August Designer Newsletter: 10 Apps to Help Streamline Your Design Workflow

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Hello everyone! The heat and humidity have finally arrived in my neck of the woods, and I can’t be the only one looking forward to cooler days and wooly hand knits. I make no apologies – I am a well-known lover of winter and am not built for temperatures over 25 celsius!

My August Designer Newsletter went out earlier today, and this month I shared some of my favourite apps that help me keep all areas of my business running smoothly. From photography and graphics to productivity and organization, these are 10 apps that I love and use regularly (there are even a couple that are knitting-specific). No sponsorships here, just my genuine stamp of approval.

(Not on my mailing list? Be sure to sign up here to avoid missing out on future newsletters!)

And as always, I’ve included my tech editing availability for the coming month. I’m taking a few days off in August, but I still have lots of spots available throughout the month. Get in touch soon if you’ve got a pattern nearly ready for editing!


10 Apps to Help Streamline Your Design Workflow

1. Buffer

What it is: Buffer is a social media management platform. It allows you to connect various social media accounts, post from all of them in one place, and analyze your posts’ performance.

How I use it: I mainly use Buffer for scheduling Instagram posts – when I have a pattern release or test knit coming up, I’ll plan out a few posts at once and then “buffer” them so they go out when I want them to.

While I do like posting to Instagram a little more organically most of the time, I find that a social media management platform like Buffer works well for planning my marketing posts.

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2. Linktree

What it isLinktree is an application that allows you to add more than one link to your Instagram profile. It’s essentially a mobile-friendly landing page where you can add as many links as you like.

How I use it: I find Linktree very helpful for making sure my followers can always find the information they need about the different areas of my business. This way when I am promoting a new pattern, for example, followers can still find my technical editing services, newsletter signup link, etc. directly from my profile.

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3. Yarnpond

What it isYarnpond is a brand new platform for managing the test knitting process. It allows you to publish testing calls (publicly or only to your preferred testers), review and accept/reject applications, set testing milestones, collect pattern feedback, and rate and review test knitters (a huge bonus for those of us who have been burned by unreliable test knitters in the past).

How I use it: I have only used Yarnpond for running a couple of test knits so far, but I definitely this it has the potential to be a great tool. Running test knits can be frustrating at times, so when I heard about Yarnpond, I knew I had to try it. The platform is brand new, so it’s still growing and there are still a few kinks to be worked out, but I think it has the potential to be an indispensable part of my test knitting process. The more people to register, give it a try, and submit feedback to the developers, the better it will become!

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4. Canva

What it is: Canva is a web-based graphic design tool.

How I use it: Canva is one of the applications I use the most. I use it create all my graphics and collages. You can use your own dimensions, but Canva also has lots of templates for different types of social media posts to help ensure your graphics are the right size and resolution for what you’re using them for. It’s also great for helping you keep your graphics consistent – you can simply copy previous graphics and modify them!

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5. Trello

What it is: Trello is a project management application. It’s difficult for me to explain what Trello actually *is* in just a few short sentences, so I recommend you have a quick look at their tour here: https://trello.com/tour

How I use it: Trello has completely changed the way I work (for the better). I use Trello to plan my work day/week, to capture and organize all my repetitive and non-repetitive tasks, and to manage creative projects. I have checklist templates for repetitive tasks that I can copy and use over and over again so that when I do something like tech edit a pattern, I never forget any steps (see photo below).

And Trello is not only great for business. I use it for organizing home projects and tasks, too!

(If you’re familiar with David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” time-management method, you might recognize the contexts I have added to the tasks in my templates. If you’re not familiar with this method, I highly recommend reading Allen’s life-changing book.)

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6. Inkscape

What it is: Inkscape is a free, open source professional vector graphics editor.

How I use it: I use it for creating schematics for my own patterns and also for my tech editing clients. Inkscape can be a bit overwhelming when you’re starting out – it’s very powerful and I only use a small fraction of the features for my schematics. For an overview of the basic features you’ll use to create schematics, I recommend this tutorial from Joeli Creates.

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7. knitCompanion

What it is: knitCompanion is a mobile app that helps you track rows and counters while you are knitting, including for instructions that are worked simultaneously.

How I use it: knitCompanion is indispensable when knitting from large charts, but how does it help the design process? When it comes to designing and tech editing, I like to put charts into knitCompanion to more easily check the line-by-line written instructions against the charts without losing my place.

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8. Stitchmastery

What it is: Stitchmastery is knitting chart software. It allows you to create charts and generate matching written instructions, or even enter written instructions and generate charts!

How I use it: I use Stitchmastery for the charts in all my patterns. I also sometimes create charts for my tech editing clients based on their hand-drawn charts or written instructions. When tech editing a pattern, if I’m having trouble with a particular stitch pattern, I’ll often plug it into Stitchmastery to help me visualize things and determine where the issue is.

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9. AirServer Connect

What it is: AirServer is a screen mirroring receiver for Mac and PC. It allows you to receive AirPlay and Google Cast streams, similar to an Apple TV or a Chromecast device.

How I use it: I do all my own pattern photography using just my iPhone, a tripod, and a shutter switch. AirServer allows me to mirror my iPhone screen to the monitor of my Macbook Air, allowing me to see how my photos look on a big screen when I’m in front of the camera. This is extremely helpful as it allows me to direct my own photography in a way – I can see how my pose looks and adjust my body and the knitwear without needing someone behind the camera looking at my iPhone screen!

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10. BeFocused

What it is: BeFocused is a focus timer app (available for iPhone and macOS) based on the Pomodoro time management method. The idea is to divide your workday into highly focused 25-minute segments separated by short breaks in an effort to increase productivity.

How I use it: I use the BeFocused app to keep track of my “pomodoros”. It keeps track of how many time chunks I’ve completed and prompts me to take breaks in between. It’s great for completing those dreaded tasks you keep putting off. Just start your timer, put your head down, and bang out 25 minutes of that task you’ve been avoiding! This is another one I use for personal tasks – you’d be surprised how much house cleaning you can get done in 25 focused minutes!

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As mentioned above, none of these are sponsored endorsements. All of these applications are ones I personally use (some of which I’m not sure how I’d live without at this point). Hopefully, I’ve helped you discover your new favourite tool!


I have the following tech editing spaces remaining for August:

August 6th – 10th: 3 spaces
August 13th – 17th: 5 spaces
August 20th – 24th: 5 spaces
August 27th – 31st: 7 spaces

Fill out the form here or send me an email at allison (at) kniterations (dot) ca if you’d like to reserve a spot!

Best,

– Allison

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