The android app Visual Knitting Counter has a really good idea behind it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really deliver on its great potential.
The promise: Count & highlight
Visual Knitting counter promises to count your rows while highlighting the step of your written pattern you’re currently working on.
The idea is to copy and paste the written pattern into the app, where you then have both pattern and counters on one single page.
Simple buttons allow you to go forward and backward in each step and count your rows and pattern repeats and so on.
I really want to like Visual Knitting Counter. It’s such a great idea in theory. But it just doesn’t work very well in practice.
To begin with, most patterns come in pdf format. Visual Knitting Counter requires plain text. There is no import function in the app, so you have to manually copy the text into the app. This can be pretty awkward to do on a mobile device.
Depending the original pdf, the text looses much of its formatting when copied into the app. The words and sentences often end up in one big block of text, which does not make for easy reading, even with the highlighting function. Of course, you can manually separate everything out again, but it’s tedious.
The highlighting function and the counters do work very well. It’s easy to go backwards and forwards as you please, though it can be annoying having to skip through loads of text that might be part of a pattern to get the highlighting bit to the actual instructions.
A big problem for me was that if you go back to edit the pattern, the highlighter seems to reset to the start, causing you to lose your place.
I did use Visual Knitting Counter for a while, but found that I ended up ignoring the actual pattern highlighting bit and just used the counters. There’s better counting apps out there.
To me, the apps also misses some essential features that others do offer. Syncing for one, which is important if you, like me, use both an android phone and a tablet.
Most patterns I knit also incorporate a chart of some sort and those aren’t supported in the app.
Visual Knitting Counter has a nice idea behind it, but the whole thing really just feels a little unpolished. It’s like it was never quite finished. There have been no updates to it since March 2012 so it looks like the developer has abandoned it.
Still, it might suit some knitters for some projects, and it’s free, so it’s worth giving it a shot if the idea appeals to you.