As I’m working on the publishable version of the pattern for Bap, I was looking into ways to create a simple chart.
I do much of my charting with pen and paper, and I’ve created a few templates to make my life easier. (And because I like to share can download my knitting chart templates for free!)
For publication, however, hand drawn charts just don’t cut the mustard. Digital copies are a must for sharing. Even if they are only for personal use, being able to back them up is a huge bonus.
To make charts on your pc or mac, there’s a few options available. For one, there’s some commercial software packages available. Stitchmastery and Intwined Pattern Studio appear to be the popular options. These are expensive though, and really overkill for most people. They’re really aimed at professional knitting pattern designers.
A free alternative is to chart your patterns using excel and a knitting font. This is perfectly workable, though it can be a bit tricky to set it up at first. Obviously, it also requires that you own excel, though I imagine it might work in one of the free office suites as well. The best tutorial I’ve found on how to do this is Annie Bee’s.
A much simpler and equally free way of doing it is the web app Chart Minder.
Adapt and adjust
What I really like about Chart Minder is that it’s very easy to adjust the chart exactly to your needs. You can set the number of rows, stitch count, whether it’s knit in the round or flat, the font, the types of stitches, whether or not you want to have gauge marked. The list goes on and on. One of the features I really like is the recently added option to bulk edit a certain type of stitch, and the option to repeat stitch patterns with the click of a mouse.
The app is very user friendly. The interface is intuitive and easy to operate.
Chart Minder is still under active development and the author appears to be updating it with new features on a fairly regular basis. It’s already quite good, but it’ll be interesting to see where it’s going to go in the future.
Here’s a screenshot of the Chart Minder interface while I was playing with the features (click to see a bigger version):
And this is what the exported version of the same pattern looks like:
Login with your ravelry account to save your patterns, download them and access them again on a later date. A word of warning though: the login expires after thirty minutes. If you do not save before then, your work will be lost. This is a known issue that the creator of Chart Minder has promised will be fixed in a future version.
The author also has a ravelry group where she’s happy to answer questions and responds to feature requests: click here.
Free to use and share
For the moment, as it’s a work in progress, the author is happy for people to use chart minder to publish patterns wherever, though a link back is appreciated. That may change in the future though, so keep an eye on it.
Great for quick and simple charts
I think Chart Minder is probably the best charting solution out there if you just want to do the odd and relatively straightforward pattern. Chart Minder is definatively not for you if you’re doing a lot of complicated charts, but if you are, you’ll probably want to use one of the dedicated software suites anyway. As a free alternative for the occasional knitting chart maker, Chart Minder offers a ton of features, it’s very simple to use and it creates great looking charts (though one feature I am missing is the ability to create a chart legend with your chart). For me, the greatest downside is that the app is only available online and while you can save and export your charts, they’ll be in .png format. There’s no way of backing up an editable version offline, so if you are doing anything complicated or something that you want to be sure you can come back to later and edit, excel might be a better option.