The hardest part about getting a knitting project off the ground is, firstly, knowing how to knit (especially if you’re left-handed and your mum would really prefer that, like her, you were right-handed for this lesson). Second-hardest is finding a pattern that isn’t heinous – one that results in an end product that you’d actually like to wear and doesn’t need altering.
This conundrum, mixed with the realisation that it really shouldn’t be that hard to find a nice, normal sweater pattern, is why Megan Elizabeth founded Bellish.
“It takes so long to write a knitting pattern, even the most modern ones are two or three years out of date. It’s hard to find one that feels like it’s current season,” Elizabeth says.
"Technology’s at a point where that can be free and readily available to everyone. So rather than spending countless hours finding a pattern and knit it with confidence, you can have this personalised experience.”
The app has been downloaded 55,000 times since it launched in February.
Bellish is the app equivalent of someone patiently explaining how to knit, purl, knit, purl a sweater, while also providing the customised sweater (or beanie) pattern.
Pick your base, then choose your embellishment (would you like a mock neck with that?), yarn weight (the thickness of your wool), size, colour and voila – you’ve got a one-of-a-kind knitting pattern tailored to your own tastes and loungewear needs.
That’s one of the best parts about Bellish – bypassing the gross, and reaching the gorgeous in a few simple clicks. All too often I’ve found a knitting pattern I like, but it’s slightly wrong – the neck not turtle-y enough, the sleeves too ribbed. The anxiety that comes with slightly altering the pattern and subsequent high probability that something will go awry is not worth the hassle.
At its most helpful and vital, Bellish does all the addition, multiplication and dividing required for you to design and knit your sweater. Once you’ve started, you can track your knitting and make use of row counters and highlighters – you’re never left in the lurch. As Elizabeth reminds us, it takes 50 to 60 hours to knit a sweater; you don’t want to spend that time also finding the right pattern, tweaking it and dealing with the fallout from your dodgy maths.
Bellish is currently only compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch with iOS 10.0 or later, but Android users can sign up to the waitlist here.
The app’s weekly newsletter also provides a trove of tutorials and new sweater features. Kids’ designs and different sweater options will drop in the coming months.
So, go on. Get knitting.
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