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Monday, February 20, 2012

Knit. . . Review of iPhone/iPad app "Yarn U"

Yarn U's opening screen (on my iPhone)
Recently I was given the opportunity to try out this iPhone/iPad app for free, in exchange for reviewing it on my blog. No problem, I thought. . . so here goes!

Quick tutorial (on my iPad)

Yarn U by Mary Beth Klatt
This is available from the iTunes store for NZ$4.19 and US$2.99. Not sure how much it costs in other iTunes stores worldwide. . . Basically it is described as an "On-the-go guide to yarn" and that pretty much sums it up. It is a pocket reference of around 260 yarns (number increasing with each update), and it is possible to browse the yarns freely, search for something specific or filter and sort the list yourself. You can quickly get to all yarns beginning with a particular letter by touching that letter in the alphabet down the right side of your screen.

Some of the yarns available in the database
Lets say I was interested in Noro Kureyon yarn (because, lets face it - I am!!) If I look up "Kureyon" in the yarn database, I am taken to Kureyon's summary page. . .

This gives a brief description of the yarn in headline style ("Classic wool in rainbow colours"), then some more details below. I like how this section is unashamedly subjective, sometimes quoting what particular knitters on ravelry have to say about the yarn, or what projects they have used it for. This page also has a task bar at the bottom, allowing me to comment on the yarn, mark it as a a favourite or email the yarn summary to myself or a friend.

Below, you can see a screenshot sharing ravelry Artlady's opinion of Kureyon's plus points, and telling us she used Kureyon to make a Bettna Cardigan. If you touch the link on your iPhone/iPad, you will immediately be taken to a photo of that item. Many yarns have links to suitable free patterns to knit or crochet with that particular yarn.

After the subjective opinion on the yarn comes what I think of as its "autobiographical details" - brand name, yarn weight, stitch gauge, fibre content and yardage, and an example price point. All those essentials you need to consider if you are thinking of using this yarn. Plus a few pros and cons, and often some comments from other "Yarn U" app-users for you to mull over.

The bottom line:
Overall, this is an app that does one thing, and does it really well. I can imagine it being very handy when trying to find the "perfect" yarn for a project, and I really like how it presents blatantly subjective opinion(s) on each yarn alongside the dry facts and figures. The photographs are something to really tempt anyone off their self-imposed Yarn Diet! 

However, I found it was strongly biased towards yarns that are available in the USA. Yes, I know it's the modern internet age and we can all buy things from worldwide online stores (if we can afford them!) But still, I would like to see some more familiar yarns added as time goes on. Would I buy the "Yarn U" app? Yes, definitely, once it has some more NZ, British and Australian yarns added to the database.

Thanks Mary Beth for the opportunity to review this app.

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