Learning to E-Knit: Using Your Devices

Sourcing Your Patterns

Knitting has been around for a very, very long time. It’s a handcraft, so you must use your hands to do it. You can’t buy an app and “virtually” knit. In spite of that, or maybe because of it, knitting is hugely popular.

But change has come to knitting patterns and knitting magazines.

Like all forms of printed publication, especially periodicals, there is a lot more competition, mostly from individual designers.

Part of me is thrilled. I’m not a designer, so this doesn’t directly impact me financially, but I’m glad that individuals can more easily reach their audience and cut out the middle men. (I used to work in bookstores, so I know that most published writers don’t make much money. Ditto for designers.)

At the same time, it’s had a huge impact on knitting magazines. Where publishers used to have designers begging them to print their patterns, it’s now the other way around. Designers can publish their designs online and, with the help of social media, reach knitters/customers directly.

For knitters, when we want a particular kind of pattern, we just type it into our favorite search engine: “lace wedding shawl” or “spooky season knitting” or whatever strikes your fancy.

No more digging through magazines or books, unless you really want to. To make it even easier, most major knitting suppliers and publishers have their own knitting pattern libraries with filters to make it super easy to find exactly what you’re looking for quickly.

Knitting Apps

For years my knitting process included printing out or copying my project pattern and putting it into a plastic sleeve. Most of the time, that worked well, unless I was trying to do stranded colorwork, aka Fair Isle knitting.

Sometimes the chart fit on the page, sometimes it was too small to read, sometimes I could only print in greyscale.

Enter my new best knitting friend: my tablet/ipad. If I can download a chart, or take a photo of it, I can keep it on my device to access wherever I am and I can enlarge it as needed. I can always take it with me and, of course, it’s almost impossible to lose.

Of course, I still print out my pattern & put it in a plastic sleeve. Batteries die, power outages happen, and what if I drop my device & break it? Also, it’s way easier to mark up a paper pattern. Still, being able to put a knitting chart on my phone or tablet has been incredibly helpful.

I still lose my place, so being able to read my knitting remains a critical skill. Some of the new knitting apps claim to help with that by including row counters, etc. They also tend to have other nice knitter friendly features. One day I’ll do a review of some of them.

Funnily enough, row counters have the same fatal flaw, for me, whether virtual or irl. I still have to do something to indicate I’ve finished with the row. Once I get going, I completely forget to do the something. Or I forget whether or not I’ve already done the something.

Some things never change.

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