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Handheld Knitting Tools


No knitting update today. I am getting perilously close to the armholes of my Onde top. Perhaps over the weekend I will achieve another victory.

What have I been doing instead of knitting lately? Well, I've been programming. What kind of programming have I been doing? I've been writing programs that work on these:

device-logo_tungsten-e.jpg       kyocera_7135_md.gif
Palm OS Handheld Devices

I actually carry the one on the right around with me all day (it's a Kyocera 7135) and I feel a little bit lost and unhappy when I don't have my trusted Palm around me remembering important things for me.

Now, why am I bringing this up on a knitting blog? Well, I have to do a programming project for my class that involves developing a brand-new application for one fo these little devices.

There are already a number of applications out there for knitting...

CountAble (which I already own) is a wonderful and flexible row counting/pattern interval counting tool -- perfect for when you're doing that complicated Starmore Aran.

The same company also makes KnitAble which contains both ways to database your knitting information as well as helpful conversion tools. I don't have this software because it didn't connect things exactly the way I wanted them, but it's still a nice piece of software.

So my question is this.... can you think of a nice, small piece of software for knitting that would be handy to have on a handheld? Ideally, programs for handhelds should be small and focused on one thing they are trying to do.

Any ideas? If you come up with a good one and I decide to implement it, there will definitely be a little something in it for you...

I don't know if Countable does this, but is there a way to keep track of increases and/or decreases.

I am not sure if Knitable also has an area to put a small wanted type section. What I am thinking is either an area where you put in
yarn weight - gauge - yardage needed and when you are shopping you would know how much you would need if you see the "perfect yarn" for the project. Or where you have the yarn you already have with the same info and then can look for patterns to fit it.

The last one would be a needle inventory but I think there is one of those in Knitable.

Very interesting idea, I have an old palm which I use mostly for games but tried the trial of Knitable. I will have to try Countable, too.

Have a nice weekend.

When I read this, the first thing that came to my mind was a suitable yarn substitution program. Not sure if this is small enough, or even do-able, but it would sure be cool!


You could write a yarn inventory database, sortable by weight, fibre and brand? A flat file database and some well-crafted SQL should sort that one out.

I do have KnitAble, and there are things about it that I wish could be different. It's pretty much the only thing out there, though...

For a project tracking app, the main things I'd be looking for would be a way to put all of my projects in (current and future) with due dates for gifts, or no date if they're just-for-fun projects. A status, so I could look at all of my in-progress projects and see what percentage done they are. A place to put in all the needle types I have and which ones are in use (this should be selected from within a project, so I don't have to go to two places to make a set of needles unavailable).

Different ways to categorize or sort the projects would be nice, as would the option of making just certain projects "secret" (to avoid having nosy spouses accidently finding out what their birthday gift is...)

Oh, I've got lots of ideas, but it's probably too much to put in your comments. :) I've thought about it quite a bit, because I've done Palm programming before, but since I don't have a class to motivate me, I'd rather spend the time knitting than writing a program for knitting! If you want other ideas, feel free to email me.

When I've been flirting with writing knitting programs (for either my handheld or my computer), I've thought along these lines:

A "create a sock" program. I have a basic sock pattern from some class I took somewhere that is plug in the numbers and you get a sock pattern (and do some math in there.) I've long thought that would be an easy program to write.

A "create a chart" program. Most charts are rather difficult to do on a computer (excel and a good knitting font are the best, but..). But, something with nice popups with the few symbols you'd use, etc.

A progress tracker. I have a bunch of baby items I'm working on, and I keep them in a spreadsheet. That would translate rather well to a palm program.

Boy, am I behind the times. I carry a little card around in my wallet with the needle sizes I already have. Palm? HAH!

Sorry. I'm being unhelpful. ;-)

My first thought was a needle inventory database but that's already been mentioned.

Not for knitting but for one of my VBA programming classes I wrote a simple cross stitch program that would convert the size of a cross stitch design into the right size fabric based on the stitch count etc.

I don't know the other programs and what they offer but if I'm out yarn shopping I'm forever unhappy when I don't know how much yarn to buy. So a database of projects and basic requirments, gauge, yarn amount, needle size would be useful for yarn shopping. I only use my memo pad on my palm to write down the info. Then it would be excellent to have a conversion tool so that if your pattern gives you yards and the ball label only has information in meters you could easily calculate yarn requirements. But maybe knitable already does all of that.

Just some ideas.

Some people like to track the amount of time spent on projects, so you could make a timing program. Also, a useful thing would be a knitting calculator so if you are in a store and not sure how much yarn to buy, you can put in the yarn weight, size, and type of pattern (basic, cabled, etc) and it would give you an estimate on yardage. I'd use that all the time.

I am still a basic knitter, and perhaps you all are way beyond this, but something that keeps track of type of yarn, gauge, and current tools so when you are out and about and a yarn/pattern sale strikes, you could whip out your little PDA, open the program, scan and viola! "I have (or need) this which is perfect for that. Charge it!"

How about a knitting sketchbook type program where you could make a schematic and/or graph of something you've seen you want to include as an intarsia design. Like, maybe you see a really neat drain cover or a fence rail pattern which would make a good cable design. That sort of thing.

Well, I could most definitely do with a Stash Manager : you could keep track of your skeins, with the number, the colour, the project they're intended for, the needle number, the gauge and so on...And of course, with the part of the house they're hidden in !!! So when you're looking for some suitable yarn for this wonderful cardigan, you know at a glance which one you could use. And if you're allowed to buy some yarn or not...And of course, you'd be able to know of many yards/kilograms of wool you've got...

I'm ample and have to adjust every pattern I find. I would LOVE to have a little program that when given specifics it spit out how much I needed for a project. Heck, it would be nice to store several "people" in the database. For example, I store measurements for brother. He is 4XL and tall 6'4" with long arms. I see a sweater for chest size 42 and sleeve length of yadda. I can feed the pattern stuff in and something figures that against my brother and it tells me how much more yarn I'll need.

Hi Theresa! I love my Tungsten E and take it everywhere with me. Right now I don't have any special fancy knitting programs, but I would love some sort of mini-database that would let me plug in all the requirements for a "future project" -- gauge, name of project, yardage, fiber type, etc... right now I have it on one big "memo" and its getting a little unwieldy. I'm sure an excel db would work, but it doesn't seem to behave the way I want it to on the palm. happy programming!

Well, I am a paper girl. I LOVE my Franklin, and I don't know if my suggestions will be lame or not, but I thought I'd put my voice out there. For some unknown reason, aside from keeping a needle inventory like many others, I have set up a chart to track how much I'm spending on knitting. I realize that not many women out there want to see that, but I have been extremely curious, so I'm tracking all knitting expenditures. Books, needles, yarn, patterns, etc., along with the date and project for which it was purchased.
Also, I am keeping track of completed projects, because sometimes I make and then give away things so fast, if enough time passes, (like a project or two), I will completely forget I made it.
I do not yet have, but would like a place to write down all patterns I come across that I want to knit at some point. I read so many magazines and books, I see great things and then forget about them. It could be divided into seasons. And it would definitely need a spot to record where that pattern is, and perhaps what yarn is needed for it. I liked the idea previously mentioned for keeping measurements of friends and family.
Another idea would be a calendar for knitting guild or club meetings.
How 'bout a wish list? I'm usually asked for birthday and Christmas gift ideas by my family and friends.
There. That's what a paper lover like me would want.
Great blog. Yours is one of the few I read daily.

I would like to add to the future project suggestion I posted above..... I frequently see patterns that I think would look great on people I know. It'd be great to record those findings for a future gift making reference.

Hi Theresa! I don't have a palm pilot so I don't know if this is even possible but how about a program that does the knitting maths for you? Say your have a pattern that calls for knitting worsted 5sts/inch on a #7-8 needle and you want to use sportweight at 6sts/inch on a #4-5. This would be really useful for me as I find lots of patterns I love in worsted/aran/bulky weight but living in Florida I prefer fingering/sport/DK weight sweaters! And I think it would have lots of apps for all knitters because I think we have all fallen in love with a pattern and not made it because it was not written in the gauge we prefer!
Hope this is helpful :) Good Luck!!

Hi. I think a fair isle designer graph would be perfect. Maybe have simple grafts already generated, then go further. Say you have a picture of your cat that you wanna knit. Scan the pic to your pc, then to your graph generator on your palm, voila! you have your kitty knitting graph. That way no bulky papers to carry just your trusty palm. Your pc program could do the main work & the palm would just be the carry along. This program could also keep up with row count so you never loose where you're at in the garment.


You you create a lace program. Have say 5 different lace patterns available, going from easy to very experienced right there on the palm. That way when someone wants to throw in some lace work into a creation they have a few patterns readily available to them to choose from. No hunting the books, or net just grab that trusty palm. Now not only for groceries, expenses, appointments, but my trusty knitting book too.

Hope this helps. Whatever you come up with I'm sure it will be great. If you need anyone to try it out LMK...

I am not sure really what these other programs do totally because I don't have any way to test them BUT what if you wrote a program that allowed you to graph a pattern, and then display the pattern back to you on your phone so instead of carrying like a lace chart or intarsia chart...you'd have your little graph in your palm. I'd use that! I hate carrying scraps of paper!

I used to use my three palm based hand helds religiously when I was working as a librarian, as a nurse, and teaching. I never touch them now. I did want to use Knitable, if only for the knitting needle database. I have a problem with buying duplicates of things I already own.
Is there a "desktop" one uses to enter the information? I would never spend the time to put all the needle information in the handheld directly....If I could enter it in the Desktop computer and then sync it......That would be great! Also, being a computer geek, I would want it to be able to use it with windows and Mac.

how about a gauge conversion program. im always having to bust out paper and a calc to do it. I usually cant afford the yarn called for in a pattern so i always end up rewriting the gague to fit mine. I know i would use a program like that a lot.

I use a long-tail cast on most of the time, and it drives me nuts to try to figure out how long of a tail I'm gonna need. If you wrote an application that would allow me to plug in, say, needle size and number of stitches to be cast on (maybe yarn weight too? don't know if that would factor in), which would give me the length of long tail I need, I would go out and buy a programmable handheld in order to use it! :)

I'd love something for creating charts - for regular knitting, and for fair isle and intarsia. Perhaps something that could allow you to create the chart and then while you're working, show where you are on the chart (like highlighting it and then marking it off, so it'd be easy to visualize)

What an incredible bunch of ideas. Get on 'em, willya Theresa? I think you'll be programming until 2040 with this shopping list.

I love my Palm but haven't got any knitting software for it. Yet. It all sounds very cool.

And PS Very cool that you know how to do this stuff. Programming seems like magic to me.

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