Software for Knitters and Crocheters This article is the first in a series about software of special interest to crafters. This one is for knitters and crocheters. Let's start with the Cochenille Design Studio family of software, developed by our old friend Susan Lazear, co-founder of the original Crafts forum on CompuServe. Stitch Painter is the program of primary interest to knitters and crocheters. Garment Designer is another, especially for those who like to knit and/or crochet clothing. More about Garment Designer (which has a brand new version coming out now) in our feature on software for sewing and quilting.
Here is a description of Stitch Painter from the Cochenille web site, http://www.cochenille.com/stitch.html:
"Stitch Painter is a design tool specifically geared to the needs of textile and craft designers of all sorts and we made it so user-friendly, you scarcely need a manual. Stitch Painter will open endless doors to your creativity, tailoring itself to any design goal that uses a grid, from weaving to needlepoint and cross-stitch to knits.
"Stitch Painter operates in a color grid world and everything is counted in stitches and rows. The grid may be setup as square or rectangular, and thus you can use the software for multiple textile arts. Various Plug-in modules customize Stitch Painter further for certain end uses such as stitchery, beading or intelligently importing and color reducing graphic images. [Note the beaded purse design in the illustration to the left.]
"You may print directly from Stitch Painter or export in standard formats, thus allowing you to take imagery to publishing packages or other programs.
"Stitch Painter currently offers a Standard and a Gold version for Windows and MacIntosh computers. If you want to use any of Stitch Painter's Plug-In's, you will need the Gold version. People who need Symbols will also need the Gold version."
At the Cochenille site you will find links for the "Quick Gallery" that demonstrate ways in which Stitch Painter may be used to design by quilters, weavers, beaders, crocheters, and more. For example,
the 'Repeat' abilities of Stitch Painter are very helpful for creating woven designs and patterns. Once can design a basic 'draft' of a woven structure, and then using the Stencil, paint in the appropriate warp and weft colors.
Check out the details and get the demo version at http://cochenille.com/. (Standard version retails for $85 (Mac or Windows); Gold version for $165. See the website for information about plug-ins etc.)
If you enjoy filet crochet, check out http://www.crochetdesigns.com for Crochet Designs software from Sand Castle Designs. The program is reasonably priced and appears to be quite versatile. Cost is $35.95 if you just want the download; $45.95 if you want them to send you a CD. I couldn't find a downloadable demo version, but there is at least one feature of the program that you can play with on line, namely, the ability to use stamps to create a design; see http://www.crochetdesigns.com/demo/default.htm. Another interesting aspect of Sand Castle Designs is that they offer to sell your designs for you. See http://www.crochetdesigns.com/designers/default.htm for details.
Sand Castle Designs describes some of their crochet software's features thus:
"Use the speed bar to add a row/column counter, add a ruler for the yarn or thread size you are using, zoom in/zoom out, redo/undo what you have done, display finished product picture, display instructions, change your grid selection, etc.
"Use the menu to add a title, add a footer, change your pattern shape, add clip-art [or any bmp file, see right] change fill styles, view thumbnail of your pattern as you draw, etc.
"Use the tool bar to fill squares, add text, draw lines and shapes, add special stitches, trim edges away, cut, copy, paste, rotate sections of your pattern, draw in full color mode or one color mode, change colors, etc."
Also check out Knitware Design at http://www.knitware.ca, programs for knitters, and crocheters too. This program can be used to make sweaters, skirts (and shawls and afghans) and "Critter clothes" for teddy bears and/or live critters. More on "Critter Clothes" from Knitware's site describing it:
"KNITWARE Critter Clothes Design updates the old Doll & Bear Clothes DOS program to Windows 95/98/NT and adds Dog Sweaters.
"The Doll & Bear Clothes styles allow you to design garments for virtually any doll (Barbie™, Cabbage Patch™ and Troll™ amongst others) or stuffed animal (we've tried a myriad of teddy bears, plus a raccoon, an elephant, a dog, and a lion); from the very small (as in 4" tall Trolls™) to the very large (such as my very chubby 34" chest teddy bear).
"The Dog Sweater styles can be used to design sweaters for many pets; including dogs, cats, hamsters, ferrets etc., as well as 'naturally shaped' stuffed animals which stand with all four feet on the floor.
"Great reasons to knit or crochet critter clothes: Use up leftover bits of yarn Make wonderful gifts Great for bazaars, craft fairs Quick and easy projects Good children's activities
"KNITWARE Critter Clothes includes: Measurement data for a number of standard sized (commercial) dolls and bears. Measurement data for many common pure-breed dogs. The ability to add custom measurements for different dogs, cats, other pets, dolls and stuffed animals of your own."
For an enthusiastic review, especially of the crochet design aspects of this program, see http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art14412.asp.
Each of the three main modules (sweaters; skirts, shawls and afghans; or critter clothes) is $45 US. For these programs there are demos available, and once you download and install, if you buy you will get a registration number that will activate the full program. They also have free sample patterns on the site.
According to their own description, Knitware Design is: Knitting and crochet pattern design software For hand knitters, machine knitters and crocheters, too! For IBM PCs and Compatibles. Three design programs: Sweaters, Critter Clothes, Skirts & Shawls (and Afghans). Check out their site for details and demos, http://www.knitware.ca/.
Knitters might enjoy the software offered at the following: http://www.software4knitting.com/. This company offers a variety of products. Their main one appears to be a windows program called Stitch & Motif Maker, which retails for $90. Description includes: "Stitch & Motif Maker is a program specifically developed for design stitch and color patterns for knitting. Whether you want to design your own motif or use an existing textured stitch, Stitch and Motif Maker allows you to draw in color or common knitter's symbols."
Our own Allison Waskom enjoys Software4Knitting. She states: "As an expansion, I use the software from Software4Knitting extensively, and I just love it. The primary program is actually SweaterWizard, which generates sweater patterns based on your gauge on your yarn, using design options that you give it. It is possible to customize sizing significantly, and very easily. Support for the software is offered through a Yahoo group, and is exceptionally prompt and complete."
Check out their web site for their demo and other products as well.
For more knitting software information (and patterns), stop by about.com at http://knitting.about.com/cs/software/. You might also like to check out http://www.woolworks.org/swreview.html, a site which reviews several programs. Caveat: this site is ten years old so I'm not sure that the software information would be all that useful. However, the site has other charms, including a page of links to free knitting patterns at http://www.woolworks.org/patterns.html. Woolworks is a non-commercial site.
There are so many programs available, there's no way to cover them all. I hope this will help you get started! If I missed a favorite of yours, or if you have any comments, please leave me a message in the forum so I can keep this feature updated.