Organizing the Pattern Collection!

The yarn stash can get out of control. So it goes too for the pattern collection. I’ve been gathering all sorts of pamphlets, books, and magazines for more than twenty years, ever since high school. For at least a decade I’ve also been accumulating digital patterns. Since I got my first iPad I’ve also purchased books and magazines for the iBooks, News Stand, Kindle, and Nook apps.

My blog readers may have a similar, hybrid collection of patterns. How do we keep track of them all?

On Ravelry, the “Library” section in the “My Notebook” part of one’s user account can be helpful for storing information about print and digital patterns. I’ve started entering the information about my collection there and I’m by no means finished. The only problem I’ve come across is the fact that Ravelry does not have all of the items in my collection in their database. Nevertheless, I encourage anyone who owns lots of patterns to try out the “Library” option of the Ravelry web site. It’s a very useful way to combine information from both digital and print sources.

I have no idea when I’ll finish entering all that stuff into my Ravelry “Library.” Until then, I do have other tricks up my sleeve.

Firstly, I keep my individual, digital pattern files organized in folders on my computer:

As can be seen in the photo of my folders, I like to organize my knitting patterns by type of garment and also, if necessary, by designer. That “Charts_CookA” folder is actually a group of files I downloaded that accompany a digital book of sock patterns that the designer Cookie A wrote. I keep a “Lace” folder because sometimes I just like the stitches in a pattern, not necessarily the finished item for which the instructions are written. I have a “General” folder which actually should be called “Generic” because it just has a bunch of patterns I haven’t decided about (Do like them? Do I not like them?). I figure some day when I feel like it I can peruse that folder and make up my mind. The “Inspiration” folder is for patterns that inspire me in some way. It could be the shape of the garment, the stitches used, etc. The “knitting and crochet books” folder is for items I’ve downloaded from the Antique Pattern Library. Some day I’ll probably change its name to “Vintage” or something like that.
By the way, do we ever plan on making projects from all of our patterns in our collections? I certainly don’t. This is probably why I don’t see preparing a database as particularly urgent. When I read a book or magazine on my iPad I just take a screenshot of it and send it to the Evernote or Circus Ponies Notebook app. To take a screen shot on an iPad press the “Home” button and the power button on the top right-hand corner of the device.

I prefer to use the Circus Ponies Notebook app (Mac only) because it works a lot like a paper notebook. As can be seen in the photo above there are options for sticky notes, etc.

Also notice how I have a section in my notebook called “Unknown Future.” This, more than anything, makes my system valuable to me. I just can’t remember things if I don’t keep them written down somewhere. In this case, I saw some charts I really liked and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with them, so I just put it in that “unknown” category and annotated what I might like to do with them in the future.

Basically, I keep track of my patterns based on what I like and expect to use for now!

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