The Ultimate Enabler

My fiancé Chris is a tech geek and both of us are completely hooked on Apple products. Naturally, when the iPad debuted last year, Chris was an early adopter. I was a little scared by the price, so I decided that it was a piece of technology I could do without. This year, when the iPad 2 was released, Chris decided to upgrade which meant that I inherited his old iPad. I figured I would use it for reading and maybe a little Internet surfing here and there. Boy did I underestimate what I would be using it for. Not only do I read on it, but it is my go to for quick Internet searching and Facebook and Twitter updates. Also, we have a tethering package on our phone plan so I can hook up to it even when we aren't picking up wifi. I love it! But here is where it gets totally awesome. On top of all the stuff I have already mentioned, I now use it almost exclusively for knitting patterns. It has allowed me to go paperless which is great for the environment as well as for me since I don't own a printer. When Chris gave me his iPad, I also inherited all his apps including a PDF reader and editor called iAnnotate PDF. It costs $9.99 which is a little pricey, but it is totally worth it. Chris suggested that I import all my knitting patterns into it, which I did, and they showed up organized in the same way that they are on my computer.

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That was useful in itself, but then I learned how to edit patterns within the app, and save the edited copy back on my computer. This meant that I could save the original unedited pattern, as well as an additional copy with all my notes and any changes that I made while actually knitting the object. Here is the Seeta fingerless mitts that I recently knit with all my notes and changes in pink.

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After I started using iAnnotate PDF to take notes on my patterns I was ready to give up paper completely EXCEPT... I was worried about charts. How, I wondered, was I supposed to keep track of my place in a chart without a chart reader in some form or another? Well, it turns out that iAnnotate has a solution for this too! There are several edit options when you hold a finger down on the screen while in a PDF. One of them is "draw" and after selecting it, choose the "line" option and you can use a finger to draw a straight line across the page. Then change the width to approximately the same as a row on the chart and choose whatever color strikes your fancy. Voila! A chart reader! The bar is completely adjustable and you can move it up as you go, or back down if you have to go back a few rows. In the photo of the Traveling Woman shawl (the free version) below, I have put a solid blue bar across chart A indicating that I am on row 7 and a transparent purple bar across chart B indicating that I am on row 12.

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I particularly like the transparent option because on a complicated lace chart I will use the purl row to check my work. This allows me to see what the stitches on the previous row were supposed to be without the possibility of losing my place or the annoyance of constantly moving a bar around. As you can see, you no longer have a need to print patterns or buy a chart reader which I think cancels out the initial cost of the app!

Ok, so I know this entire post sounds like one big plug for Apple, and I will freely admit that I am kind of an Apple junkie. But the thing is, I love anything that works well and simplifies my life, which this device undoubtably does. Never again will I lose half my paper pattern somewhere, or run out the door and leave it sitting on the couch. As long as my iPad is with me then I have every single digital pattern I own, and the ability to download any that I don't. Let's just call my iPad (which we have affectionately nicknamed PaddlyUnraveled) the ultimate enabler. You know you want one...