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Chartmaking Software Review: EnvisioKnit

Software Review:  EnvisioKnit by Jane of EnvisioKnit Design Studio.  For Windows 7/Vista/XP.  $99.  Available as a download.

I’ve been using Knit Visualizer (KV) for several years, and I really like it, and am very comfortable with it, but it does have some drawbacks.  (For example, the written pattern generated would always need editing to group repeats, etc.  KnitXpress, a separate, independent program, was created to fix that specific issue (and does it quite well).)  I’ll admit I’ve not used Intwined.  From what I’ve seen from the demo, it just won’t do as much as KV with custom stitches, and I’m a custom stitch junkie.

But Envisioknit, just released, intrigued me.  It seemed to have a lot more flexibility than KV in certain areas.  From the demo video, it also looked like some elements would be a lot faster (filling in irregular areas, for example).

I decided to try to recreate a relatively simple chart (from the Pt Reyes mitts) that I’d already done in KV.

Here’s a pic of it created in KV:

*Yes, I did miss a ktbl on stitch 1, row 4.

And here’s the finished chart in EnvisioKnit:

Note:  The default KV symbol for ktbl is B;  Envisioknit uses what I consider the more standard loop thing.  You can use the loop thing in KV if you set it up as a custom stitch.  I chose not to do a border around the main stitch pattern in Envisiknit, but easily could have done one in same color, a different color, or a different line width.  Note that the border is in the legend — this is a nice feature (can be turned off if you don’t want it).  (In KV, you can make a note about it, i.e. red border: top transition row, in the notes section, but not in the legend.)

The video is a great intro, but if you’re just working step by step on creating your own chart, it’s hard to fast forward & rewind on the video to find the information you need. The manual, here,  was added recently.  It’s easy to navigate & learn the basic commands (many of the commands are intuitive, but not all, depending upon what software programs in general you’re used to).  Now that I’m a little more familiar with the software, I’m using the video again (with judicious use of the pause button) to try out a few more things with my second chart in progress.

You can export the chart without a title or legend.  Though you can’t center the chart title or legend, or generate only the legend,  you can mess with all these things in your pattern layout software of choice, since you can export the file  into a variety of file types & then import those files.

There’s not a way (yet) to reorder the legend.  In KV, I simply create a legend chart, with the stitches in the order I want them, and generate a separate legend.  That would work for this software as well (just edit out the chart that accompanies the legend in EnvisioKnit in your pattern layout software).

I had to create a custom stitch for the Cluster3 in Envisioknit.  Their custom stitch creator, based upon a grid system, allows incredible customization (much more than that of KV).  It’s one of the really big strengths of this program in my opinion (especially if you were at the point of getting font creation software, an idea I’d been toying with).  Adding new stitches or editing the current stitches is straightforward.

Do note you can’t import stitch fonts — I think it’s because this is a vector based program, which is the trade off for making the nifty grid based custom stitches.

The default option for cables seems to be curved lines.

If you prefer straight lines, you can change the default curved lines to straight.

I wasn’t quite sure why got the heavy lines;  initially I thought it was because the worked cables use multiple individual stitches.  You can also see the lines around my custom Cluster stitch in the Pt Reyes chart.  Per Jane, the designer, this is a glitch that will be fixed, accidentally introduced with the recent update.

You can alter the color & tone of the grid lines;  I lightened the grid lines in the Pt Reyes chart, for example.

Another of the big strengths of this program is the ease with which you can do fair isle or stranded patterns.  The option to have different colors of yarn, specifically chosen by name or RGB values, which you can then apply the different stitches, is fantastic.  It also gives you compliments, tetrads, etc etc — this is really a incredible tool for colorwork design .

The ease with which sections can be manipulated (flipped, turned, copied) in EnvisioKnit will also make those sorts of charts much easier to produce — especially the rotate 90 degrees, as opposed to just mirroring a section of stitches vertically or horizontally.  It also has the ability to flip stitches appropriately, saving the step of going through and ‘fixing’  messed up stitches (a KV quirk).

I’m thrilled by the ability to have irregular or non rectangular charts.  Thrilled.

The price point, a little more than half that of KV, is sure to make this a popular program, especially considering its flexibility.

Bottom line?  Although I’ve not fully explored all Envisioknit can do, I really want to play with this more.  I can tell there are definitely times for which I’ll go to this program first for chart creation (stranded patterns, irregularly shaped patterns, nonstandard custom stitches).   I’m already working on a panel for a hat design in progress.

Keep in mind EnvisioKnit is quite new, and the software designer, Jane, is very keen on hearing back from users and further refining the program — so if something’s not there yet that you’d like, use her comment page here or comment in the Ravelry group with what you’re looking for.

Pros
Cons
Incredibly versatile custom stitch creatorDepending on your background, bit of a learning curve
Yarn color selector: specific colors with variety of compliments etc offeredFonts not customizable (note: not offered in other programs I've used either) ETA: Now customizable!
Ability to create irregular-shaped charts
Ability to export in a variety of formats
Ease & accuracy of section manipulation (flipping, rotating, etc sections of the chart)

Disclaimer:  I received a review copy of Envisioknit.  All opinions are my own.

9 comments… add one
  • Mary Lou July 13, 2011, 4:45 am

    Thanks for the review – I bought Intwined and haven’t taken the time to learn it, since I always seem to be working on a deadline of some sort, and I know KV. But I had a much more laborious process for the legend than you described above, so thanks for that. You’ll see it soon, I’m sure….

  • Ro July 14, 2011, 4:20 pm

    Helpful review, thanks! I’m interested, but see there’s no Mac version as of now, alas.

  • MKR August 23, 2011, 7:33 pm

    Thanks for the review. I’m thinking about it too.

    Re Ro’s comment – I use a Mac but have Parallels software with Windows XP for a couple of other things and the demo version I am trying is working well there. Sweater Wizard also runs fine using that set up.

  • Carol January 21, 2012, 2:32 pm

    Thanks for the review. Just looking into software to help with fair isle patterns. I ran across the Envisio and really like the simplicity of it.

  • Donna January 27, 2014, 5:18 pm

    Thank you so much! Although, I’m a little late, this is the exact review I was looking for. I too have been using KV for awhile, but recently bought a new computer and have been unable to transfer my KV program to the new computer. I tried to download the free demo of Envisoknit, but my security software said the program was unsafe and would not let it download.

    • StephCat January 27, 2014, 5:31 pm

      I got that too — it’s perfectly safe. Some of the security software (Norton, others) classifies it as unsafe b/c it’s not a widely used program (relatively speaking).

  • Marie August 24, 2014, 5:27 pm

    I’ve purchased intwined studio and stitchmastery. Ooooof, they are both very technical. I just read through the 69 page envisioknit manual and hallelujah its so simple! It has everything and then some. I tried the demo and I have one question. How do I stretch my custom cable stitch to fit 4 cells instead of using the same one four times.
    Thank you

    • StephCat August 24, 2014, 5:46 pm

      You should be able to edit your stitch including the number of cells it spans. 🙂

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