The Bottom Line
For a free program, this is a good option for people who want to make charts for their own use and who have a good grasp of what the different symbols mean. I found it a little frustrating to use, but other people might not replicate the problems I had.
And even with the issues I had, I would probably still use this program to make simple charts for my own use.
- It's free.
- Easy to use for basic designs.
- Can easily transfer the chart to an image editing program.
- You can add custom cable patterns and colors for Fair Isle or intarsia.
- Shows a stitch count so you can ensure you're increasing and decreasing evenly across a row.
- I had trouble sometimes switching between symbols.
- I couldn't get tinking to work in the color mode.
- I couldn't get back to the design mode after switching to color mode without shutting down.
- The online and downloaded versions have different features and are better for different things.
- Design mode offers basic stitches, slipped stitches, bobbles, increases, decreases and cables.
- You can make your own symbols for cables by inputting how many stitches are slipped and worked and whether knit or purled.
- Color mode on the download version allows you to select different colors to apply to the chart for Fair Isle or intarsia.
- Outline mode on the download version allows you to outline a portion of the chart to indicate a pattern repeat.
- One-click design automatically moves the cursor to the next square for ease in converting written directions.
- A selection tool allows for copying stitches to be pasted elsewhere on the chart or to form a mirror image.
- Presentation mode on the online version shows you a key; use save key on the download version to copy key to a photo program.
Guide Review - Jacquie's Knitting Chart Maker
Many knitters with some experience knitting lace (or cables, for that matter) prefer to work from charts rather than written instructions. A chart illustrates what you're doing in your knitting and provides instructions in a much more succinct style than text can ever do.
But not all lace knitting patterns provide charts, which means if you really want a chart to work from you'll have to make your own. And if you want to make your own lace or eyelet (or cable) designs, it's much easier to do so by drawing a chart than trying to figure out what the design will look like from words.
You could take out some graph paper and draw your own chart by hand, but it's a lot easier to make a knitting chart using a computer program that allows you to quickly and easily change the position and type of increases and decreases you use to develop the exact pattern you want.
There are several of these sorts of programs available, ranging in price from free to more than $100. They vary in terms of capability as well.
One free option is the Knitting Chart Maker, ChartMagic, developed by Salt Lake City knitting blogger Jacquie. It's a Flash program that can be used online or downloaded to your computer (scroll down, link is on left-hand side under "Knitting Resources").
It's a quite powerful program that's fine for home knitters designing charts for their own use, but it doesn't have all the bells and whistles someone designing patterns for others to use might want.