About  Knitting  Machines...        
A place for Knitting Machine Enthusiasts
                                                                                      Updated November 2014


A place for Knitting Machine Enthusiasts to find out about Knitting Machines, Yarns or Anything that has to do with Machine Knitting
About Knitting Software,  Stitch Pattern Systems,
Garment Shaping Systems
& Knitting Machines

        How it all Works...

                                 
                                                        
All knitting machines can create color or relief patterns automatically or with hand tooling.  The different makes and models of knitting machines have different options, in addition to having the option of a punch card knitting machine or an electric/computerized knitting machine.  Below is an explanation of the two most popular knitting machine lines in the market, namely Brother/KnitKing and Silver Reed/Studio/KnitMaster, and options for each line.   I then follow up with an explanation of other software systems that you can use as stand alone programs or bundled as a software suite.

I know that all this information is a lot to deal with, but it is good for you to understand what you have and how it works in order to decide what you need. 

Finally, at the bottom of the page, I have included my experience with knitting software, knitting machines and how I would have looked at this stuff if I had a do-over with what I know now but, as they say hindsight is 20/20.  If you are new to machine knitting and software I would encourage you to read all of this page and not just the summary.  It could help you decide if you want/need something that is just around $30 or if what you want/need something that cost $500+. 
What you want and what you need are two different things, I bought DAK because I "wanted" it but I did not "need" it in order to be able to knit patterns on my knitting machines, both Brother and Silver Reed.  Those of you who are experienced machine knitters, I hope that you find some tidbits of information that you find useful.

  BE CAREFUL WITH TECHNICAL SUPPORT FROM a 3RD PARTY VENDOR such as virus protection or other software suites that interact with your knitting machine software.  First you NEVER allow them access to your laptop and I mean NEVER unless you actually know and trust the person who is accessing your laptop remotely.  Once they are in they can really mess things up as they have the ability to access and change or delete important program extensions and files that will crash software programs and even your computer.  Here are my reasons why:

   1.  Unfortunately the USA has decided that outsourcing technical support to Pacific Asia, India and Asia is a good thing as it keeps costs down, but quality support fails because of this.  It may be true that THEY save money, but the way they go about it is all wrong as they NEVER train them enough.

   2.  Because English is the second language when outsourcing to another country, communication is very difficult because of an accent or lack of English language skills.

    3.  Understanding Knitting Software is nonexistent with these tech's since it is such a small cottage market.  So, when they are in your computer, they can misunderstand, be ignorant of or arrogant about what needs to be repaired, changed or modified.  Most of the time they will NOT listen to you even though you may know more than them about the issue(s).  Once they change or delete parts of a software program you will crash and burn and it will be AT YOUR COST, including if they happen to crash your computer.

     4.  There is no recourse for you to take to be compensated for their errors.  If your computer crashes you are the one paying for a new one.  Your software becomes inoperable, you are the one who has to purchase it again and install it.  You can complain all you want, but what are you going to do...  Fly to another country and complain in person?  

  I read an article on line where a woman had an issue with MacAfee and DAK and she ended up having to purchase another DAK seat at over $500 because the technician had no idea what he was doing and would not listen to her.  He deleted files and crashed DAK and she had no recourse.  I have been on the phone with technical support many times and knew more about my computer than the tech did and even heard them rifling through a manual to get an answer for me!  I mean really?????
                                                               
So, instead of letting someone INTO your computer, deny access and let them walk YOU through the repairs and if something seems amiss, DO NOT DO IT, DO NOT DELETE IT.  By the way, you have the ability to permanently deny remote access to your computer by setting up permissions in that way on your computer.  If you do not know how to do this, have an experienced technician show you how, and teach you, as it is a simple task to do and that way you can reset this permission to allow access when you need to.  This also helps protect your computer and the information in it from viruses and spy software as no one can access your information remotely unless you allow them.  I have my laptop set up this way.
 


                                         

 
BROTHER KNITTING MACHINES



With Brother you have basically have 2 types of machines.  The Punch Card Machine and the Electronic/Computerized Machine.

With the Punch Card Machines you have an area on top of the machine where a paper or plastic card can be fed with holes in it that tells the machine which needles to put in working and non working position to create a color or stitch pattern.  The pattern card holds 24 stitch areas that can be punched out by a card puncher, so that is the limit of the design; 24 stitches but it can be repeated across the knitted fabric.

The computerized/electrical machines have anywhere from 200 to almost 600 patterns programmed into the machines computer for you to choose from.  With this machine there is a manual with pictures of the patterns and a corresponding number that you enter into the knitting machines computer, or brain, and then the knitting machine will automatically select the needles necessary for the stitch pattern you selected to use for your knitted item.  So make sure you get both the machine manual AND the pattern manual, they are separate books.

You can pattern part of the item knitted or the entire garment.  The knitting machine only patterns and does not tell you when to increase or decrease, except for the Brother 970 – 4.5mm Machine.  In general you can also create your own designs, enter the information into the computer, assign a number for it and store it.  With the Brother 970 – 4.5mm machine, you can also enter a garments specification and store a garment pattern.  With the punchcard models you make punch cards of the stitch design.

For garment shaping you will need to use the Knit Leader and/or some sort of software to help you with the instructions of how to shape evenly and  properly.  Software options are discussed later on this page.
 

Generally and depending if you also purchase a Ribber, you have the following stitch types in many different variations and patterns:

                  
TUCK - WEAVE - SKIP - INTARSIA - DOUBLE JACQUARD
             KNIT AND PURL STITCH (main stitch) AND RIB (with RIBBER)

                                        PUNCH LACE or LACE


     PPD
The PPD110 and PPD120 allows you to create your own stitch pattern designs or to input stitch patterns from knitting patterns, magazines or books, using a television as your screen, and then to transfer your stitch patterns to your electronic knitting machine.  The is very simple to use and if you can, get the PPD120 rather than the PPD110.

The PPD110/120 should contain all of the 555 Stitch World stitch patterns built in to the base. These patterns can be accessed as a starting point for designs, to allow you to alter them, or to import parts of the patterns into your own designs, and then upload them to your knitting machine or use them as is.  In addition to these built in patterns the Pattern Cartridge II has storage space available for your own designs that is equivalent in size to the biggest memory in any knitting machine that Brother manufactured.

When designing your stitch pattern the PPD110/120, has a menu of variations that can be applied to your design.  These include Reverse, Double Length, Double Width and Increase or Reduce the number of stitches or rows.

The PPD110/120 communicates through the supplied interface cable with the Brother KH930,  KH940, KH950i, and KH965i (KnitKing CompuKnit III, IV and Vcx) knitting machines.  Communication between the PPD110/120 and the Brother KH270, KH965 and the KH970 (KnitKing CompuKnit Bulky, V and 5 Star) is by means of the cartridge, which is unplugged from the PPD110/120 and then plugged into the knitting machine’s cartridge port.  Users of the Brother KH965i (KnitKing CompuKnit Vcx) can also use this method.  It may also be necessary to obtain a different TV connector cable to connect the PPD110 to the aerial socket on your television.  If you should decide to buy this item, get the PPD120.

    Brother Disk Drive (FB100-KM)

With the disc drive, you can save any pattern to an inexpensive floppy and free up space on your PPD or Brother Computerized Knitting Machine.  You can transfer the pattern back and forth between the PPD, knitting machine and Disk Drive.  Also, some designers supply their patterns on floppy only in the FB100 format.  It works the same way the old Floppy Disk Drives did with a regular computer before CD's and DVD's were invented.

TIDBIT:  There is also another alternative that you can use and NOT buy the FB100...

FB100 Emulator
The theory behind Brother FB100 Emulator is rather simple. A Brother Pattern Disk is a floppy containing 80 Kilobyte data. The knitting machine can read this floppy and most knitting machines can also write the floppy when the Brother FB100 floppy disk drive is hooked up to the knitting machine.


The idea is that using the Brotherlink 1 USB or a Brotherlink 5 USB cable system and the Brother "FB100 Emulator", your own computer replaces the Brother FB100 floppy disk drive. When you start the emulation, you load a Brother Pattern Disk file stored on your computer. When you stop the emulation, you are invited to save the Brother Pattern Disk file on your computer in case of changes.  You no longer need a floppy as the file is on your computers disc drive.  I do believe this is freeware and can be downloaded via this link:

              http://www.knitandsew.demon.nl/dk/fb100emu-en.htm


Pattern Selector (Plastic)
This is a plastic device, very old, that sits on your knitting machine and helps select the correct needles.  Unless you have a very old machine, I would not recommend this item.

In summary, with Brother/KnitKing knitting machines you have punch cards, built in stitch patterns, you can use mylar with the Brother KH910, use a PPD, an FB100, the Knit Leader (Knit Radar) or some kind of third party software system to be able to pattern both garments and stitches.


   KNIT RADAR - KL116
This item helps you shape garments as you knit and comes with a set of sweater and top patterns on paper for a child, male and female, in different sizes.  Most would tell you not to get this item, but I would suggest that you do IF you would like to use sewing patterns and/or have a punch card or manual machine,  this is the item to get.  You can also design your own garment patterns to use as the Brother Knit Leader can manage life size patterns.  You make up a pattern or use a sewing pattern and the knit leader tells you when to increase, decrease, shape and bind off.  It also comes with its own patterns in full and 1/2 scale, DO NOT pay the higher end price UNLESS they have ALL the paper pattern sheets.  Cost is usually between $50 - $125.

There are older models also, they will cost less but you need to check compatibility in your user manual, on this page or with a dealer as some may need modifications or not work at all with your model knitting machine: The KL111, KL113, KL115 are the older model numbers
.



SILVER REED KNITTING MACHINES 



With all Silver Reed Machines you need to purchase either a Knit Radar, an EC1 with an optional PE1 patterning device or some sort of knitting machine software, explained on this page.  New to the market as of 2011, is a PC10 which can replace the PE1 & EC1 or knitting machine software.  First an explanation of the Knit Radar - KR10, KR11 and KR21 models. 

                                 KNIT RADARS
The Knit Radar (KR) will show you when to increase and decrease to create the shape for the pattern piece or garment you are knitting. No more math trying to figure out complex curves let the knit radar do the work. By selecting a ruler gauged to your stitch gauge you can use any yarn you like. You no longer need to try several test swatches to meet the gauge of a written pattern. Choose the garment pattern design you like, choose the yarn you like and let the Knit Radar do the work of calculation.  The other option is a software package.

There are two types of Knit Radars, the KR21-10-11 and the KR7.


     Knit Radar, KR21 – 11 – 10
The KR21, KR10 and KR11 are more advanced and computerized and are quite expensive, with the KR21 coming in at a whopping $420+ new!  If you are looking at the KR21 take a close look at COCHENILLE SOFTWARE before deciding to purchase it as it is only a garment shaper that uses mylar sheets.  Also, Design a Knit software costs around that same price as the KR21.  The KR11 and 10 are much less but still pricey, you can purchase a KR10 or KR11  used for about $150 and I do not see many upgrades from these to the KR21, especially with the price increase.

For the KR21/10/11 you will need to purchase a specific row counter that this item plugs into and the row counter works on batteries.  For the LK machines look for the LK15R and all others would use the RK15 row counter.  The patterns are in ½ and ¼ scale.  If you are planning on using sewing patterns, then you need to adjust their size accordingly.  This knit radar moves the pattern up and down as you trip the row counter as the carraige moves from one side of the bed to the other.

This Knit Radar works on most if not all Silver Reed/Studio knitting machines but check with your dealer to be sure.  This is the best Knit Radar to buy if you have any of the Studio Hobby Machines with the plastic beds. 


    Knit Radar, KR7:
The second is a manual Knit Radar, the model KR7.  I owned this one and loved it as I can feed life size garment patterns into it and knit.  Also,  I can feed sewing pattern sheets into it without having to modify them and knit up almost any sewing pattern, but the pattern piece must fit in the radar.  The KR6 or 5 are much older models and the one you want is the KR7.  Also, the KR7 is quite large but sits comfortably on your main bed, the KR10/11/21 is quite small, about the size of a small book, so you need to use the patterns that come with it or reduce the size of any pattern piece to fit the unit. 

I sold my KR7 as I use COCHENILLE DESIGN STUDIO SOFTWARE and hand tool most of my stitch patterns.
  I do miss it though and now regret selling it as I bought it new, but I may buy another one as I miss using sewing patterns to make tops and sweaters.  This item usually runs about $90 - $150 used and in good condition, new they are a little more.  If it is beat up offer $75 and if it is a KR5 or KR6 I would only pay about $35 - $50.

This Knit Radar works with ALL Silver Reed/Studio Knitting Machines, with the possible exception of the hobby machine.  Ask a dealer if in doubt.

REMEMBER!!! These items are garment shapers only, not a stitch designer and are stand alone items.  So, paying HUNDREDS of dollars for one to me is just not worth it.

If you do buy one there is very good tutorial on this site:
 
             http://www.clearwaterknits.com/knitcontour/lesson_index.html



   
EC1
This is required in order to use any stitch pattern for any Silver Reed Knitting Machine in the 800 series and it is built in with the SK560 and SK580 models.  It is an electronic accessory, usually coupled with a PE1 which expands it abilities, where a sheet of mylar paper is fed into it with a pattern on it so that the knitting machine knows which needles to use for a stitch pattern and which to hold or not use.  This item reads stitch patterns only and does not help with garment shaping, the addition of a knit radar/knit leader can help with that, or basic garment patterning software. 

I personally like this item and would encourage you to use it before deciding on a knitting machine stitch software program, especially if your machine came with one.   Even if you do get a software program you will probably keep this item if you bought a modular system.  It is great if you want to make something quick and want to use a stitch pattern, but do not want to go through the trouble of setting up your computer system in order to knit. 

I used to have a Studio SK580 with the EC1 built in and I would compare it to any Brother computerized knitting machine. The difference being, I feed a mylar piece of paper into it that has the stitch design and with Brother Knitting Machines you punch buttons for the stitch design of your choice.  You can also buy more blank mylar sheets and the special design pencil, take a Brother pattern that you really like and place that stitch pattern on the mylar and use it, so ANY stitch pattern is possible with an EC1 as long as it is no more that 60 stitches wide and 200 tall.

TIDBIT:  When Studio/Silver Reed continued to make newer models of their knitting machine, the SK840, all they did was strip down their older model knitting machines. The SK560 has an EC1 AND a Knit Radar built in, then the next model  with removed components is the SK580 that has the EC1 built in but no Knit Radar/Knit Leader. Now they sell the SK840, which is the same machine as the SK580/SK560, but does not have the EC1 or Knit Leader/Knit Radar but instead is a completely modular system, even though computerized.  In Essence, if you buy the SK840 you are PAYING A LOT MORE for A LOT LESS.

I have seen EC1's for sale for as low as $200 and as high as $550, and I actually saw someone trying to sell one for $750 (!) on eBay which is almost TWICE the cost NEW!  I personally would have a hard time paying anything over $300 for one in really good condition and no yellowing.
 

   
PE1
This is an electronic accessory for your Studio, Silver Reed Electronic Knitting Machine and is used in conjunction with an EC-1 pattern device.  You must have an EC1 or a machine with the EC1 built in, in order to use it.  Simply plug the Design Controller into your EC-1 which in turn plugs into your SK-580, 830, 840, 860 or 890 knitting machine and you can knit non-repeating patterns up to 200 stitches wide and 1,000 rows long.  I personally do not own one as my stitch patterns are never that large, but if you do make a pattern the size of your knitted garment, or say a bed covering or throw blanket, it would be handy.  It also is a great tool for non repeating patterns like horses running in a forest or if you make a decorative landscape the size of a blanket or throw, as you do not need to reprogram it multiple times for sections of a very large design.  It could also be handy of you do abstract designs if you are really artistic.

The PE1 / EC1 combo also enables you to store and enlarge designs together to create a larger pattern than the standard pattern size of the EC1 alone.  A Liquid crystal display gives you instructions each time you press the function keys and displays information on knitting status and warnings when necessary. It also shows you up to 64 stitched and 8 rows of the pattern currently stored in the PE1's memory card.  Using the scrolling function also enables you to view the remainder of the pattern.

Cost on this item used is anywhere from $200 - $400 and I do not think these are favored much in the market, so I would offer a price on the lower side, if I was purchasing it unless it is new(ish).  These are harder to sell from what I have heard if you decide it is not for you.  Below is a picture of an EC1 with a PE1 with a Silver Reed Knitting Machines.  The PE1 is the smaller device with the compact flash card sticking out of it (it is a specific card that you must buy from a dealer) that you store your patterns on.

                                             

PC10
The PC10 is basically the PE1 and EC1 in one electronic accessory and the price point is at $1,095 last I checked, quite the expensive item to have.  Designed for simplicity of use it makes electronic knitting easy, as no computer is needed.  I have not used one but it seems to mimic the detachable computer that comes with the Brother 970 knitting machine. 

The PC10 can be removed from the machine to program and then returned to the machine to knit your garments. Patterns are saved on a compact flash card which allows you to then share your designs if you should choose to.  There are 100 built in patterns and the PC10 can also:
  • Create stitch patterns 200 stitches by 1000 rows.
  • Patterns saved to a Compact Flash Card.
  • Reverse, mirror image, double length, double wide options, large motif, color negative, all over knitting and double jacquard.

 



    MY PERSONAL OPINION:  I personally, do not know how popular this item is but at a cost of over $1,000, for me it is overpriced for what it does and I would rather purchase a software suite at $500+ or an EC1 (for A LOT less) for my knitting machine, if I did not already have an EC1.  You also have the option of SILVERKNIT Software at half the cost (explained below)  I just really cannot wrap my head around $1,100  for this item as a very nice high end laptop costs about the same, so in my opinion, not a wise purchase.  I would also think they would offer a larger crystal display so you can see much more of the pattern, like a 10" x 10" display for the money you are paying, much like the computer pads that are offered today for the internet or reading pad for books.

    The unit and software code is extremely simplistic and not a lot of work if compared to computer programming and coding  that goes into even the most basic laptop in the market today. This item is very basic and is not "high tech" in any way.  Maybe the price is to reflect what a new EC1 and PE1 costs which would be around $400 - $500 new each item, but there are no new ones around, all EC1's and PE1's are used and can be purchased for about $300 each. 

    I would say this item is worth no more than $250 at the most, if that, for what it is, what it does and especially for what it took to manufacture.
     

    ABOUT SILVERKNIT SOFTWARE

    Specific for Studio and Silver Reed Knitting Machines Only



    SilverKnit is a replacement for the EC1 + PE1 combination, I would say the PC10 and an alternative to DAK. It is specific for Studio, Silver Reed knitting machines only.  You don't have the restrictions of the EC1/PE1 like 60 stitches and mylar sheets. You get all the benefits of utilizing a PC like large screen, unlimited storage, lots of patterns, etc... and The EC1 and PE1 are no longer manufactured.  One of the main reason for developing SilverKnit was to create a package for those users who want to knit stitch patterns on a Silver Reed machine, but don't want DesignaKnit for that purpose and also create a package with the functionality of an EC1 (+PE1) using the features of a PC.  SilverKnit is a stitch design program not a garment design utility so it does not tell you how to shape the garment pieces.  What you have is the ability to download the stitch pattern to your knitting carriage after you have created it and saved it in the SilverKnit Box, like an EC1/PE1 system.  It works much the same way as the computers on the Brother/KnitKing computerized knitting machines.

    With Silver Reed you have two major lines of electronic knitting machines,  SK500's and SK800's. The SK500 line has built in electronics like the Brother/KnitKing Knitting Machines, where the SK800 line is a modular system where the EC1 has been removed.  SILVERKNIT works with the SK500's; SK550 SK560 SK580 and the SK800's; SK830 SK840 SK860 and SK890 Electronic Knitting Machines by Silver Reed, Singer, Studio, Knitmaster AND the LC580/560, AG50 and SA-3 accessories. 

    It is compatible with DAK, Windows 7 and XP 32 & 64 Bit, Windows 2008 R2, both x86 and x64 (information as of 2012). 

    Why you would purchase both DAK and this software package I have no reasons for.  So I am guessing that if you wanted to use DAK stitch pattern files, you can as they are compatible.  Or use this as your stitch software package and DAK as your garment shaping software but it also has stitch pattern abilities, which also makes no sense. In addition, you can purchase a garment design software package for as low as $30, and you may already have a knit radar that you can use for shaping.  For me, most sweaters do not have much shaping in them anyway unless you are a fashion designer making high end designs.  Knits stretch and form to your body, that is why we like them, for comfort.

    But, SilverKnit and it's software does provide the knitting functionality of the EC1/PE1 for electronic Silver Reed knitting machines and with SilverKnit you can knit existing patterns without the need of any additional software, that makes perfect sense to me.  Being able to create your own patterns with a graphics package of your choice, such as Corel Draw and import those stitch designs, I get that also.

    SilverKnit runs about $500 with the cables necessary, except the curly cord  at around $65.  This is a lot less than DAK and its cable system at over $1,000, I get that.  So, as long as you are comparing oranges to oranges; SilverKnit would be the better buy if you are only looking for a comprehensive stitch and garment design software program other than DAK.

    To have a garment design bundled with a stitch pattern design, you would need to look at DAK or another garment design software product with a separate stitch design program, some of which are explained further down this page.  Cochenille is a great example of this what I use.

                       

    What is great about this system however, is how many different file formats are supported.  The pattern types and variations that are supported are:

    Pattern formats: .PAT DesignaKnit, BPT Brother, BMP Windows, BitMaP, CST CompuStrick, CUT Passap Creation, PCX System 90 INTO SHAPE , STC St itch Painter pattern, STB Stitch Painter brush and DAT SR PC10 files, STP, TXT and STC Lace files in simple and full fashioned.

    Variations: Normal, Double Rows, Double Stitches, Upside Down, Negative Reversed, Chevron, Mirror, Reflection, Center Repeat, Wrap Carriage left, End Needles Width, Lace, Jacquard, Skip Stitch, Skip Stitch with Ribber, Fairisle Rib and most variations above can be combined.

    And you can preview the pattern before you download it into your carraige.

                      A YAHOO Group dedicated to this method of knitting:
                        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SilverKnit/


    Also, if you want to make your own designs or buy them, instead of using a mylar sheet, you do that on your computer in various different ways. You can use Paint, or GIMP or Win Crea or Knit Pat, which are all available for free via the internet, or you can buy software that works with SilverKnit. You then fill in dots on a screen, save them, and knit from them.  SilverKnit gives you options other than DAK and I think a cost that is much more palatable at around $500.  I would say for the price this is a very good alternative to other stitch design programs and a serious contender in the market place, especially over the PC10 at twice the price.
                                           ___________________

    SILVERKNIT also has a "Knitting Computer Emulator" the RKC1000e and it works like a knitting calculator like the old Brother CALCUKNIT Claculator but more, it works with your computer.  Always wanted to have a knitting calculator on your PC?   With RKC1000 Knitting Computer Emulator you have it all for about $100.

                         

    RKC1000E takes the time, tedium, the guesswork and inaccuracies out of charting both machine and hand knits. RKC1000E is simple to operate and always accurate. To chart garments, you feed your correct stitch and row gauge into RKC1000E. The next step is to feed the garment section by letter (G, for example, is an armhole or neck line shape). Follow by feeding in the garment section measurements. RKC1000E will convert your measurements to actual stitches and rows. Follow this with the width, in stitches, and the length, in rows, and RKC1000E will give you exact instructions, where to increase, decrease, etc. for your shapings. 
     
               



             
    Calcuknit has three functional settings; a standard Calculator setting, a Knit Calculator setting, where it computes all of your charting, and a counter setting, with a beep alarm when you reach the programmed number of rows.  There is 32 and 64 bit version  on Windows and you can try it before you buy it and it is FREE with the SILVERKNIT package.

    As of January 2012, you can get this software package at the following vendors and KIDOODLES has a lot more information about this software, so I would suggest visiting them first:

                                                  KIDOODLES

                                           The Knit Knack Shop

                                                   All Brands



    STUDIO/SINGER OPTIONS




     See Silver Reed

     

     OTHER KNITTING SOFTWARE

     

                                                                        COCHENILLE
                           GARMENT DESIGNER AND STITCH PAINTER


    Cochenille Knitting Software is a very robust software suite for machine or hand knitting and sewing.  It also has a stitch pattern module called Stitch Painter that integrates with their garment pattern software, like Design A Knit (DAK) and I think it has better garment styling options than DAK 7 Pro did, but with DAK8 I would call it even.  If you have Brother, TOYOTA or PASSAP knitting machines, this is definitely a contender amongst your knitting software options, also for any punch card machines.  With Silver Reed, Studio knitting machines, if you have purchased a knitting machine with an EC1, I would recommend comparing this software to DAK and SILVERKNIT before you make a decision on which knitting software you want to purchase, if any at all.  What I like about this program, is if you sew, and I have found that most knitters do, you can also make sewing patterns.  If you knit by hand, you can generate a pattern for hand knitting or machine knitting.  For instance, I like to hand knit my pockets on and the collars or other designs elements after I have knitted up the front, back and sleeves of the garment.  I use this and have sold my DAK Software and cables because I hated having to set up my computer every time I wanted to knit something, but I also do very preliminary design work so DAK was overkill for me.

                          
     
    The premise of the Garment Styler is that a user may choose a standard size to begin the design process. These include Women's 2-50, Men's 32-50, Children's and Infant's, sizes as well as several dolls and even some stuffed animals. Simply choose the menu, and slide up or down to the desired size. Or, if one prefers, he/she may enter one's own personal measurements and create a pattern that works with the shape of their body. Once you've chosen a style, you see a sloper of your body, in green on the screen. The pattern (in black) surrounds the sloper and with the grid feature turned on, one can quickly see how much ease is allowed in any given style.


        

    For further information, one can turn on the garment's dimensions and quickly see a schematic presentation of the garment. To build a garment, you simply choose amongst the numerous menu items in each of the sub design groups; body style, neckline, armhole, shoulder, and sleeve. This mix and match approach provides hundreds of thousands of combinations for the user to explore. In addition, you may add bands or ribs to the garment and the software will understand to remove them when charting a pattern piece.  You can also see a top and bottom together on one screen to see if the assemble will work and look the way you want it to.

    You can click and drag in this software.  You can easily move the points to customize the shaping of your body template that you are working with. In general, the best way to work is to find a combination of styles that gets you close to what you want, and then to click and drag the points around until you achieve the custom garment you want. You may click on any line and move that as well, plus you can see it's length and other info in the info window in the lower corner of the document.  Also, what you change on one side is copied on the other side, or mirrored, and this option can be on or off.

    What I loooooved about this product is the ability to fuse pieces together and knit an item sideways from sleeve to sleeve, or fuse any other garment pieces that I wanted, or opt to knit, for example, the sleeves as separate pieces.  This software also has a kimono sleeve option that I use all the time and with the click and drag option have the ability to modify them in any way I want.

    About sleeves, for me the hardest part of knitting, knitting it up and putting it together properly;  this software automatically adapts the armhole for your specific sleeve and sleeve cap, which is especially helpful when you tinker about with the cap of the sleeve and then also corrects any neck/collar dimensions.  So, this is a "smart" software program.

    Darts, you can add darts and the software will instruct proper short-rowing techniques, dependent on the dart and if you are using a cut and sew technique.  I know of no other knitting software program that does this, and if you have the patience to use darts it really makes a big difference in fit, especially for those who are busty.  Darts are an option on tops, skirts, pants and dresses.

                             COCHENILLE Design Studio Website Link

    Garment Styler allows one to print out knitting instructions (in a knitters cheat sheet format), which is ideal for machine knitters. It also allows you to print the pattern pieces in full scale as well as half and quarter scale. These are helpful for those who want to draw on the pattern and then use a knit leader/radar to shape the garment and apply intarsia, etc.  You may also purchase additional templates and download them into Garment Designer for even more flexibility.

    Once the design is finished all pertinent information can be saved, including yarn used, how much yarn, who it was for, stitch and row gauge and the ability to add your own information that you decide with custom boxes.

    Wen you do print your knitting and shaping instructions it is a line by line format, so it does take up a lot of paper, that is the one drawback for me.  I would rather it print out the instructions, line by line, but only when a change occurs, on the other hand people may like this option.

    This item is usually coupled with a product called Stitch Designer.  This fabulous design tool is specifically geared to the needs of textile and craft designers of all sorts and made to be user-friendly. Stitch Painter will open endless doors to your creativity, tailoring itself to any design goal that uses a grid, from weaving to needlepoint and cross-stitch to knits.

    Stitch Painter operates in a color grid world and everything is counted in stitches and rows. The grid may be setup as square or rectangular, and thus you can use the software for multiple textile arts. Various Plug-in modules customize Stitch Painter further for certain end uses such as stitchery, beading or intelligently importing and color reducing graphic images.   You may print directly from Stitch Painter or export in standard formats, thus allowing you to take imagery to publishing packages or other programs.

    Stitch Painter currently offers a Standard and a Gold version for Windows and MacIntosh computers. If you want to use any of Stitch Painter's Plug-In's, you will need the Gold version. People who need Symbols will also need the Gold version.  As with Garment Designer, you can purchase additional stitch patterns, download them into the software for even more variety.
          

    As of 2012, Garment Styler starts at price point of $199 with additional modules at a reasonable $25.  Stitch Painter runs $85 for the Standard package and $165 for the Gold version. Also, only the Gold version is Mac compatible.

    In Stitch Painter you can also have Grids which can be re-proportioned, scaled down, and/or taken to other applications via the clipboard or export function. Have Grid numbering in your print out, tools that measure in stitches and rows and count stitches of each color.  You can also export your stitch designs to DAK, S6 and PASSAP's Creation 6.  This stitch deign program can do anything and everything than any other stitch design software program can do.

    The future of Cochenille....

    Cochenille Garment Designer and  Stitch Painter will be growing in a modular way. Any feature that they add to the program that suits more than one craft, will be brought into the general program. Any feature that is craft specific will be brought into an add-on module that users may opt to own. so that you do not have to be bothered with options that have nothing to do with knitting. They have done this because it keeps cost down, allows the program to meet specific needs of the crafter and keeps the menu structure simple.  Please visit their website for more information about this very nice software suite.  The only small thing I would like to see is the ability to line out the garment directions as it would be easier for me to keep track of where I am when knitting as directions are line by line, and you read it from the bottom up rather than the top of the page down.

    I own this software package and really like it and while I have bought the stitch designer option I never use it, only because I do not design colored stitch designs instead I mainly hand tool Susan Guagliumi's designs or use pre-built ones from my EC1 and mylar sheets.  I would recommend the Garment Designer to anyone who already owns a stitch designing option such as an EC1, a Brother knitting machine, a punch card knitting machine or any knitting machine really.  I would consider this software a much better choice over Great Knit Designs due to its extensive garment patterning versatility and a contender to DAK, but you cannot use Cochenille to work interactively with your knitting machines and that is the only drawback.  With Cochenille you will need to print out the instructions or print out the garment patterns for your Knit Radar - Knit Leader.  At around $200 this is a real deal for this type of a robust garment designing software with a stitch pattern add on.  BUT, if you want to knit interactively DAK wins hands down over anything else in the market. 

    ISSUE WITH PROTECTION:  While I really love this software program and I understand the need to protect seat fees I HATE how they have changed the security with it.  Before 2012 you just needed a key code, now you must have a usb dongle and have it plugged into your computer AT ALL TIMES when using this software.  I hate it because it is small and can easily be lost, if you have pets who chew things up or kids who like to stick things in their mouths it will get damaged.  Since the dongle sticks out at least an inch from the usb plug it can break off easily!  If ANY of these things happen and you need a new dongle you need to buy another one at around $100!!  You would think with all the types of security systems available in the market to protect against piracy or seat fees (how many computers you can have the software installed on), they could have come up with a better option for the end user, the customer.  Hopefully, if enough people complain, they will change the way they protect their software.

    You can demo it before you buy it and COCHENILLE also has it's own Yahoo Group

      
                    
    GREAT KNIT DESIGNS
           KnitWear Basics, KnitWear Skirts & Shawls, KnitWear Sweaters

    Great Knit Designs makes a trio knitting software suite.  The "original" creator
    and software programmer of this really good software knew what she was doing.  The three modules are KnitWare Sweater Design, KnitWare Skirts and Shawls and KnitWare Basics.

    I emphasize "ORIGINAL CREATOR" because this software has been sold to another individual, Ada Lai, more about her later.  The Knitware Design program was created by Janet Tombu in 1991. A gifted and talented mathematician, systems analyst, and computer programmer, Janet was also an avid knitter. In creating KnitWare, she combined her technical expertise and love of knitting. In early 2006, after 15 years of making the KnitWare Software Suite successful, Janet retired and sold the business.  I had no issues dealing with Janet, she was always willing to help and was just a great person.

    WARNING:  The new owner, Ada Lai,  on the other hand, is pretty much the opposite and quite paranoid because she thinks everyone is trying to rip her off.  She is quite rude, obstinate and has no interest in anything that you have to say, she just assumes you are trying to steal from her and I have heard this consistently from many other people who have had run ins with her.  I just really have nothing positive to say about her and I have heard the same complaints that I have from others, so it is not just me. She also is delusional as she touted to put DAK and Sweater Wizard out of business with this software, but has yet to program any upgrades or fix the any current issues with the software.

    Also, the only way to get the software now is by downloading it  from her site.  Since that is the only way that you can get this software, remember to save your programs to a disc and NEVER lose your key codes.  If you do you will need to buy the software all over again. 
    There is NO technical supportSo, I am warning you ahead of time in case you need help of any kind, it is pretty much non existent.  I seriously doubt she will ever improve the software or fix any of the technical glitches it currently has.  Anything that has anything good to do with this software is due to the original creator and not the current owner, and I just hope that Ada Lai does not run it into the ground, as that would be a shame.

    TECHNICAL ISSUES:

    There are a few issues that I have had with this software.  One, the calculations for the sleeves are always too short, so I always add an inch or two. 

    The other issue, is if I do change the measurements in the template and save, they are not saved if you close and re-open your pattern.  Every time you make a change somewhere and save, you loose your other changes, which is a real pain but, you can make a custom size and give it a name. 

    Also, the hoodie option is a little strange, the hoodies for me, are never deep enough and if you widen or deepen the hoodie you have to fiddle with the neck calculations to get a correct fit, so that is a real pain also. 

    Another issue is that I cannot do a side to side knitting pattern for most if not all items and some patterns will not allow me to do a bottom up rather than top down approach.  It certainly will not tell you how to short row and in most instances you have to calculate the "magic formula" yourself. 

    With that being said, the software is still worth the $30 price tag, especially for someone new to machine knitting, or knitting at all.  If you do not like it, it is not much of a loss and you could always re-sell it.  I would not pay over $30 per module.

                               
    I do like this software package for many reasons one of which is cost, for more versatility I suggest COCHENILLE.  Each software module costs about $30, so for all three modules you have a great software package for under $100.  I would recommend only buying 2 of the 3, the sweater module and the skirts and shawls module, which means you are spending about $60.  The reason only those two is the "Basics" program has more doggy garments and is geared towards doll clothes.  So, unless you also want to knit those types of items, there really is no need to spend the additional $30.  This software is for hand knitters, machine knitters, and crochet artists and this software also gives you options on how you want to finish a garment - on the machine or by hand.

    For the most part, in all modules, you pick out a template to use, such as a sweater pullover or cardigan, then choose the type of sleeve that you want, if any and collar, if any, or a hoodie with additional options on length for the items.  You have different finishing options to choose from and if you want to finish by hand or on a machine.  You can knit from the top down, bottom up or side to side.  You also have some shaping options.  You have the option to choose which machine you want to knit on, such as a Silver Reed or Brother, from a drop down list and have the ability to save all pertinent information such as the yarn you used, how to wash it, who it was for, date created, the date you finished your item and more.  You can choose from the simple predetermined fit or choose to enter measurements for a custom fit, there is even an area for notes.  As you can see, it pretty much does it all except knit the test swatch for you, which you do need to do to get your gauge.  Measurement is in inches or centimeters and it will calculate how much yarn you will need for your project. 


    You have options when saving and printing the schematics and instructions.  You can save all schematics on one sheet or each garment piece on a separate page, this is also true for printing options.  You can print the schematics per piece of the pattern with either how many rows and stitches or actual measurements in inches/centimeters, or both.  You can print with or without grid lines.  You can also save custom measurements and custom patterns by the persons name or any other tag that will be printed.  The software programmer of this software suite was also smart enough to allow you to change different tension information if ribbing is used on your knitted item, as we all know you need to make a separate tension swatch for ribbing.


    What it cannot do is any custom point movements, the templates are what they are, you cannot create your own garment pattern as you must use the templates and there is no stitch designer for this program.  You would need to buy a stitch pattern program in addition to this garment styler and you cannot integrate the two.  You also cannot download the information to your knitting machine, so all shaping information is in the printed instructions, or you can read from screen.  There is no interactive knitting.

    BUT....


    This is just a smart and rather versatile software suite for the hand and machine knitter and at a very good price considering.


    About the different modules and what they can do in addition to the aforementioned options....

            

    KnitWare Sweater Design:

    -Lots of size options for a man, woman or child.
    -An option to knit the hem first or last.
    -Choose your knitting machine from about 15 models.
    -Choose how you will knit the body or hem, machine or by hand.
    -Multiple shoulder and sleeve styles.
    -Multiple collars and neckline options for the back and front.
    -Pullover or Cardigan option, with or without a hoodie (2 types).
    -Ease styles from very fitted to over-sized.
    -3 body shape options, straight - fitted waist - a line.
    -Lengths that start at the waist and go all the way down to your ankle, you can choose your hem style.
    -An area for notes, yarn information, name of item and who it is for, who is the designer.
    -A gauge information area with or without ribbing.
    -The ability to change finished dimensions.  Take not here as I find that the sleeves are very, very short and I always have to enter a longer sleeve dimension than the one that pops up.
                                      
    KnitWare Skirts & Shawls:
    -Options for skirts, shawls, blankets and ponchos.
    -Shawls can be square, shetland, triangle, ferose, round, rectangle, half circle and you can choose how many panels and what type of edging, with different size options in addition to the women's sizing.
    -Ponchos can be round, rectangles or triangles with different length options from about the waist to the ankle.  Ponchos can be open or closed.
    -Skirts can be as long as your ankle with options for the waist, hem, how many panels and you have 4 skirt types to choose from, straight, a-lines, flared, swing.
    -Afghans can be square, rectangle or circular with 9 sizes and different finishing techniques for your borders.

                                                          
    KnitWare Basics:

    -This also has a sweater option but it is a very basic one, better to get the sweater software if your focus with be sweaters.
    -Patterns for dolls.
    -Patterns for dog and other "critter" clothes.
    -There is also a skirt option in this module but a very basic one.
    -There is a dress option that the others do not have, but it is the same as a ankle length sweater/coat.
    -A pants option, and it is worth getting if you want to make knit pants but knit pants are not only hard to wear well, they are hard to clean without getting them all bent out of shape.

        ***I had this option but never used it so unless you are going to make clothes for dolls and animals I would not buy it.

                                                          

    I highly recommend this software to any beginner and to anyone before you decide on one of the more expensive machine knitting software suites.  At $30 a pop you really cannot go wrong, lets face it it, at that cost it is just about a weeks worth of coffee! You may just stay with this software package and not upgrade to a more expensive software suite as it very well could meet your needs nicely.  I used this for years before I upgraded to DAK and I still use it for simple items.  I could not find any screen shots of the software in play, but it is user friendly.

    Information about places to buy this software is below and just remember the
    modules are $30 - NOT $50 as some sites try to sell it for, and if you fall on a site that sells it for more do another search.  The places below do sell it for $30, 2 options for $57 all three options for $84:

             
    http://www.cara4webshopping.com/

             
    Great Knit Designs

             
    Knitting Today

    WARNING: This software runs on Windows XP with Service Pack 3 on 32 bit OS, or VISTA 32 bit only.  It does not run on any 64 bit version of Windows XP or VISTA.

     
                   KNITTING WIZARD SOFTWARE
              
               

    KNITTING WIZARD

    Sweater Wizard generates schematics and text directions for sweaters customized to the knitters specifications. Sweaters may be charted for flat or round knitting, using any gauge. The knitter can generate schematics for several sweaters in the same session and is only limited by the amount of RAM in the PC.  The diagram representing the schematic of the sweater is scaled to lengths and widths provided by the user, giving the user the general look of the proportion of the sweater.  Cost is $90, overpriced I think. 

    KNITTING MATH WIZARD

    Expressly designed to eliminate pattern reading stress, the Knitting Math Wizard eases the phobias of the "mathematically challenged" or relieves time consuming preparation.  Never be stymied by the lines "place button holes evenly" or "increase evenly across the row" - this software will work this out for you quickly and easily.  The Math Wizard will calculate increases, decreases, buttonholes, yardages, pattern placement and gauge Cost is $25, again overpriced I think as a $4 knitting ruler will do the same thing.

    STITCH & MOTIF MAKER WIZARD
    Stitch & Motif Maker V 3.0 is a program specifically developed for design stitch and color patterns for knitting. Whether you want to design your own motif or use an existing textured stitch, Stitch and Motif Maker allows you to draw in color or common knitter's symbols.  Cost is $90, over priced, better to get COCHENILLE if you want stitch and design software pakage.

    SOCK WIZARD
    Sock Wizard is based on the same easy to use interface as Sweater Wizard. Choose a shoe size, enter gauge and in minutes you are ready to start knitting. Knit from cuff to toe, or toe to cuff on the needles of your choice. Cost is $35.

    PRINT A GRID WIZARD

    Print-A-Grid was written with all crafters in mind and for anyone who just needs to print graph paper to custom specifications.  Cost is $15, can get downloads on the net for free.

    MITTEN  WIZARD
    Mitten Wizard tool has now graduated into a full program for both the PC and the Mac. It's new name is Mitten Glove Wizard. Cost $20, again can get info for free on the net.

    SWATCH  WIZARD
    Swatch Wizard calculates gauge accurately. It also has a database included to track your gauge swatches.  You will no longer fuss with counting stitches or rows between ruler ticks.  Cast-on the desired number of stitches, work the desired number of rows. Bind off, block and then measure. Enter the number of cast on stitches and the number of rows worked, and voila, an accurate gauge.  Cost is $10.

    I have not bought or used any of these software programs, so I do not have any recommendations but at $90 for the sweater module I think Great Knit Designs is a better bet at $30 and I do not know if this software line has options for machine knitting, it may not so you need to check.  I also cannot imagine that it is much different or has options above and beyond what Great Knit Designs Sweater Maker offers.  If you are looking for a package of garment and stitch design, take a serious look at COCHENILLE.

    You can buy this software here: 
    Knit Picks


                                         
                                    



                             SWEATER MAKER
                           
                                       Seedling Software / SweaterMaker.com

    This is very inexpensive, around $50, and for the money a fair garment  pattern maker within limitations. Please see the site for more information and do not be put off at the LOOOOOOONG conversation about Marta:  All the information about Marta is a very long explanation of how they went about creating it and why.  Just scroll down to almost the bottom of the page and you will have the pertinent information that you need, like how to buy it.  It is a fair starter software to try before you get into the more expensive stuff and it can run on Windows or a Mac.  This is a very basic knitting software option but it does the trick for shaping instructions if you do not already have something.

    Here is my explanation of how it works, I do own a copy and it has a 30-day money back guarantee.  Basically it is a software package that is designed to be read in layers.  If you had plastic paper, you would lay all the pages one on top of the other until you have a full sweater pattern.  It does work with built in patterns that you can modify somewhat by choosing your neck style, sleeve  style, body style, hem style and finally if you want a cardigan or a pullover.   You can only work with the templates as they are, you cannot modify them but you do have the option of custom fit.  You need to knit up a swatch and enter row and stitch information in order to get your gauge.  Choose from your options and then each page will contain a garment piece with the information needed for you to knit it, hence the layering description.
                            

    In addition to the per garment piece print out you will have the option of printing out a page with just written instructions.  All pages will give you the information that you need for it's garment piece such as bind off, shaping, holding, casting on and off.  If you print everything it will be about 8 - 10 pages of instruction with diagrams.

    What I like about it is that instructions are given when there is a change of some sort rather than a row by row explanation but with that being said would recommend Great Knit Designs over this software.


    __________________________

    ABOUT DAK (DESIGNaKNIT) SOFTWARE




    DAK is one of the most popular software packages available for machine knitting and design, and one option for the requirement of some sort of software when you purchase a Silver Reed/Studio knitting machine in order to do any patterning or stitch designs in the 800 series knitting machines, and it can cost up to an additional $1,000, above what you paid for your knitting machine, depending on what you need/want.  DAK is also compatible with PASSAP, Brother and Studio/Singer, Silver Reed knitting machines.  There is a learning curve and if you do not have a laptop, you will need to get one, so yet another expense.  There  are other options such as SILVERKNIT, a PC10 or if your machine came with an EC1, you can use that.  DAK can be used on a Mac despite the information that it cannot, I have seen in used on a Mac Laptop.

    DAK has seperate cabling system for each brand of machine and a UNIVERSAL CABLE that can be used with non electric machines that allowes you to connect DesignaKnit for use as a shaping device (like the Knit Leader or Knit Radar). This cable works on ANY knitting machine, even the plastic bed machines like the LK-150, KX-350, KH-400 and PASSAP Vario, etc. Connect the cable to you PC. The other end is velcro'd to the main bed. The magnet (provided) is attached to the carriage. The cable senses the magnet as it passes by on the carriage and forwards the pattern in DesignaKnit by one row. This cable is the key to making a simple knitting machine very sophisticated. If you have a number of knitting machines, purchase a supply of self-adhesive velcro and stick it on your machines. When you switch machines, just switch the cable and magnet over to the new machine.

    DAK is what is called a CAD system, meaning it is a powerfull Computer Aided Design software program that has been made to help you design, really just about anything on your computer rather than hand drawing or writing it, DAK is specific to machine knitting and with version 8 now having a module for hand knitters.  DAK allows you to do everything and anything when designing items with the components explained below.

                       

    GARMENT STYLING & ORIGINAL PATTERN DRAFTING
    :
    Open a garment template and then adjust it to your liking such as turning it into a vest, short or long sleeves, with or without a collar.   Enter you swatches gauge and DAK will figure out how many rows, stitches and when to and where to shape.  You can then modify the garment by opting for one of three different kinds of fit; casual, classic or oversize. You can change styling details such as rib or welt depth, overlap on cardigans and jackets; change the width and depth of the neckline; turn an ordinary set-in sleeve into a puffed sleeve etc...  For skirts you can choose what type of skirt to knit, how many panels in a skirt, alter the hem, curve or it's symmetry. 

    You can create a database with the measurements of your family and friends and/or customers and make custom fitting garments, that is if they will give you their measurements (LOL) and not have to measure someone again.  You can keep a certain garment pattern that can be used again and again if it becomes a favorite to someone.

    For custom pattern drafting you can use the Original Pattern Drafting option where you have a ton of tools at your fingertips to start a garment design from scratch or import an item from the standard templates available and modify it to your liking.  You can display the item in US measurements or metric, scale the piece, rotate, add seam allowance, fuse two or more pieces into one, try out pockets to see if you like them and more.  You can have up to 16 garment pieces at a time, you can cut pieces where you want to or fuse them together to accommodate a pattern piece to the width of your knitting machine, for example with belled or kimono sleeves. 

          

    You can decide on seam allowance, display measurements in numbers or stitches and rows, insert and remove fabric anywhere on the piece and measure in any way in any direction from one point or point to point.  These are just a few things that you can do as the possibilities are endless for your imagination.


    STITCH DESIGNER & GRAPHICS STUDIO:
    These tools in DAK are specific to designing stitches for the hand or machine knitter.  This is where you can design a stitch pattern, choose one of several printout formats, integrate the stitch pattern into the garment pieces and convert pieces ready for Cut-and-Sew knitting.  You can design in color, texture or both up to 800 stitches and over 1,000 rows.  You can draw your own designs with the pencil, paintbrushes, fill tools, color-replacer  and erasers, fill and outline rectangle and ellipse tools, use your own custom brushes, zoom in and out of your work, import graphics and check your pattern to make sure that you "can" knit it (we sometimes get carried away).  Color and texture can be seen at the same time to give you a real good idea what it will look like when knitted and this is great to see if your custom stitch pattern looks good when knitted or if you need to modify it.

    You can also check floats at any time during the design process making sure not to have too many or have floats that are too wide since they can catch on things.  I find this option important and useful as I can see the progress of my stitch patterns and it's floats at any time during the process, decide and designate how many floats are acceptable and then to make adjustments accordingly in real time, rather then finishing and then going back in to make changes.

    The BEST thing for me about this tool, is that I can place garment pieces next to each other that have a stitch pattern and make sure that the stitch pattern matches perfectly from one piece to another.  That way your garment, when finished, won't have 1/2 of the design cut off at a seam, instead you would have matched the stitch patterns at the seam so that the stitch patterns look seamless.  I love, love, love that, it makes my final knits looks so much better.


                               

    The DesignaKnit Graphics Studio is a sophisticated program within DesignaKnit for processing graphics files, whether original computer-generated art or scanned images to digital photographs, and rendering them as stitch patterns.  You can fine tune the image into stitch designs to include how many stitches and rows, have complete control over the color, the ability to grab the graphic anywhere and move it to any angle and look at it at any stage to see if you are managing floats and colors per row well.  Then you finally prepare it for knitting, either by hand, by machine, or interactively by machine.

                        

    Printing options can be in full color and actual size or you can scale the design and you can experiment for cut and sew techniques, another option before you start knitting and then cutting up your fabric.


    A LACE TOOL:
    The Lace Tool is a special add-on for Stitch Designer.  Click on the tool and you can draw lace patterns instantly, as they will look when knitted, leaving DesignaKnit to work out the lace carriage passes and settings.  You can design lace for Brother and Silver Reed electronic machines, Brother and Silver Reed punch card machines and Toyota Machines. The Lace Tool is great for hand-knitted patterns too as it allows the designer complete freedom.

    You can draw lace or fine lace stitch patterns, or mix the two together if your machine permits it.  You can create designs with lace and Fair Isle patterns to sit together on the same row, or next to each other on different rows and DAK will let you know when to use the lace carriage or the regular carriage or when to knit lace versus fine lace.  DAK can produce a punch card template for you to use with a blank punch card for punch card knitting machines, so no guessing.

    Which lace options and stitch mixing that are available are dependent on which knitting machine line you choose to purchase your knitting machine from.  Brother knitting machines offer different options than Silver Reed knitting machines, over TOYOTA machines, etc...

                            

    INTERACTIVE KNITTING:
    Knit from the COMPUTER SCREEN

    To knit interactively, you must have the correct cable system and a knitting machine that can accommodate this option, meaning electronic.  Needles to say this negates the need for a knit radar or knit leader and a row counter.  You can choose  instructions for swatch only, garment only or integrated Stitch Pattern and Garment Piece, have row by row instructions for shaping and color changes and you can have either a beep or an actual voice tell you what to do (it is a mechanical voice). In addition to the voice or beep options, which you can turn off, you have a row counter that counts down as you knit and your yarn colors are shown in the window that you are currently knitting, so you are sure to be knitting with the correct yarn color.  This software is compatible with automatic color changes also.

    You also watch your progress on screen so you see everything as it is being knitted in real time, and if you need to rip back, it will tell you how to do that also and where to pick up the pattern when you restart knitting.  Also, neckline shaping includes full instructions on how to reset for the second side, which is something that comes handy for me as I always forget something.

           


    As you can see this is a very robust software and it has a very tough learning curve, not too bad though it is user friendly once you know it, so I would encourage you to buy Cathie Sanders' DAK Tutorials at Northtipton as you can learn everything you need to know about DAK from these CD tutorials and learn interactively.  With Cathie's CD's you can open up two windows, one  with DAK and the other window having the tutorial and as the lessons progress you can follow along in your DAK window.  It is in my opinion the absolute best way to learn DAK and no book or any other type of lesson programs out there come even close to her CD tutorials.  She has also written almost 20 articles about this software program and I would consider her the most knowledgeable that I know of.                             
                              

    DAK also has a plug in that you can purchase from this site that allows you to use Paint Shop Pro to see designs;

                      http://store.dknits.com/cat_software1.cfm


    Paint Shop Pro (PSP) Plug-in for DESIGNaKNIT is available on CD or Diskette. The Paint Shop Pro Plug-In allows any version of Paint Shop Pro to read and open DESIGNaKNIT .PAT format files. Which ever version of DAK you own, the plug-in lets you open the .PAT files in PSP and use the powerful editing features of PSP to work on your design.  There is FREE LESSONS for this software plug in that Kathleen Kinder and Northtipton offer on the internet FOR FREE.  They are kind enough to post this information for anyone to learn from.  You can find it from the link below and purchase the PSP Plug In from Diane Bennett, her email address is on the first page if the link below.

                                 http://northtipton.com/psp.htm

    As with all software, I would encourage you to check out SoftBytes website for any software patches for the different cable systems or updates for the software.  Here is a link to thier site:

                                 http://www.softbyte.co.uk/intro.htm

    A WORD ON TECHNICAL SUPPORT:
    (2012) Technical support for this program in the USA comes from KnitKraft, they are the sole distributor for this software program in the USA.  The owner of KnitKraft is a very nice gentleman BUT the person who actually supports this software is very, very difficult to work with.  Since they have no competition in the area of support little can be done about the nasty disposition of the support person.  Unfortunately, you will just have to deal with her, her rudeness, and the limited support that "she" feels is appropriate.  If your interaction with her was as poor as mine I suggest that you complain to the owner of KnitKraft, maybe if enough people complain something will finally be done about it.
     
                                                  

    As of 2011 DAK has a new upgrade, DAK 8, where you can also purchase a separate hand knitting module, but you need to return all your original DAK discs, which I find very strange as software upgrades are never done this way.  I do not know why the process is this way and I have asked, but no explanation has been given to me.

    One of the many additional options with DAK 8 is that you can create stitches in Stitch Designer, save the file to the PC10 format and put it on your compact flash card.  Why you would have a PC10 when you already have DAK confuses me but, when you’ve saved the file to the compact flash card, you can then put the card into your Silver Reed PC10 device and have it send the pattern to your carriage.  Click on this link for a white paper on the new features for DAK 8.

    As a side note, Cathie Sanders wrote an interesting article about DAK and Cochenille Design Studio software, and if they can be used in tandem, this link will allow you to download the article for your reading:  DAK & COCHENILLE.  I have both software systems and like them both for different reasons.


    DAK will cost you about $500+ and the cable systems an additional $250 - $500 depending on which knitting machine you use, with the Lace Module at an additional $75. The Hand Knitting Module is bundles with DAKPro 8.  You will need some sort of lessons whether in person or with Cathie's DAK Tutorials if you are new to DAK, and Cathie's complete set is at an additional cost of around $120 but well worth it.

    This software suite by far is the most expensive but also the most versatile and robust knitting machine software on the market for serious hobbyists or fledgling designers.


                    


                MY EXPERIENCE WITH KNITTING SOFTWARE

    I owned DAK7Pro and did very much like the software program.  Did I need to spend over $1,000 on knitting software and cable systems?  Not really, I am not a designer and it is just a hobby for me.  Do I use DAK every time I knit?  No, I use Cochenille most of the time, as I do not always want to set up my computer system in order to knit.  Brother's have the stitch patterns built in.  Since I did not use DAK that much I actually sold the software and cables but, if you are a serious hobbyist and knit all the time, then I say go for it as you will probably use most of the options available, keep your computer set up at all times and the interactive knitting option in DAK is to die for.  If you are a designer, this software suite definitely gets a thumbs up.  Other "Designer" software programs out in the market start in the thousands rather than the $510 you would pay for a complete set of options from DAKPro 8 with the hand knitting module, the Lace option is at an additional $75.  From what I hear the upgrade is worth the additional $100 or so as there are more options in the garment designs section, but I have not used DAK8Pro, so I do not have an opinion either way.  Unless I become a Fashion Designer I do not see buying this again, as I now own only the Silver Reed 6.5mm Knitting Machine, the SK160 and the SR860 ribber and I have bought an EC1 for when I upgrade the carriage to the SK860, as the SK160 is a manual machine.
       
    For me right now, Cochenille seem to work great as I hand tool most of my designs, cables and such and cannot use stich pattern software as I do relief work.  I used to own a KR7 which allowed me to make complex shapes for my garments or even use sewing patterns but now I use Cochenille for pattern designing and the ability to make sewing patterns AND I do not need to set up my computer every time I want to knit, just to make the pattern.

    If you are new to machine knitting and/or already have an EC1 or a Brother Knitting Machine, I say start out with Great Knit Designs.  Get one of the three options available and I would recommend two of them:  KnitWare Sweaters and/or KnitWare Skirts & Shawls.  They might still have a try before you buy option that I believe generously allows you to do everything to include printing, but you cannot "save" a design or "save" custom fit data.  This is also a great option for any knitter with any brand and type of knitting machine (punch card - electric) in order to make garment patterns. For hand or machine knitters, with little to no computer experience, this software is very easy to learn and use.  As mentioned, Great Knit Designs also has a hand knitting option that is included in each module.  There is no technical support and you must run it on a Windows 32 bit XP or VISTA Platform, it will not work on a 64 bit platform.  It should cost you NO MORE than $30 for one module and you get a $3 discount if you buy 2 modules = $57. I am emphasizing the price becuase I have seen this sold on sites and on line stores for $50 per module which is $20 above the price on Great Knit Designs website and other online stores.  The only issue with GND, is that the sleeve patterning information makes the sleeves too short when knitted, so just pay attention to sleeve length and rows knitted.

    You should take a look at COCHENILLE's Garment Designer if you need/want the ability to start garment patterns and stitch designs from scratch in order to create your own custom designs, in addition to having templates to choose from and modify, and do not want to spend over $1,000.  At $200 this is a very viable option that can include stitch design integration with COCHENILLE's Stitch Painter at an additional $85 - $165.  This option is also a great one if you have an Artisan, PASSAP or TOYOTA knitting machine or a punch card knitting machine.  If you are also a sewer, this software package is also a sewing pattern maker at no additional cost, you just choose  the sewing or knitting instructions.  This software has extensive scaling abilities and I like Cochenille's options over any other for use with Knit Leaders or Knit Radars.  It has "Actual Size", 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/6, 1/8, 1/10 scaling, which means you can use ANY knit radar/leaders in the market, including the Silver Reed KR10/11/21 and Brother KL116 or Studio/Silver Reed KR7.

    If you are happy with an EC1 and PE1 in the Silver Reed/Studio line, use that, but if you run into issues and need to replace them, take a look at SILVERLINK at $500 before making a decision whether to replace your EC1 or get something new, like DAK.

    Anyway, that is what I would have done if I had to do it all over again.  I hope this information helps with your decision in a machine and software purchase.
      

     
       
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