Monday, May 24, 2010

Intwined Studio Charting App for Knitters

I truly am useless at reading written-out patterns, so I have, over the years, collected almost every charting program for knitters that appeared on the market in the hopes that one of them would be the Killer App of Chart Knitting. I did not purchase the extravagantly expensive application that appears years ago whose name escapes me, but I did shell out $185 for Knit Visualizer when it was released. I rarely use it--I prefer Excel. Most of what I chart are older patterns with written directions, and I dislike KV's awkward single-line pattern parser, which is unforgiving of mistakes. (There are other things I don't especially care for in KV, but this post isn't about Knit Visualizer, so I won't whine any further about it.)

Anyway, I was rather blown away when I started playing with Intwined Pattern Studio. First of all, it costs $44--a whopping bargain of gargantuan proportions, because it not only contains all of Knit Visualizer's features, but allows full-page editing of charts and directions.

The main chart screen is divided into three sections.



On the top is the chart and to the left, are three lovely collapsible palettes that can be positioned anywhere on the page or closed up to save screen real estate.

The Stitch palette shows you the stitches in the chart and the Colors palette displays colors in use--both palettes save a lot of time, as you can instantly reuse items without scrolling through a long list of symbols.




The Stitch palette itself is quite exhaustive, but if you need a special symbol, you can design one.



What's especially nice about the Symbol library is you may rearrange stitches into categories, create custom categories, and edit the abbreviations and descriptions. If you collaborate with someone else  and created a group of special symbols, you can export symbol sets and email them to your partner.


The Stitch Library uses bitmap symbols, not fonts, so you can import your own pictures and use them in the library. You can also edit the current settings. For example, I happen to like a dot instead of a dash for purl. So I changed it.
 
 

 Like other charting programs, you can add cheerfully colored borders and no-stitch symbols; flip chart areas horizontally and vertically; replace one symbol with another; and zoom in and out of the chart. You can also use colored boxes for the No Stitch symbol, or simply have them omitted from the chart.

The star of the show, though, is the window at the bottom of the display: it's where you can type (or paste) knitting instructions and see the corresponding symbols appear on your chart. Unlike Knit Visualizer, the entire written pattern is displayed at all times, and changes made to either the chart or the pattern are reflected in corresponding section. This feature is exceptionally useful, because you may access the whole design, not just a single line.



Note also in the image above that there is a lace setting--the program just skips alternate rows, which saves a lot of space.

Once are satisfied with the chart, you tell the program to copy the chart and switch over to the Document window. You'll see your chart there, and you may add any special instructions. This window is a full-featured word processor. If your design uses multiple charts, you can insert them, and you may drop photos into the document as well.



On the down side, you must save the stitch key as a separate image--a little annoying. And, while you can copy the written instructions into your document, the method is not obvious. I hope both these little foibles are fixed in a later version of the program. On the whole though, this program is powerful, customizable, delightfully easy to use, and won't have a significant impact on your yarn-buying budget.

29 comments:

Nanette said...

Thanks for reminding me - I've been meaning to buy this program and test it out on colorwork charting. It sounds like it has some more advanced features than my current program, Stitch & Motif Maker, and for about half the price!

Laritza said...

Thanks for an excellent review. Looks like I might have to drift away from Excell.

revknits said...

I bought Intwined Studio at Stitches West and think that it is a great deal for the price, and for my intro to design work, it's fab!

Susan (and SmokeyBlue in spirit) said...

sounds fantastic.
Does it work on a Mac?

LittleBerry said...

Thanks for the review.... it was interesting and also for your comments the other day.. am still playing catch up but getting there...

Viviana said...

According to their site, the software works on Macs - which is sooooo wonderful!

I will be adding this software to my wish list...

gayle said...

Thank you for the review. I'd eyed Knit Visualizer, but the price made me gulp. That was a lot of yarn money for something that might not make life any easier.
This one looks like just what I want. I'll tell my husband that his birthday-shopping worries are over...

Paul & Carla said...

I am no designer nor will I ever be, but occasionally I balk at a pattern which has no chart. I then either skip the pattern entirely or try (not operative word "try") to chart it out myself. Being also a chart-writing novice is no help at all. This program looks like a fantastic bargain. You would just have to believe a knitter designed it for all the features knitters want. Thanks so much for the review, fleegle!

Paul & Carla said...

I thought I had typed it correctly but obviously not. I meant to type "NOTE operative word". Apologies.

Kathleen said...

That sounds like a great little program. I've been charting in InDesign, which works well for me (so much control!), but it's definitely not automatic in the way that magic pane at the botton of this one. Thanks for the report.

Experimental Knitter said...

I noticed other designers use that program, now I know why.
Thanks for a great review.

Kitty Kitty said...

Thanks for the great review. I picked it up awhile ago but never had the time to play around with it. Will definately check it out since KV has so many issues

morahchana said...

I've never charted anything before, but with your recommendation and screenshots, I am much more confident that I *could* try it now! Thanks for the review and recommendation :)

DrLeonesse said...

Awesome!

Jane@WildeThymeKnits said...

About to start my first charts and have been looking at different charting methods. Think I need to get this software. Your review is excellent. Thanks.

punkin said...

I am very glad for the review. Thank you! I have been looking at knitting software for a while. A limited budget kept me from buying. But this sounds good!!

Kathy Kathy Kathy said...

I've finally been getting better at reading charts, but it stymied me for years. Does this program do the reverse,namely turn charts that you paste in or import into written instructions?

Carol said...

it 'reads' the pattern and changes it to chart? by iself? that's like...magic!!

Romi said...

I agree it's great! I got to be a beta tester. :)

Karin said...

That is excellent! Thank you for the review.

LittleBerry said...

thanks feegle, I know a lot of people pooh pooh doilies etc but I have to say tehre's a real thrill crocheting with #20's thread suppose just the same as lace knitting ;o)

well you know me and matchign socks ;o)

knittingdragonflies said...

Wow! Good review, thanks for bringing this to my attention!
Vicki

Crafty Andy said...

Well after reading your review I wil have to say That Intwined is the way to go, I don't think that KV is worth 4 times he price for what it does. Thanks for helping me make the decission for Intwined.

No Two Snowflakes said...

I just bought this-- I am incredibly impressed with the value and this is going to allow me to do tons of new design work more easily!!! :) I second your enthusiasm for this...

Jane said...

I bought this at Stitches West but I haven't played with it much yet. It's nice to hear that a die-hard Excel devotee likes it :-)

Batty said...

Yeah,does it run on a Mac?

maf said...

Just so you know: I posted a link to your blog in my blog.

Astrid HG said...

thanks that was such a great review, saved me a lot of time as I was torn between this program and Knit Visualizer.

Astrid

SweaterFreak said...

Intwined is super glitchy. Be careful when you save a file(especially if you have few Inwtined files open at the same time). I am now looking for an alternative, because I lost my work few times. Overall, it's unusable because of that, albeit otherwise it has great features!