Knitting Patterns Database Pro is a fairly new knitting Android app. Already full of features, it’s under active development, comes with excellent support and is probably one of the best knitting apps out there today. And it’s promising to only get better.
The app is available in the play store. There’s both a free version and a Pro version, the latter costing $4.99/€3.99. The free version is mostly fully featured but is add supported to the point where it’s nearly unusable. For my review I used the pro version, on both my phone (Samsung Galaxy s2) and tablet (Nexus 2012). I found the app ran smoothly on both, which is impressive given the age of my phone!
As you’d expect from an app called “Knitting Patterns Database”, it’s primary purpose is to be a way of organising your PDF knitting patterns on your android device.
In order to do this, the app includes a browser through which you can download patterns from the internet. I tried to download a pattern I had in my Ravelry library and couldn’t get it to work though.
I would have liked to see an in-app way of importing the PDF patterns I already have on my tablet into the database. There isn’t. As it is, it’s easy enough to just copy/paste files from wherever they’re stored to the “knitting” folder the app creates, so it’s not the end of the world.
Once your patterns are imported into the app the fun begins. All patterns can be tagged with various attributes such as gender, yarn type (which can also be used in combination with the yarn database, more about that in a minute), and type of project amongst other things.
To be honest, tagging all the patterns seems like an awful hassle that’s probably not worth it. For me, it seems that most of my patterns are stored on ravelry anyway, where they’re already tagged and easy to search.
That’s not to say that Knitting Patterns Database Pro is not worth having. It’s not the database however, that makes it stand out. It’s all the other features.
One of the best features about the app is the excellent row counter. I reviewed another Android app recently, Visual Knitting Counter. Knitting Patterns Database does what that app promises to do, but far, far better.
The app gives you the option of opening your pattern with a row counter. It automatically extracts the text from the PDF and places it on the right side of the screen, with a set of four counters to the left. Each individual row counter can be tinkered with to reflect pattern repeats etc. There’s also the option to keep the screen on and there’s a timer in case you want to know how long a row takes you.
A little chime plays each time you finish a row, repeat or pattern, which is a nice feature, I guess, though husband told me in no uncertain terms to turn it off (seeing as I usually knit when were watching tv). You have that option anyway.
As I said, the written portion of the pattern shows on the left side of the pattern. It also comes with two highlighter bars, one horizontal, one vertical, that can be moved to highlight the section of the pattern you’re on. Obviously, this is a really handy little feature!
Surprisingly, the pattern and row counters still work quite well on the smaller screen of the phone, although of course the tablet give a much superior experience.
Now, one of the problems with a text based pattern file is that a lot of patterns include charts these days. I much prefer them myself!
Knitting Patterns Database does offer the option to use the graphical image of the pattern instead of the text based version. It doesn’t work very well though. I mostly managed to get the charts to show up, but the text would then generally turn into unreadable gibberish. The charts themselves turn a bit fuzzy as well, and the whole thing is just not great.
That being said, the feature was only recently added and the developer acknowledges that it’s far from perfect. They’re continuing to work on it so hopefully it’ll get better in the future.
Note that this feature is only available in the Pro version of the app app as well.
Yarn & Needles
Knitting Patterns Database also allows you to build a database of your needles and yarn.
Again, for the needles, it’s going to be quite tedious to add all your needles one by one. Still, I think it could be worth it in order to have a good overview of what needles you have, especially as you can mark needles as being in use. Since I usually have my tablet with me when in the LYS this might save me from that eternal question whether or not I need to buy needles with the yarn I’m purchasing (I always forget to check at home before I go out!).
In the same way, it might be handy to have a database of yarn (no idea what, exactly is in my stash right now). I like that you can scan the label of your yarn. The app then matches it to a user build database to find the details. If nothing is found, you can add these manually and have them uploaded to the database so when another user scans the same yarn, they’ll find the details you entered. In time, a large database of yarn should be available. I like the communal effort behind it.
And there’s more…
Knitting Patterns Database claims to “have the functionality of over twenty knitting apps all in one place”. It’s not an empty boast. It offers a whole number of very handy little additions.
To start, there’s the excellent row counter, that can also be used on its own.
There’s a list of abbreviations used by pattern designers, which is a handy reference to have at hand.
Then there’s a whole bunch of calculators, such as the sock calculator (love this one personally), yarn conversion calculator and even row increase/decrease calculator.
There’s also conversion tables for needle sizes, as well as dress and shoe sizes, and a conversion calculator between different units of measurement.
Actually, one of the things I really like about this app is that it’s very clearly designed with an international audience in mind. As a European, it can be quite annoying having to find conversions for things like needle sizes. This app gives you the option to use the convention you prefer.
No app is perfect
I think it’s clear by now that I really like this app. But of course, no app is perfect.
The most important feature I’m missing in this app is some way to sync data. I use both my phone and my tablet and don’t always have both with me.
On the app’s help forum, the developer discussed the issues involved in syncing, and I accept that it would be difficult to manage with the way the PDFs are processed. Still, I think perhaps even just the row counters might be synced across devices? Then again, I’m no techie so it might not really be realistically possible.
Another thing I’d like to see would the the option to highlight portions of written patterns. At the moment you can edit the text, change the colour of it all, but not of specific portions.
Knitting Pattern Database is under active development. There’s regular updates with new features and improvements to existing ones.
In addition, there’s extensive online help files, and the developer runs a forum where users’ queries and suggestions are being read and responded to.
Support for the app is fantastic, and future development looks promising. I can’t wait to see what updates we’ll get in the future.
I really do think Knitting Patterns Database Pro is one of the best, and most promising knitting apps for android. With all of it’s features, at $5.99 I think the pro version is very reasonably priced as well.