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Sconcho version 0.1 Manual

Author: Markus Dittrich (last updated 04/10/2012)

About Sconcho:

Sconcho is a tool for designing publication quality knitting charts. Sconcho comes with a large number of included knitting symbols and it is very easy to create your own. Knitting charts can be saved in a platform independent format as sconcho project files (spf) which can be opened and edited at a later time. Charts can be exported into a variety of image (jpg, png, tif, etc.) and document formats (pdf, post-script on Linux and Mac OSX) or printed to a printer.

Contents of this manual:

Starting a new Project

At start-up, sconcho by default presents a pattern grid with 10 rows and 10 columns. This initial grid size can be easily changed by

  • starting a new project (File -> New) and specifying the intended size in the New Pattern Grid dialog.
  • adding/removing the desired number of rows and columns (see Inserting and Deleting Columns and Rows).

Adding Symbols to Pattern Grid

You can create your chart by adding symbols to the pattern grid. This is done via selecting grid cells by:

  • Clicking on cells individually
  • Shift + right mouse clicking and then dragging the mouse across the pattern grid will activate the Rubberband Tool. Upon releasing the mouse button, all grid cells in the area covered by the rubberband will either be selected or un-selected based on their previous state. If there is a knitting symbol active it will be placed immediately into the selection assuming it (or multiples of it) fits.
  • Shift + right mouse clicking adjacent to the left/right or top/bottom edge of the pattern grid will select/unselect all cells in the adjacent row or column based on each grid cell's previous state. If there is an active knitting symbol it will be placed into the selection if it fits.

What happens after you select grid cells depends on if you currently have an active knitting symbol selected or not. Without an active knitting symbol cells will turn gray and a knitting symbol will be inserted into all currently selected cells once you pick one (assuming the symbol or multiples of it fit properly into the selection). If you already have an active knitting symbol selected it will be inserted immediately into your selection if it fits (e.g. a three stitch cable can not be added to a single selected cell; a multiple of three adjacent cells would have to be selected). Clicking on (or otherwise picking) already selected cells will un-select them again. You can deselect all currently selected cells by going to Tools -> Deselect All.

The currently active knitting symbol can be selected from the list of available categories and symbols on the right. The currently active symbol (including its background color) is shown in the Active Symbol Tool above the canvas on the left. If no symbol is selected, the Active Symbol Tool displays No Active Symbol.

To simplify replacing or changing existing symbols on your chart you can select all pattern grid cells of a certain color or containing a certain symbol in one swoop by right mouse clicking on a cell with the desired color/symbol and then choosing the proper option in the selector menu.

Copy and Pasting a Selection

You can copy and paste any selection on your chart. To copy, select a region (make sure to disable the currently active symbol first) and then Edit -> Copy. Next, you can paste this selection into your chart. To do so either

1) Select the region on the canvas you would like to paste into and then Edit -> Paste. This region has to have the same size and shape then (or a multiple of) the originally copied selection. In the latter case, sconcho will paste the respective number of copies. E.g. if you paste a 3x4 block into a 6x12 selection you get 6 copies of your original.

2) Right click on the canvas and in the pop-up menu select Paste. Sconcho will try to paste a single copy of your selection such that the cell you clicked on will become the upper left hand corner. This may fail if there is not enough space available to place the selection or due to the layout (e.g. you can not paste partially over a stitch, such as half of a 2 stitch cable).

Un-doing/Re-doing Canvas Actions

Sconcho allows unlimited undo and redo of all canvas actions, including adding symbols, copy & paste, deleting/inserting rows and columns, changing colors, and moving and editing legend items.

Changing a Symbol's Background Color

With exception of the no-stitch symbol, the default background of all symbols is white. The color of the active symbol can be changed by choosing one of the predefined colors in the Color Selector Tool or by customizing one (via customize color). The selected color will be reflected in the Active Symbol Tool. You can also load a color from any grid cell in your chart into the currently active color selector by Right Mouse Click -> Grab Color.

Note: The color of the no-stitch symbol can not be changed from gray.

Changing the Legend Layout

For each new (colored) symbol used, sconcho places a legend entry consisting of a symbol and its description on the canvas. Both the symbol and the text can be moved separately anywhere on the canvas. The default description text for a symbol can be changed by clicking on the text box and editing it.

To move a legend symbol or text item hold down the Control Key (the Command Key on Mac OSX) and Left Mouse Click on the desired item. The cursor should change to a cross shape and the item can now be moved via the mouse.

If no legend is desired at all it can be turned off via un-checking View -> Show Legend.

Adding Pattern Repeat Boxes

Pattern repeat boxes can be added to the pattern grid. Simply highlight all cells that should be inside the repeat box (i.e., the repeat box will be the outline of the selected cells) and click on View -> Create Pattern Repeat to create it. To change the color and line thickness of an existing repeat box or to delete a repeat box, right mouse click anywhere within the pattern repeat box and select Edit Pattern Repeat in the menu that will appear. This will open a dialog window for changing the repeat box's properties.

Pattern repeat boxes by default have a legend entry associated with them consisting of a symbol showing a rectangular box of the same color as the pattern repeat and a text box whose content can be modified. The visibility of the legend entry for a repeat box can be toggled on or off in its Edit Pattern Repeat dialog.

To move a pattern repeat box hold down the Control Key (the Command Key on Mac OSX) and Left Mouse Click on the desired item. The cursor should change to a cross shape and the repeat box can now be dragged while holding down the left mouse button.

NOTE: Pattern repeat boxes are not tied to the underlying pattern (after all, they can be moved). Thus, if you remove or add columns/rows underneath a pattern repeat it will not re-size automatically. Rather, you will have to delete the previous pattern repeat and create a new one with the correct dimensions.

Adding Row Repeats

You can add any number of non-overlapping row repeats to your chart. Sconcho will automatically adjust the row labels for you in this case. To add a row repeat select any number of consecutive rows. Then right mouse click anywhere outside the chart area to bring up the Row And Column Management Menu. Select add row repeat and then the number of repeats in the appearing repeat dialog.

A row repeat can be deleted by selecting at least one complete row within the repeat. Selecting delete row repeat in the Row And Column Management Menu will then delete the repeat.

Inserting and Deleting Columns and Rows

Deleting rows and columns is straightforward. First, select the rows or columns you would like to delete. Next, open up the Row And Column Management Menu by right mouse clicking anywhere outside the actual chart area and then select "delete selected rows" or "delete selected columns".

NOTE: Deletion of rows and columns is only possible if complete rows or columns have been selected and these form rectangular regions (i.e. no multi-cell symbols are partially sticking out)..

To add rows or columns mark a single complete row/column as pivot. Next, open up the Row And Column Management Menu by right mouse clicking outside the chart area and then selecting the either add row or column.

Saving and Opening Sconcho Projects

Sconcho projects can be saved in a platform independent binary format called sconcho project format (spf). spf files typically end with the extension .spf. spf files can then be re-opened in sconcho.

Exporting and Printing Charts

You can either print your sconcho project to a printer (or print to a PDF file on some platforms), export it as a bitmapped image file, or save it as an svg image. The available image file formats depend on the operating system and are listed at the bottom of the Export As Bitmap or Svg dialog.

To enable the generation and export of non-rectangular knitting charts, sconcho can hide all nostitch symbols in the exported image of your pattern. Check Hide Nostitch Symbols in the export dialog to enable this.

Changing Chart Properties

The preferences dialog (File -> Preferences) allows you to change many properties of your chart such as font and size of labels or the legend, label intervals and location and much more. Just take a look at what is available.

Creating your own Custom Symbols

Using the Manage Custom Knitting Symbols dialog (Edit -> Manage Custom Knitting Symbols) you can add your own knitting symbols and make them available within sconcho.

To add a new symbol click on the Add New Symbol button. Then enter the required information in the respective fields of the dialog. You need to provide an SVG image file of your symbol, a symbol name, category, default width and finally a symbol description. Then click on Add Symbol. You can cancel adding the symbol by pressing Cancel at any time.

Please Note::

Sconcho does not provide a facility for creating the SVG images needed for a new symbol. You can use the excellent program Inkscape <> for this purpose. Inkscape was also used to create the symbols that come with sconcho.

By default, your new symbols are stored within your home directory (C:/Documents and Settings/Username on Windows). You can change the location in the Custom Symbols & Logging tab of the Preferences Dialog. If you change the location any existing custom symbols in the old location will be lost until you copy them into the new location "by hand".

The currently selected custom symbol can be updated or deleted. Deletion is only possible if the symbol does not appear in the currently worked on chart. Similarly, updating of a symbol currently in use is only possible if the name, svg name, and width remain the same. Otherwise, close your current session, open a blank document and delete/update then which is always possible.

Updating or deleting a symbol will cause your undo history to be lost. Thus, in general it is advisable to not add/update/delete new symbols while working on an important chart.

You can export all your custom symbols as a single zip file for sharing with others. Conversely, you can import zipped up custom symbols from others and use them for your projects.

Please Note::

If you delete (or update the name of) a symbol any previously saved sconcho projects which include this symbol will cease to load properly. Thus, please think twice before removing or updating a symbol.