Knitting, The 21st Century Way

High Tech Knitting

One of the things I’ve noticed on my latest knitting project is that things have become somewhat high tech.

I get fed up with those row counters that you stick onto your needle. Mine always break or the mechanism loosens and I lose track of my rows! So I use a Knit Counter app on my iPhone. Can anyone recommend other sewing or knitting apps?

And as for my knitting pattern… I never got round to printing it off, so I just knit along to the download, using my iPad. I quite like not having a scruffy sheaf of paper to work from.

I don’t know. Is this all sacrilege to you, or do you also enjoy keeping things streamlined and high tech?

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51 Responses to Knitting, The 21st Century Way

  1. Sounds like how I work too – although sometimes I like to mark the pattern as I go. How do you do that?

  2. MarrieB says:

    Sticking my pattern in a plastic sheet protector is about as high tech as I get. I like to color and mark up my knitting patterns though (especially charted patterns), so printing them just works best for me. I haven’t tried my phone for row counting yet, but it sounds like a good idea!

  3. I’ve just started using my iPad if there’s just one size on the pattern. If there’s multiple sizes listed in the instructions, then I need the paper so I can highlight all the information.

  4. MrsSmith says:

    I use StitchMinder!

  5. Crystal says:

    I don’t knit, but I do sew this way for all my downloaded patterns and internet tutorials. It just seems silly to print instructions when I can open the PDF on my tablet and make notes and changes right in Adobe Acrobat.

  6. Meris says:

    I keep all of my digital patterns in a dropbox folder so I can access them from my iPhone and my computer. I’m a big sustainability geek so I try to avoid printing out a pattern (that mostly likely I will use only once). This strategy means I never lose my pattern.
    Some patterns have been complicated enough that I have printed them out, but this is the exception.
    I will have to give that row counter app a look. Thanks!

  7. you know I was just looking for something like this. how exciting.

    btw, a while back I mentioned the blog According to Matt, but since then his boyfriend Dennis, who is more of a knitter, has also started a blog, and whilst travelling the world on a cruiseship he creates some pretty neat stuff.

  8. Renay says:

    Just downloaded 3…thats right 3! knitting apps. Thanks for the tip. I like to do a bit of both. I print out the more complicated patterns and just read straight off the screen for the less complex. You look most happy and comfortable knitting on that couch there πŸ™‚ loving the colour of your cardi too…can’t wait to see the finished product!

  9. Bridget says:

    I use KnitCompanion on my ipad, it’s a bit pricey and there is a bit of a learning curve to using it but I think it’s worth it

  10. lloubb says:

    Ha, I often ponder the merits of high- and low- tech knitting while stitching πŸ™‚
    I have been using JKnitKite app. I don’t know that it counts stitches, but I like it for moving the highlighter bar around the pattern.

  11. sewbusylizzy says:

    I still print out my knitting pattern in case I want to scribble. I quite often use my iPhone & iPad to read my patterns.
    Ravelry is fantastic.
    I have been wondering about counting my rows – thank you for the link to the app!

  12. punkmik says:

    i stil,l print mine off because i sometimes meet with some ladies in a cafe and then it is easier to find my place between coffee, cake and chatting. But at home I do just use the pdf app on my phone :p

  13. komerci says:

    Yes. Knitting from PDF downloads is a bit of a habit too. Not sure if it is greener to print it off though given that I have to charge the battery.

    As for row counters I stick to pencil and paper at the other extreme of technology. A friend of mine has gone particular hi-tech and has whole spreadsheets worked out for conversion of whole types to suit the tension of here knitting; partly incentivised by having a partner who is 6’7” (old money) and no published pattern cater for this.

  14. I’ve never been able to cope with fiddling around with row counters (I spend half my time worrying whether I have clicked the row on, or missed it, or done it twice. My preferred method is to stick a marker in every 10 rows so I can see where I’ve got to.
    Like some of your other readers I prefer to have my pattern on paper so I can scrawl on it as required. Paper also makes the project more portable.

  15. chris says:

    This makes me wish I had an iphone and an ipad I spend hours in the cold study trawling for patterns and then lose the piece of paper that I am using to count the rows .lol

  16. Margot Lipsett says:

    She’s got an app for counting!

    Sent from my iPad

  17. Lauren says:

    I don’t think I’d have started knitting without technology. Following a pattern on my ipad means that if it contains something new or confusing, I can easily find a tutorial somewhere that explains things clearly enough for me. And I need things to be made explicitly clear, like arrows pointing to where the needle should go. I think otherwise I would’ve given up in despair after a few weeks.

  18. Sam says:

    I print out (or photocopy) knitting patterns as I like to make notes on them as I’m working. And I use a good old fashioned row counter. Actually on the cardigan I’m making at the moment I’m using a post it note and a pencil to count rows – couldn’t find a row counter that wasn’t in use!

  19. I’ve heard of a program n app combination called ‘Pattern File’ to keep track if your patterns on. And, here’s some iPhone/Android sewing apps here:

  20. suth2 says:

    I have used an app called Yarn Pro which lets you calculate whether you can substitute a yarn different to that suggested in the pattern. It works out how many balls you have to use. It is available in imperial and metric. There is also a gauge swatch calculator. Information at

  21. In principle I like the notion of using some form of technology (that I’m perhaps less likely to lose than a stray piece of paper) but in fact it would drive me nuts because it would be yet another piece of damn equipment I had to keep track of! I’m definitely old-fashioned: I tie a piece of yarn around the ballband (in case of needing to match at some future point and so I know what I used that yarn for, much the way I do with my sewing patterns) and I use the wrong side of the ballbands to write rows. It works for me so, as far as I’m concerned, that’s what matters. Gorgeous yarn you’re using there. Is that the Miette?

  22. I’ve only just finished my first ever knitted item from a proper professional pattern, and that was from a PDF on my iPad. With one small child and a six month baby in tow, my iPad is invaluable for searching for knitting tips and help (of which I need lots) as I can carry it with me, and open and shut it with ease. I do however always have my notebook with me, so I can take notes – so I guess I am combining both high and low tech. I will however be checking out the knitting apps, as anything that can help me remember where I am and what I’m doing is always helpful!

  23. Oh for an iPad! I use an app called County to remind me how many rows I’ve done – it’s very simple but effective. Knit Counter looks about 1,000 times better but I bet it won’t be available on Android *sobs*

  24. katlane12 says:

    I use a counter on my phone and love it. I’ve also recently started using my iPad for reading patterns. I find it so much easier to read them the having paper patterns.

  25. pictfamily says:

    I’m a big fan of the little counter on my phone, it means I can keep track when using dpns too πŸ™‚

  26. Sandy says:

    Oh I am SO old school….I don’t even do a print copy of a pattern! (Most of my patterns come from books…if it was online I’d obviously have to print it out first!) I write it out so I get to read through the pattern and know I’ll be able to do it! When it comes to counting rows I draw out grids of boxes to strike through. Hubby brought home a box full of yellow paper many years ago so I use that to write on….I’m still only on the 2nd ream!
    If I’m going to knit more than one of the pattern it gets written out in pen (I always initially write in pencil in case of mistakes!) so I can rub out my row marks and start again.
    Told you it was really old school. :oD

  27. shivani says:

    I still like to use pencil and paper – I do have a row counter, but always prefer to mark notches on my scrappy bit of paper. At the moment, however, my problem with knitting is that I lose interest in my projects when I’m very nearly finished. I wish there was an app for that…

    • Sandy says:

      Me too! My mind starts to wander to the next project and I usually find the last bit such a slog. I have a cable jumper that has 1 and 3/4 sleeves left to do, then there’s the collar for another……but ooh….more pretty yarns! LOL!

  28. I like to photocopy the pattern (or print out) and mark my size to follow on that which makes it harder for me to go wrong! I keep a pencil to hand and use that to mark rows done, and count in the old fashioned blocks of 5.
    New technology looks kind of appealing….

  29. Patty says:

    I download the patterns to DropBox so I have them if I’m using the iPad or the laptop.
    But I purchased the app knitCompanion, it does it all: row markers, stitich markers, counters.
    And I also have a simple counter on my iPhone that I use when I have the pattern
    memorized but just need help counting the rows, mostly when watching TV πŸ™‚

  30. Marie says:

    I use an app called Knitting Stash for counting rows etc. It probably has ways more functionality than that, but I’ve not had a good play with it yet!

  31. MrsAlex says:

    I print out and highlight if it’s a multi-sized pattern. And I used an Ablet (abacus bracelet ) to keep track of the rows. It’s firmly attached to me and my children can’t click away at it and make me lose count!

  32. I knit with my iPad too! I use the PDF app GoodReader, which allows me to mark it up which I love, like placing a line on a chart or making notes. The only thing I haven’t gotten used to is if I need to count rows because I apparently stubbornly refuse to give up my check mark system (because I’m usually counting when I have to keep track of 2 things at a time) so I’m sometimes going high and low tech at the same time…

  33. LinB says:

    Can’t stand to pay for all the minutes I’d have to leave the phone open, for an app. Also, screen keeps going black, so I’d have to drop yarn, unlock phone again, over and over. So, I use paper for pattern. Mostly I’m scribbling notes on margins of books, or using backs of outdated print-outs from work to do maths and diagrams of what stitches will go where, and how many stitches I’ll need. Don’t bother with counting rows much, unless its part of a complicated stitch. I use scraps of different-colored yarn as markers. I tend to use my body for measuring, as it is handy, and easier to drape onto than to measure and convert into stitches-per-inch. Am I pre-literate? possibly.

  34. sallie says:

    I think it sounds genius! I definitely don’t print directions for PDF patterns because I already feel like it wastes paper and ink.

  35. Cassy says:

    I love being able to work from the iPad and save paper instead of printing. If I find myself wanting to make a lot of notes or if the pattern is something I have to follow very closely line by line, I will print it in those cases. Maybe I’ll break myself of this and start attaching notes to the pdf on the iPad and never print again one of these days.

    If I’m not looking at the pattern on the iPad, I might be reading a book… That has been one of the most awesome things for me because my love of reading and knitting don’t have to compete. Stopping to turn paper pages slowed me down too much.

  36. LOVE using my iPad for both knitting and sewing (for pdf pattern instructions). It saves so much time, and so much paper! Plus, you can stand it up easily, so you don’t have to find something to lean the paper on…

  37. Roobeedoo says:

    I am a printer / copier. I need the comfort of 5-bar gates on paper!
    … and I don’t have any mobile technology, unless you count a very very old phone that can’t even receive an email!

  38. tracy says:

    I just put my pattern in a poly pocket with a scrap of scribbled paper! I’m a messy knitter!
    Love the colour of your wool, cant wait to see it finished

  39. Petra says:

    What a BEAUTIFUL photo! It’s anachronistic, with the best of both traditional and modern life.

  40. susew says:

    I photocopy my patterns and jot notes, but since I got my android phone a few months ago I found Knitting Row app useful for tracking rows- just tap the phone to advance the #. Took a few tries though to figure it out.

  41. I recently knitted a headband and I stuck to my old way- I write out the rows on an index card and then I move a paper clip from line to line. However, I just sewed some hanging towels and I learned a new trick- viewing the tutorial on my tablet instead of printing it out. The ink cartridges are pricy, so I will be saving money by not having to print everything out. I included a photo in the post where you can see the tablet being used on my work table. I never had portable technology until about 4 months ago, and I am loving it.

  42. You know, it’s funny: When it comes to my career (I’m a board-certified music therapist) I’m pro-technology and incorporate it into my clinical practice whenever possible. Honestly, though, one of the things I love about knitting is it gives me a chance to unplug and spend some low-tech time with family and friends while creating something beautiful with me hands.

  43. Pingback: knitted: Kalajoki Socks | a view into my world

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