Continuing my exploration of dedicated and general purpose software for use with my two great needlework passions – charted patterns suitable for counted thread embroidery (in specific – double running stitch) and knitting. Again I’m not testing one main feature of these programs – the ability to turn images including photos into needle-painted ready-to-stitch images. I don’t care about that feature, although it’s clearly the hook on which most of these programs hang their hat.
PC Stitch Pro v 9.01 by M&R Technologies
PROS: Standard features that one would expect – cross stitch, floss palette tied to major manufacturers offerings (in this case, in a companion program that allows color editing, but does not appear to allow one to mix across makers lines without direct finagling, or to blend colors – two features that Pattern Maker had). Includes back stitch, but not a separate straight stitch). Includes standard flipping/rotating/mirroring manipulations. Allows back stitch to be displayed in color. Allows printing pages with a selectable number of overlap columns so that navigation among multiple pages is easer. Allows auto-outlining of blocks of contiguous cross stitch with back stitch.
CONS: Selection is limited to rectangular areas (no free-form lasso), oddly called “select all” on the edit menu. The selection area can be resized as needed, and does select back stitches along with block units. Back stitch cannot be displayed with voids between individual stitches or by symbols that otherwise indicate beginning and ending of individual units. Back stitches can’t be right-click erased like cross stitches or erased using the eraser tool, they need to be individually clicked on and removed using a pop-up window.
KNITTING AND CROCHET SPECIFIC USE: Can be used for standard colorwork mappings, and true type fonts (including the same knitting font mentioned yesterday) can be substituted for the symbol set. Symbols can be displayed on a color background and more than one symbol can be assigned to the same color. You can also override the program to assign more than one color to the same symbol. Like all graphing solutions not specific to knitting, there is no artificial intelligenge programmed in that would prevent building impossible to knit stitch configurations (this is rare even in the knitting world). Could handle block unit diagrams for linear filet or multi-color tapestry crochet, but even if one had a pre-made font for crochet symbols, this isn’t well suited for stitch graphing.
VERDICT: Handy for cross stitch but unremarkable for my intended uses. I don’t like the interface with the separate floss management program, or the way selection is handled.