Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Knit Buddy

I am in love with Vogue Knitting's Knit Buddy app. I have used other knitting apps in the past, but I think the last one I really got into was one for my Palm, so that one's been gone awhile. I haven't found an iPhone app that I like as much as this one.

There are a lot of components, but the three main ones are:
  • Yarn stash & yarn detail
  • Needle and hook inventory
  • Project list & project detail
For each yarn that you have in your stash, you can fill out all the details--weight, fiber content (including blends), color number/name, dye lot, number of skeins, and yards and grams per skein. There is also a "notes" field, and a place where you can add a photo of the yarn. I have sometimes grabbed photos off the web, but you can also take your own photos. The needle inventory screen allows you to enter any number of needles, specifying whether they are straight, double pointed or circular, the length, and the material that they are made from. One thing that it doesn't have that I would like is the ability to add a number in case you have multiple occurrences of the same needle, especially for sock needles and steel crochet hooks. I probably have about 87 sets of Size 1 Brittany Birch needles . . . The next section is the project section. For each project, you can save whether it is a Work in Progress (WIP), in your queue, or a finished object. When you choose the needles that you are using, the app marks them in the needle inventory as used (shows them highlighted in yellow), so if you are checking to see if you have the particular needles you need for a project, you can also see if they are in use. Selecting a yarn from your stash doesn't seem to do anything to the yarn inventory, which is fine. There is a free-text notes section where you can add any particular notes about that project, i.e., who it is for, what size you made, and any notes you may want to make about the project. I have also used this field to enter a text version of the pattern. It isn't really made for that, and it formats it kind of oddly, but it is possible to use it that way. I save all of my patterns in the Evernote app anyway, so they are always available to me on my iPhone or iPad wherever I am, but I like having them in Knit Buddy as well. Within the Pattens screen you can set counters. These can be named whatever you like, and you can choose whether pressing on the + or - makes a sound or not. I kind of like the sound feedback. Once you are finished with a counter you can delete it, but you can also have multiple counters going at the same time. I don't think there is any limit to the number of counters you can have, but I have only used two at one time. The functionality of the app is pretty close to the information that can be entered in your notebook at Ravelry. They don't sync, of course, but it would be really great if they could! Maybe someday.

The Knit Buddy app also includes a place to catalog knitting books, a "stitchionary" with cable, colorwork, and other patterns, a "how-to" section for knitting and crocheting, terms and abbreviations, and a tool for substituting yarn. The app was really well thought out, and unlike some, I'm guessing that they had actual knitters use it for awhile and give feedback. I.e., it is actually useful for a real knitter, not what a non-knitting programmer might guess that a knitter would need and use.

I understand from comments in the App Store that at one time this app synced over multiple devices so you could have it on both your iPhone and iPad, but only have to enter information in one place, but that functionality was removed in a recent update. I need it on my phone the most since that is what I always have with me, but it would be nice to be able to enter information on the iPad and have it sync between them. I wonder if that's something they may add back into the app, given all of the negative comments, but I don't know the reason they removed it in the first place.