Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mother of Invention

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Well, I think that is true.

I have a love hate relationship with the Design A Knit software program also known as DAK.


  • Original Shaping

  • Stitch Designer

  • Knit from Screen


  • the Copy protection that makes it difficult to move it between my computers and makes it impossible to install on a computer with no CD or diskette drive

  • the "life" system that makes me dependent on ONE person in the US in case of a life lost

  • the expense of the cables. I have many knitting machines and the cable expense for all of them runs into more than a thousand dollars

  • the fact that the software does not keep up with the times and has not had a new release in a very long time and every upgrade costs more and more money

I have become dependant on Original Shaping and the Knit from Screen function. I use these for almost everything I machine knit, and I would not be adverse to using it for my handknits. I have a computer that is pretty much dedicated to DAK. It really runs nothing else, so I don't have to worry about losing my DAK "life" from some innocent file cleanup.

Last summer I used DAK to design a little bolero top that I planned to knit on my LK150. It was based on a design from my favorite machine knitting magazine Knitwords. Of course, I planned to use a different yarn, and so a different stitch gauge and also a different machine with no automatic patterning meaning every single row has some sort of manual intervention.

I thought I would just knit the bolero from the Garment Notation print out of DAK. The top was to be knitted sideways with curved front edges so there was a lot of shaping involved. What makes this little bolero is the lacy stitch design. On the LK150, settings have to be changed manually on most rows to make the design.

Normally, I would color code the settings and changes as a stitch design, merge that with the garment design and knit from screen so with every row I could see what to do with each needle on each row. However, I do not have a DAK cable for the LK150 (which has no electronics or anything fancy). I also do not have my DAK enabled computer nearby so that I can see the screen and advance the knit from screen manually. (Advancing manually sounds hard but really is not that time consuming especially since the end result is what you designed.)

I gave this three attempts before giving up. I tried knitting it from the Garment Notation print out, but with pattern manipulations going on every row and shaping on many of them, I got too confused. I tried charting it in a spread sheet with the same result.

Fast forward to Christmas: My husband received a netbook computer - a small laptop with a small screen that does everything wirelessly. It has no CD or DVD drive and of course no diskette drive. It weighs just over two pounds and is ideal for traveling. And, it fits perfectly on the back of the table my LK150 is attached to. However, there is no way to install DAK on it without buying an external CD drive. These are expensive.

So, this got my wheels turning. How could I use the netbook to display the DAK screen from my DAK computer, preferably for free?
Windows Messenger to the rescue! Windows Messenger has many cool features. One of them is Application Sharing with Remote Control. Best of all it is FREE!

I set up an additional Windows Messenger account so I could message between the computers. Next, I shared my DAK session to the netbook and am able to advance the rows remotely with Knit from Screen. I tested this with a sweater which is the first I have ever knit for me on the LK150, and it worked fabulously. Next, I did an Intarsia Design on the LK150 and that also worked really well.

This setup is allowing me to knit things that I would not have tried before on my little simple machine. Maybe I will try that bolero again ....

1 comment:

Cindy said...

I tell you what, Liz. No technological glitch is going to hold you back! Subdue that nasty software and bend it to your will! Hurray!