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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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, 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.
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. This item uses 1/2 patterns that are 1/2 scale on the SK560 machine and is built into that machine, as is the EC1.
I sold my KR7 as I use COCHENILLE DESIGN STUDIO SOFTWARE and hand tool most of my stitch patterns. I do miss it and regret selling it as I bought it new, but I will 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.
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 actually own this and a SK860 mid guage and is all I use for stitch patterns, I also have Cochenille Design Studio Garment Patterning software.
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. You have the ability to double the pattern in height and length but I also think it is MUCH MORE VERSATILE than the pattern system in the Brother machine.
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 LES.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
OTHER KNITTING SOFTWARE
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 support. So, 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.
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.
-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:
Great Knit Designs
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
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 package.
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 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 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.
There is also a "HAT WIZARD and MITTEN WIZARD".
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.
Garment Pattern Systems & Software
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The following section has information about software to help with stitch or garment design. There is a lot out there and even more I am sure will come into the market as technology consistently changes and demand for this type of product at an affordable price continues to grow. I have separate DAK ~ Design A Knit ~ software and COCHENILLE into their own section as to me they are the most robust and comparable in a lot of ways. The cost differential is significant between the two and worth the read.
My Experience with Knitting Software
I owned DAK7Pro and did very much like the software program. Did I need to spend over $1,500 on knitting software and cable systems? Not really. Did I use DAK every time I knitted? No, I used Cochenille most of the time, as I did 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 what you would pay for a complete set of options from DAKPro 8 with the hand knitting module and Lace option.
Unless I start selling my knitting or become a Fashion Designer I do not see buying this again, as I now own only 1 machine; the Silver Reed 6.5mm Knitting Machine, the SK160 and the SR860 ribber the EC1, the upgrade SK860 carriage, as well as the after market coupler arm for the SK160 manual machine to be able to use it with the ribber.
For me right now, Cochenille seems 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. I have delved into the area of fashion design and pattern making and Cochenille works great for both sewing and knitting, as both options are included in the one software package.
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 around $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. 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 also sew, 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 and below is an explanation of each one I know of on the market.
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