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Update: Software Review: Stitchmastery Knitting Chart Editor

Update:  Agh.  It turns out I did not have the most recent version of the software!  See below for comments re: the newest version.

Stitchmastery Knitting Chart Editor by Cathy Scott, available both for Windows & Mac, £60.00

I’ve noted before that I’ve been using Knit Visualizer for years.  Up until the last year, Knit Visualizer had little competition.  Now, with the release of both Enviosknit (reviewed here) and Stitchmastery, there are two very strong options that are both priced well under Knit Visualizer.

Creating a chart as outlined in the introductory video is quite simple, and you can create a lovely chart in just a few minutes, with accompanying line by line instructions already formatted with repeats.

Stitchmastery creates very elegant, clean charts — some of the nicest I’ve seen.  The stitch font library (sold separately as well, and usable in other programs such as Excel, KV, and so on) is fantastic, including a huge variety of stitches, including up to 12 stitch cables, brioche stitches, Estonian stitches, twined stitches, and more.

The chart key is generated as you create the chart, and can be directly edited.  It can be a bit tricky actually selecting the text to edit, but once you do editing is easy.

You can change the font of selected text or can use the ‘select all’ command button & change the font of everything at once.  Do note that the new font appearance doesn’t show in the chart editor (though changes in font size are shown) unless you’re actively editing that text.  Also, I couldn’t figure out how to have that font displayed on the exported image.  You can see the new font applied in the outline section.  Edited to add:  This seems to be a problem with certain fonts (probably OpenType fonts);  I was using Adobe Garamond Pro, my font of choice.  Changing to Times New Roman resulted in the changes being seen in chart editor & resizing of the text boxes appropriate to the font size.

One of the huge strengths is the extensive stitch library.  I’ve found it easy to create a custom stitch using pre-existing stitches from the library.  Unfortunately I’ve not been able to figure out how to use the custom stitch creator from scratch, and couldn’t find any references on how to use it within the help topics.

As is the case with all complex programs, Stitchmastery has, in my opinion, a pretty steep learning curve if you want to go beyond the steps shown in the introductory video. From playing with this software, it seems easier to work with if you know precisely what you want when you start (as opposed to designing as you go).

Sample .png, using Times New Roman (including key, not shown before):

Another criticism  — and this goes for Envisioknit as well as Stitchmastery, and a lot of other apps I’ve seen — is that a thorough user’s manual is not available.

Knit Visualizer has a well organized and indexed 75p manual.  I’d like to see this sort of reference for these in-depth chart making programs, where not all the components are intuitive.  Videos are great, but unless you’re setting up tutorials like those at Lynda.com, they’re not a replacement for a good manual.  I’d rather be able to go through the manual & find an answer myself than have to email or message the software developer, or post a question on Ravelry.

Having said that, Cathy is very responsive to questions.

Cathy told me she’s planning updates with the following features:

  • Detecting row repeats and condensing the written instructions accordingly – this will be in line with the implicit repeats that are already detected within a row.
  • Improved tools – the drawing and painting tools are already very useful but will have even more functionality along the lines of the selection tools. The ability to select stitches and then ‘fill’ with either/and a yarn or stitch type will also be added.
  • More explicit repeat types and qualifiers. There are just two explicit repeat types at present (rounded brackets and asterisk). Both Curly and Square brackets will be added. Likewise there are only two qualifiers; e.g. ‘4 times’ and ‘x 4’ but more qualifiers such as ‘to ? sts before end’ and ‘to last ? sts’ etc will be added.

Beautiful chartssteep learning curve beyond basics
Extensive stitch libraryno manual; some help topics but not all is covered yet
Fonts can be editedlack of clarity in how to use some of program's features
Ease of generating instructions for repeats
Nicely formatted & condensed line by line instructions
Cathy is extremely helpful and responsive regarding questions

Thank you to Cathy for supplying a review copy!

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