Stitch Works Crochet Charts, $50. Available for Windows, Mac & Linux.
You all know how much I love charting my knitting stitch patterns, so it should be no surprise that I like crochet charts as well. I love being able to get, say, a Japanese crochet stitch dictionary and being able to decipher what I need to do.
A nice thing about crochet charts – more so than, I think, knitting charts – is that they depict the final product quite clearly.
As such, of course I want to include crochet charts in my designs that use crochet motifs.
Stitch Works Crochet Charts (SWCC) is the only dedicated crochet chart maker that I’ve seen. The alternative is Illustrator or other vector based drawing programs (or by hand). (If you know of any others, please note them in the comments!)
SWCC comes with a pdf manual as well as online instructional tutorials and examples. I’d like a bit more detail in the manual, or perhaps a few more videos showing some of the more advanced manipulations available.
When playing with the program, I didn’t ask the designer for aid, but he clearly lists his email if you have questions. There’s also a Ravelry group here.
It’s pretty straightforward to get started, though I recommend watching the videos (especially the first demo) & reading through the manual first.
Here’s a chart I made in Stitch Works:
And here’s a version I made in Illustrator:
Both are still works in progress!
It’s easier to generate a chart from scratch in SWCC than in Illustrator, especially if you’d need to create all your stitch symbols from scratch. If you need to create a custom symbol in SWCC, you can, but with 109 symbols available you’ve got a good number of choices already available.
I’m not quite sure how to really utilize the rows feature; when I entered 4 rows for the number of rows, it automatically generated them in chain stitch (or, I think, whatever default you choose); but it doesn’t give an option to have each row different.
It’s easier, I think, to manipulate the symbols in Illustrator. I had a harder time scaling, reflecting/mirroring etc the stitches in SWCC than in Illustrator, and in some cases simply wasn’t able to do what I wanted in SWCC. Grouping a set of stitches then trying to mirror them as a group just didn’t want to happen in SWCC, for example; I had to just make another group that approximately mirrored the original. (Reading through the Rav group discussions, this is a known issue and is supposed to be fixed at some point.)
Though you can’t draw a line around the repeat in SWCC like I did in the Illustrator example, you can change the background color of the stitches, which I seem to like better — it seems less confusing. See here:
You can always, of course, import the SWCC image (exportable as pdf, png, tiff, bmp and jpg) into, say, Illustrator, and manipulate it or add lines etc to it afterwards.
Although I’ve only played with charting rows, there’s also a function for laying out your chart in the round (as shown in the demo video).
I’d recommend this program, especially if you don’t have Illustrator or another similar program with which you’re adept. If you’re like me, and don’t do a lot of crochet, having a solid library of stitches readily available (as opposed to having to draw/create each in Illustrator), makes it simpler and faster to generate crochet charts.
Relatively inexpensive ($50) Difficult to manipulate groups of stitches (if at all possible)
Works on Mac, Windows & Linux Scaling seems awkward
Large library of stitches Answer in Ravelry to some questions: If you can't do in SWCC, do it another program after you've created the chart (altering text size, adding outlines, etc)
Ability to create custom stitches Ability to export in a variety of file types Ravelry group for questions and features request
I received my copy of StitchWorks Crochet Charts from the company for purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.