Thursday, April 18, 2013

21st Century Knitting




I took this with the Ipad camera. 

Sketching ideas, graphing charts, and writing instructions for a knitting pattern are such time consuming activities, especially for a full-time English teacher with limited math skills. Keeping track of a vast library of digital knitting patterns created by other designers--patterns stowed in Ravelry and in a variety of folders in an assortment of places--is also a challenge.  Maybe someday if I find myself incapacitated (and less likely to  get distracted by laundry, dishes, and yard work) I might be able to organize photos from my Snapfish, Windows Live, Amazon Cloud, numerous flash drives, two external hard drives, and desktop and laptop computers.  Actually my photos that were on “my” laptop are now on a flash drive as I moved them there after last week's unfortunate ant incident (when an army of these critters crawled out of the keyboard).  Note, my entire house isn’t infested with vermin, but the potato chip bags, banana peels, cellophane cracker wrappers, and odd sticky plates that often litter my fifteen-year-old’s room (where he likes to use the laptop to download awful music and sometimes do homework) obviously attracted some visitors.  Anyway, I digress.   The point is that this past weekend I purchased an Ipad (a personal device for me—at least until the newness wears off), and I can see already how this item will facilitate all aspects my knitting hobby.

Right away, I downloaded a few knitting-related apps that were very inexpensive (both under $5.00) and am now spending awe-struck hours engaging in yet another way to eat up the abundance of time I have left after teaching all day.  One is StitchSketch, which allows the user to design her own color work charts or to upload and convert a photo to a knitting chart.  I haven’t tried the second option yet, but did spend some time entranced by touching my fingers on little boxes and creating a colorful pattern I’d first drawn out on graph paper.  (This design is something I’m cooking up for Knit and Crochet Blog Week, an annual event for knitters and crocheters sponsored by Eskimimakes).


This is part of a design I'm working on using StitchSketch.  Excuse the fingerprints on the screen. 



Another program I purchased is KnitDesigner, where I can not only graph charts, but also create a knitting pattern in its entirety—with directions, gauge, etc.  I haven’t seen the finished product yet, but the emotions I experienced when I saw that this app has a special “knitting keyboard” with keys for “st” and “over” and other craft-specific terms and abbreviations are akin to those I underwent when I was a high school yearbook advisor and learned that students would no longer have to provide the "link" to individual photo files when turning in online layout submissions containing many images.  Teenagers, working on computers all over a school campus and at home, aren't exactly punctilious in keeping track of original photo files (something they have in common with me.) 


I used Snapseed to edit this photo of a vest I'm making using beautiful Rowan spring yarn.  I still have to play with working on tuning the overexposed areas of the image. 
In addition to knitting apps to help me while away the hours, I now have a high quality digital still and video camera, a product of sophisticated Apple technology.  To accompany the camera, I downloaded the Snapseed app, a free photo editing program Louisa Harding demonstrated in a class I took at Vogue Knitting Live last January.  Using a simple snapshot of a young woman, before our eyes she transformed a dull picture taken in a room with harsh fluorescent lights into an aesthetically pleasing work of art. 

I traded in my Smartphone to offset the 3G service fees of my Ipad and I’m not disappointed so far.  I now have a cheap freebie phone (one which is much easier to dial), and in its place I have a tablet full of endless possibilities—if I keep it away from invading ants and boys pulled by the irresistible allure of innovative technology. 






2 comments:

  1. Oh what a fun new tool! StitchSketch sounds like a really useful (and way too much fun) app, especially for someone branching out into designing like you are. Seedstitch is way more fun on an iPad than on a phone because of the nice big screen. I also have a serious problem of keeping all of my photos together, it's gotten a little bit better since I got an iPhone, because all of the Apple devices talk to each other and share photos wirelessly. Also, I'm so excited that you are going to take part in Blog Week! That's how we came in contact right? I hope the end of the semester isn't too stressful!

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  2. Glad you are iPad-equipped! Never knew there were knitting design apps to be had! What fun! As to your encounter with livestock emerging from your laptop, eek! And ants to boot! Eek again! I don't mind ants outside but I have a bit of a thing about them inside! They have tried invasion via the patio door here but have been deterred by D filling every visible crevice with Plastic Padding which is a kind of "chemical metal" - proof against even the hungriest ants. I don't know what I would have done on seeing them emerge from my keyboard but you might have heard me across the Atlantic!! Glad to know that I am not the only one waging a war against the consumption of food in teenage bedrooms! What is it about 15-yr olds that means that plates lurk for days in corners unless detected by a parental beady eye and bins seem more for decoration than use! I retold the story of the ants and your laptop as a cautionary tale to H but unfortunately he freaked me out big time with an alternative involving thousands of baby tarantulas (EEEEK!) and a cactus at a party (EEEEK again!) which he'd found (as you do if you're 15 and curious!) on the Internet!! Enough said! Did you get my reply to your email the other day? I hope so. So looking forward to seeing you. And be reassured there will be no livestock with six or eight legs tolerated on the premises when you are staying (especially eight legs) so it's safe to bring your laptop so long as there are no long term residents in there from Carolina that is! E x

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