We quite often hear from people that they’ve lost their files, or they can’t open them again after exporting. We thought it might be useful to go through the various file types involved with Stitchmastery and some handy hints for saving, locating and using them.
These are your active working chart files. They can only be opened with the Stitchmastery software. When you save your first chart file you’ll be given the option to choose a location to save it to – you may find it useful to set up a specific folder on your Desktop or a folder with cloud sharing such as Dropbox or Google Drive, to save your files to. Stitchmastery will suggest your Documents folder and for future chart files, Stitchmastery will default to the folder you have chosen, but you can change the folder at the top of the Create chart file dialogue window any time you create a chart. If you have a file open, you can discover where it was created by hovering your cursor over the chart title within Stitchmastery – the location will appear above (demonstrated in the video below).
Opening .knt2 files
You can open a .knt2 file with Stitchmastery by double clicking on the file itself – if you haven’t set up a file association (procedure for your computer to follow every time it opens that file type) you might be asked to select a programme to use to open the file – search for Stitchmastery within that window to proceed.
If you have Stitchmastery open already, you can open .knt2s in several ways:
– Click File and then Open
– Click the open folder symbol on the top taskbar – you’ll spot it just under Edit/Diagram
– Use the keyboard shortcut for Open which is Control+O (on Windows & Linux) or Cmd+O (on Mac)
– Click File and select a recently opened file (listed at the bottom of that menu)
This video shows all three options in action on a Windows machine:
Recently opened files
You can change the number of recently opened files which appear at the bottom of your File menu. Click Tools (on Windows & Linux) or KnittingChartEditor (on Mac) in the menu bar and choose Preferences. Open Workspace options and you’ll be given the option to show between 0 and 15 recent items.
This video demonstrates this process on a Windows machine:
When you have completed a chart design, Stitchmastery gives you several options for saving it in other formats, to use with different programmes (eg to put the chart into your final pattern document/design). At the moment, you can save your chart, key, or both together in any of the following formats
– JPEG/JPG (short for Joint Photographic Experts Group – who developed the format)
– PNG (a Portable Network Graphic file)
– PDF (a Portable Document Format)
– SVG (short for Scalable Vector Graphics)
To export, click Diagram and then Export to Image. You will see several options to choose from. Just like when you save your .knt2 files, Stitchmastery gives you the option as to where to save your image files and this will default to the same folder you have saved your chart files. You can change this to a different folder if that would be convenient for you.
This video demonstrates how to select your chart, your key, or both and how to save them:
What are the different image file types used for – which should I choose?
It is important to consider what format your final pattern will be produced in – will you be printing paper copies or distributing it online? What programme will you use to produce your final pattern?
There is a difference in how each file type saves + presents the content. JPEG/JPG and PNG files use bitmaps and the content is plotted into fixed-size pixels. When you zoom in, the pixels are stretched outwards, so the image becomes grainy/distorted. Therefore JPEG/JPGs and PNGs are fine for paper copy and the save dialogue will give you the chance to set how many pixels wide your chart image should be (eg if you know you’ll be putting it on a sheet of A4 paper and want it to take up the full width minus set margins, you can search online for how many pixels wide A4 paper is, and choose an appropriate size). But they are not great for patterns shared online, because screens have different pixel widths from one device to the next, and people may want to zoom in and out while knitting your design.
SVG files save using vectors to explain where each dot/line should appear within the image boundaries. This means they can be scaled up and down without distoring – ie they still look sharp when zoomed in. Stitchmastery PDF exports also use SVG (although other PDF creators don’t use SVG so they are not always scalable). See the comparison below – the first image captures a zoomed in JPG while the second has a zoomed in PNG:
The programme you will use to create your final pattern also dictates what kind of image file you should export your chart as, because each programme can open a set range of file types. You may have to experiment with this – remember you can always open your .knt2 file in Stitchmastery and export the chart as a new type if you haven’t chosen the best option first time. We would generally suggest:
- use SVG if you will use OpenOffice/LibreOffice/the latest version of Word/Scribus
- use PDF if you will use Pages
- use SVG for Illustrator or Photoshop versions above 2015, and you can also use one of these programmes to convert your SVG to an AI file to use in InDesign
- for other programmes or older versions, use PNG or JPEG/JPG
Image files cannot be opened in Stitchmastery – it only runs .knt2 files. If you want to make a change to your chart, you need to open the .knt2 file and then save a new image file once you’ve made your changes.
This is your Stitchmastery user library, which contains any custom stitches you’ve made and your preferences for style choices. When you first start using Stitchmastery you’ll be prompted to give a destination for your Workspace folder (essentially a folder for your computer to use to save Stitchmastery specifications and log files), and that’s where your library should be found. If you are working with a tech editor they might need a copy of your library to ensure your charts still use the same symbols (it might be helpful to save your custom library a distinctive name!). You might also want to transfer it to another machine if you use Stitchmastery on more than one device.
To check where your user stitch library is: when you have Stitchmastery open, click Tools or Stitchmastery in the top menu bar, then Preferences. Make sure the Knitting Chart Editor menu in the left hand column is extended and chose Stitch Libraries. Click on User Libraries tab, select the user library you want to locate, then click Edit/View and a new window will open. Near the top you will see File: and then the address of your stitch library.
How to import a stitch library
If you want to import a new stitch library and someone has sent you their .smlib file, make sure you save it somewhere memorable (perhaps in your Workspace folder). Open Stitchmastery and click Tools/Stitchmastery and then Preferences. Make sure the Knitting Chart Editor menu in the left hand column is extended and click Stitch Libraries. Choose the User Libraries tab and click Import. Use the Browse button to locate the stitch library, which will have the file extension .smlib.
Searching for files on your machine
You can search your machine for files with the name you chose (if you can remember) or for all chart files by typing “.knt2” in your computer search function.
Windows – using Windows 7 and below click your Start menu (round blue icon on the task bar, normally at the bottom left of your screen) and you’ll find the search bar at the bottom. Using Windows 8 or above, when viewing your desktop, swipe to the bottom right of the screen to activate a tool bar which has a magnifying-glass icon at the top. Alternatively open a folder and you’ll see a search bar near the top right of the window – you may need to change the search location to This PC.
Mac – open Spotlight by clicking the magnifying glass icon in the upper-right corner of the menu bar, or press Command-Space from any app. Spotlight will appear at the front of your screen.
Remember to back-up your files
Everyone should assume, no matter what their level of technical experience and knowledge, that their computer will fail at some point. Should you ever have to start from scratch, you can always download Stitchmastery again (we will happily help if you need to be resent your activation code) but if your chart, image, and stitch library files are only saved in one place, locally on your computer, they could be lost permanently if your computer dies beyond repair. We would highly recommend you incorporate a system of backing up into your normal work routine. For example, you could choose to save all your files into a folder on Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud or some other cloud-based storage or on a memory card or external hard drive. Or you can set a routine of backing up all your files to an external hard drive on a regular basis. There is lots of advice available on the internet to help you decide what will work best for you. We would also highly advise that you hit save regularly when working on a chart, especially if it’s a large file.