Some Thursday Rec’s – Free apps for your phone!
Happy New Years Eve! If you are like me then you will be saying goodbye to 2015 at home because
you are dull and boring, partying and dancing scares the bejesus out of you and you never could stay up until midnight anyway. So I’ll be knitting, handspinning, and maybe even playing around with my kiddie loom. And I’ll be playing on the internet.
I betcha there are plenty more home-bodies like me than there are party animals. We’ll be on the internet tonight right? Right! So here are some free apps for your mobile device that geared for knitters and crocheters. Instead of holding up your end of a conversation while trying not to spill a champagne cocktail on yourself (I always hated those, bleh) you can sit at home in your jammies and play on your phone. You might even stitch a little.
Recommendation Number One – Get a better PDF reader
Those default, pre-loaded PDF readers on iOS and Android devices are pretty clunky. There are lots of free alternatives out there that are designed to be lightweight and come with more features. Since nearly every digital pattern you’ve ever downloaded is a PDF file, as a crafter your number one need is probably a good PDF reader for your phone.
I like Foxit MoblePDF. Its a free download and there are versions for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Its compatible with all kinds of cloud storage including Drop Box, Google Drive, One Drive if you’re into that. Mostly I like Foxit because it has full highlight and annotation features. I can mark up my digital patterns just like I mark up my printed patterns. This program lets you search text too and that has come in handy a few times. Most importantly, its pretty fast. The pages load quick. Grab this reader, or one of the many freebie PDF readers for mobile devices, and stop fighting with those default programs.
Recommendation Number Two – Get the (unofficial) Ravelry App
Knitters and crocheters who use ravelry, which is approximately all of them, have been asking for a ravelry app for years. Several alternatives have come and gone. Mostly they are just gone. But Stash2Go has been around since 2013 (I think) and it looks like its here to stay. The developer keeps adding functionality and now its available in 5 languages. Yep. I think Stash2Go has finally filled the big gaping hole in our crafter world.
And there is a free version! It comes with ads of course. If you can’t stand those there is a Pro version upgrade. If you are buying for an Android device, you download the free version and then upgrade later if you like. If you are buying for an iOS device, you have to choose the “Lite” version (free) or the “full” version (not free).
So what can this app do? Lots. It promises to be a full version of ravelry.com and it mostly delivers. You have access to all your projects, friends, and groups. You can upload pics (very helpful). You can search for a local yarn store. You can browse all the patterns on ravelry or look at what is already in your library. Small things are different. For example, Stash2Go will tell you when someone has replied to your forum post, but it tracks that but post number and not topic.
Shrug. Its a great app and you can try it for free. Little inconsistencies are totally forgivable.
Recommendation Number Three – Get a Row Counter
For iOS: iStitchCounters
IStitchCounters is a pretty slick app and its free. You can set up multiple projects, attach thumbnail pictures, and manage them all. The app lets you track rows, repeats, stitches, etc. You can set up multiple counters for a single project. You can get really OCD with this. It also lets you set up alerts/notifications so you can count down instead of up. As an added bonus you can add your project notes, needle/hook size, etc. Its been around since 2013 so most of the bugs are worked out and the developer has been keeping it updated (so far).
For Android: BeeCount Knitting Counter
This app may not be as professionally polished as its iOS counter-part, but its got most of what you need. You can have multiple projects going and keep multiple counters on all of them. The counters can be set up to count up, count down, reset to zero, and eliminated after you are done with them.
This app was never intended to be used for profit. Its an app by a crafter for crafters. It was created in cooperation with a group of testers on ravelry and you can get support through that raverly group.
Recommendation Number Four – knitCompanion is the boss app
knitCompanion is the ultimate app for knitters (and crocheters). It does everything including reformat your PDF files, track your progress, correlate written instructions to charts, and more. There are on-line tutorials, free demos, and then extended classes for the advanced user. Yes, getting set up in knitCompanion will take some time and some learning. But everyone I know who uses this app loves it. It really keeps you focused and on track.
If you need to “stitch” together multiple charts, this app can do that. It can color code stitches for you and put a stitch key on every page. It will track your rows and display your progress on the pattern instructions. This app can do what all the others can and its all in one place. But the learning curve is steep. Give yourself several hours to learn the app.
There is a free version called QuickStart, which I highly recommend you try first. After that pricing varies depending on which features you buy. Note that what you are buying is a year’s subscription to the service.
This app is only available on iOS devices… I think. I’ve seen mentions of knitCompanion for Android in several places but I can’t find it for sale. The Google Play store doesn’t seem to have it. Perhaps its in development? If anyone does have the link for an Android download, please share. 🙂