Sunday, April 7, 2013


Due to the minor amounts of IT tech knitting information, I will be writing the Steekin' Geek on my main blog, The Knitting Curmudgeon. So go there.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Get Your Charts on Your Smartphone! Or Your iPad.

It's been a long, long time since I've been able to write my own stuff because I've been doing the tech writer thing. No more! I'm currently writing an interactive book, along with a sock book I'll publish on Ravelry.

So now we'll get back to knitting tech every week! Yeah! This week's post is going to teach you how to put your knitting charts on your smartphone or iPad so you'll have them with you everywhere, sans paper.

Here's how you do it.

1.  If your chart is in a magazine or book, scan it and  save it as a graphic file--.jpg or .png are the best formats. Most printers these days have a scanning feature. If you have a charting app, do the same thing.
2. Create a new document in your word processing app (I presume you're using either Microsoft Office for PC or Mac, or Mac iWork).
3. Insert your chart graphic file into the document.
4. Save (or Print if you have Office 2003) the document as a .pdf.
5. E-mail the chart .pdf to yourself. You must have your e-mail available on your phone or tablet.
6. Make sure you have a .pdf reader on your smartphone or tablet so that you can download the file.

There are plenty of smartphone.pdf readers out there. I have ThinkFree on my Android. If you have Windows, there is PDF Reader Mobile for $4.99. You can get PDF Reader Pro for your iPhone and iPad via the Apple App Store for $5.99. You can also place your .pdf into your iPad Library. That's what I do. And yes, you can dump your .pdf onto your iPod Touch too.

Next week's topic will be charting apps. If you're a designer or want to be, it's good to know what's out there and what kind of features the apps offer. I've tested a bunch of them, so you'll get my thoughts on their capabilities. If you have a charting app that you like, let me know.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Let's Start Appin'!

Many of you may know me as The Knitting Curmudgeon, but in reality I am a senior technical writer and trainer, as well as a web developer and SharePoint architect, having worked in IT for 12 years now. A hell of a career for a knitter, spinner, and novice weaver! I began my career as an assistant knitting editor at McCall's Needlework & Crafts, and continued to MacKnit, a defunct machine knitting mag, and then created Crafting Today for All American Crafts. Finally, I became a real magazine editor, until 2000, when I beat feet into the tech world. I still do freelance knitting editing but ya don't make any bucks from it. So yes, I'm The Steekin' Geek, fer shure.

These days, technology has attacked the fiber community big time. I use my devices--two PCs, one MacBook, IPad2, Android smartphone--for my fiber projects, primarily knitting. And as a designer, I rely on my apps, be it for charting, writing, or drawing. So hence the creation of this blog. I keep taps on apps for us and use them. Down the line, I'll be creating video demos for different apps and computer techniques that are strictly for fiber folks.

So I'll be writing about our tech. Today's first entry is a little news about an app that some of you may want to check out.

The Knit Speaker
Yesterday I got an alert about this app. I'm sure you know of Leslye Solomon. She's the owner of this product, which is an app that allows you to enter your pattern and will then speak it to you. It's available for iPhones, iPod Touch, and iPad (although I doubt I'd ever use it on my iPad). Hopefully, Leslye will have it developed for Android phones. Check out this page for descriptive info. It's only $5.99, a very reasonable price.

We all memorize stitch patterns but some people may find this app very helpful, particularly those who have eyesight issues. Of course, you have to enter the pattern into the app so you'd better be able to read small fonts.

Frankly, when knitting a Shetland lace shawl, I doubt you'd use this. But give it a shot. I will.

Future Tech Crap
I'm doing a lot of research on charting apps. Way back when, on The Knitting Curmudgeon, I did a review of those that existed at the time. Now, we've got lots! I'll do a matrix rather than a review so that you can compare features.

And finally, I will continue to write The Knitting Curmudgeon, although I haven't in a few months. It's headed towards its 10th anniversary and although I've neglected it, I'm surging back.

Welcome, readers! And if you have tech questions, please dump them in the comments or e-mail me. I'm always happy to help.