net DebMomOf3

    I love KnitMinder to be able to track projects, patterns, yarn and needles that I own and it’s got a great counter function too. For pattern-reading, I’m really liking the JKnitHDLite app.

  • Hillary Fotino

    I’m the developer behind Row Counter, a very simple app for the Google Chrome browser. It has 3 separate counters, 1 for rows, 1 for increases/decreases and 1 for repeats. I’m always looking for input and best of all, its free.

    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/row-counter/hgmppbncojijiogmfibjhldfplhmiepb?utm_source=chrome-ntp-icon

  • AbbyGaile

    My new favorite app is KnitSpeaker, you enter your pattern, setting repeats, etc as needed, and the app reads your pattern to you so you don’t have to try and memorize lace patterns or repeats, or constantly recheck your chart or pattern. You add time spacers to allow you to complete the action, it’s just been updated and is really quite cool, especially for partially disabled persons like myself. Highly recommend! Do love KnitHandy as well, so helpful!

  • LisaMarli

    For those of us using Android machines – BeeCount – Invented by the husband of a Ravelry person, it is a work of love and very useful.
    And I cannot praise Ravulous enough. Polly has been working with the Ravelry Code Monkey to create a useful Android tie in.

  • Guest

    For my Android, I use the following apps: Visual Knitting Counter (to keep track of where I am on patterns – I put the pattern into email to transfer it to my android, then I paste it inot VKC), Ravulous, Ravelry Photo Uploader, Smart Tools (for the cool ruler), Evernote and Handrite (to keep notes on my projects as I work on them), Beyond Pod (to listen to podcasts when I knit or nalbind), and I expect to use Skitch to annotate photos.

  • http://shyredfox.blogspot.com/ Amy

    On my Android, I use the following apps: Visual Knitting Counter (to keep track of where I am on patterns – I put the pattern into email to transfer it to my android, then I paste it inot VKC), Ravulous, Ravelry Photo Uploader, Smart Tools (for the cool ruler), Evernote and Handrite (to keep notes on my projects as I work on them), Beyond Pod (to listen to podcasts when I knit or nalbind), and I expect to use Skitch to annotate photos.

  • PegN

    I love Knit Companion

  • Cindy Fuchs

    I would like to know when the knitting community will also make apps for Android Kindle Fire Nook etc.?

  • knitgirl101

    I unfortunately have an android, so the apps are more limited. I do use Ravulous, but I wish I had access to more apps. I would make them myself if I had the skills. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/asecord Ann Secord

    JKnitHDlite. Great app that let’s you automatically download patterns into the app. Has several features for helping to keep your place.
    I also like gaugify to help me determine if my gauge is correct.

  • fibernerd

    Absolutely Knit Companion. It’s a bit pricey ($15) but oh so worth it. It not only saves printer ink (no more printing out PDF patterns) but keeps track of where I am in any given pattern without sticky notes that fall off and get lost. It’s enabled me to really jump-start my knitting this year. I adore this app.

  • Deborah Daigle

    I use GoodReader for my knitting pdfs. it allows you to mark up files, add notes to individual pdfs, and it connects to servers like dropbox and most importantly Ravelry. Anything in my Ravelry library I can jsut pull right into GoodReader. Love that app. its for both iphone and Ipad only, sorry android users :(

    On the iPhone I really like Knit Counter, simple but customizable great for when I’m doing patterns on the go.

  • http://www.facebook.com/valli.pherson Valli Pherson

    Hi,

    Do you happen to have a gold mine, or a few nuggets, of crochet specific suggestions? I know some of your suggestions work for both, some don’t. I’m alwayson the look out for crochet specific….well, anything, for myself and my students.

    Thanks,

    Valli

  • chrisknitz

    I use NeedleMinder for keeping track of my needles. That way I don’t double up on them.

  • misodiva

    A new app for creating charts is Knitting Chart Maker it’s $3.99 and there is a group on Ravelry http://mobileawesomeapps.com/knittingchartmaker/app.php

  • Marco

    Stash2go is a new app for iphone & ipad that allows to really connect with ravelry, and also allows to use it on the go and even if you’re offline – there is also a website, and a video on that website