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If you’re a crafter — someone who sews, knits, or crochets — you might be surprised to learn that there are things your Android device can help you with. This round-up of apps brings together tools and resources to make crafting easier and teach you new techniques.
If you knit or crochet, you’re likely to find the Knit and Crochet Buddy app very useful. It combines informational resources along with handy tools and calculators. You’ll find quick references to tables of important knitting and crocheting standards, terminology and abbreviations for understanding patterns, and sizes for producing items like socks.
The Knit and Crochet Buddy also gives you quick access to a ruler and flashlight, right there on your smartphone. You can keep records of the knitting and crocheting projects you’ve started, and an inventory of your supplies like knitting needles and crochet hooks.
If you’re a quilter, the Quilting Calculator by Robert Kaufman Fabrics is a suite of measurement calculators just for you, in both imperial and metric. It integrates measurement and calculation instructions for a variety of steps in the quilting process. You can find out how many fixed-size pieces can be cut out of a larger piece of fabric, how much fabric you need for the border of your quilt, or the key dimensions for a square-in-a-square block in your quilt.
A couple of small warnings: I advise that you read the instructions of how each function of the calculator works before you use it, because many of them assume certain things about your measurements for you, such as 1/4 inch seam allowances. Otherwise, you may find that you need to be patient when you use it — at times it wasn’t as responsive as I was expecting, and it splits the input information from the output information across two screens, which was a bit annoying. On the whole though, a useful little piece for quick answers to your common quilting math.
Need to keep track of knitting rows, or count anything else? The wonderfully simple Stitch Counter app could be exactly what you need. When you first open it, you’ll see a pink 0. Tap your screen on the right side and it will increase by one, tap on the left to decrease by one. Hit the menu button and you’ll see options to add a counter, reset, or edit the counter. When you edit a counter, you can give it a name, change the colour, change the rate of increment, and change the starting number.
If you’re worried about accidentally tapping on the wrong side then you may want to try TallyBee instead (which makes you set a counter to either increase or decrease). I prefer Stitch Counter though for two reasons: it’s more attractive to me, and it’s doesn’t require any special permissions; TallyBee, on the other hand, requires four, and I honestly can’t imagine why.
Digital Resources for Sewists
Before I conclude, I want to address a large, obvious area of crafting that I haven’t found any Android app worth recommending for: sewing. At the time of writing this article, there was one common thread through all of the relevant apps that may be useful and of interest to people who sew: they were either extremely simple with limited information not worth recommending, or they were video repositories.
I have nothing against the videos themselves — they were high quality and very informative. But you shouldn’t have to download an app that just shows a list of videos with no notable organization or curation when you could just go straight to the site that houses the videos and run a search.
So, my final tip of this article, for aspiring seamstresses especially, is to take a look at Howcast for sewing instructions (or whatever you’re looking to learn). We’ve written about Howcast before, and it’s still a fantastic resource. The sewing videos as far as I’ve seen were always fantastic: high quality, good lighting, shown from the relevant angles, with speakers who explained the techniques with just the right amount of detail.
Here’s a great How to Sew guide from Howcast to get you started. When Howcast doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you can always fall back on Youtube and you’re likely to find instructions for what you’re looking for. There are also lots of other money-saving things you can learn to make on Youtube besides just sewing, of course.
What Do You Find Most Helpful?
Especially if you’re just getting started in crafting, you’re likely to begin projects and then find a technique in the instructions you don’t know quite how to do, and that’s one of the biggest benefits to having your smartphone with you while you craft.
Are there any crafting techniques or pieces of information that you find yourself often opening a book to remember? What websites do you frequent to learn more about your craft or find community? If you could design an app that would help out a sewist, what would it be like? Let us know in the comments — maybe an app developer will see it someday and make it happen!