How to Make Your Own Knitting Chart Online for Free
Now that I am making my own knitting patterns, I have found a few great online tools to help me make the charts and I wanted to share them with you all.
Option 1: Excel spreadsheets/Google Sheets
One way to make a knitting chart is to use Excel! This is a great option….if you already have Microsoft Office. I was lucky enough to get mine through school, otherwise it costs $150 for Office Home. So in my mind, this is an option “for free”. However if you do not have Excel, you can use Google Sheets for free!
Keep in mind that stitches are not perfectly square; they are more wide than they are tall. So if you make a chart using squares, the proportions are going to be way off. You could either figure out the dimensions according to your gauge, or use one that Jill Szalaj made over at her blog post. She had a free download for an Excel chart you can use! It’s what I have used for hand sketching out colored knit charts.
Keep in mind you will need a knitting font in order to have more complicated symbols. The “Knitter’s Symbols Fonts” by David Xenakis is available for free. I downloaded the “Knitter’s Symbols OpenType font for Macintosh”. The font download comes with a key on the symbols. To upload it to your computer so you can actual use it, click into the download, and click on “install font”. Then in your font book, drag the font name into “Windows Office Compatibility”. Here is a helpful YouTube video on how to install fonts in general.
Pros to this method:
- Can use offline from the internet (super nice at the cabin!)
- Undo and redo buttons
- Many symbol options depending on the font you us
Cons to this method:
- Excel costs money (Google Sheets is free but no knitting font)
- Need to know how to use Excel
- Must download a knitting font
Option 2: Chart Minder
Chart Minder is a free-to-use website for creating knitting charts. You can make a username, link to your Ravelry, and see other charts people have shared! There are so many cool features with this site! You can draw on the chart to create color designs rather than having to click on each stitch individually! You can have it displayed as stitches to see how it’ll look with the ‘v’ shape. You can generate color charts off of images you already have. You can show the dimensions to scale, so you can see how many inches your chart will take without having to do the math yourself. There are way more tools I haven’t even explored yet.
Pros to Chart Minder:
- Preset gauges for different yarn types (bulky, aran, etc)
- Custom gauges also possible
- Generate color charts by uploading images
- Final results look more sleek/professional
- Can download a stitch key based off your pattern and download your image
Cons to Chart Minder:
- Small variety of stitch types
- No undo/redo buttons
- Have to keep going back to your stitch palette to go from one stitch type to another, takes more time than using a knitting font
- Need internet, hard to work “off the grid”
- Cannot personalize the stitch key terms when downloading
How to Decide which option to use
I still haven’t decided which method I prefer, to be honest. I think it comes down to how skilled you are in using Excel. The advantage of the preset gauges in Chart Minder is huge though. Let me know in the comments how you make your charts and why you like one option over the other!