A New Year’s Knitter : Part 3 – The Yarny Decimal System

When my mother first moved into her new house, someone gave her something with a chicken on it — or maybe it was a rooster… Anyway, over time and before she knew it, there were Roostikens everywhere.  People do, after all, like to give people things they will like, and she did after all have a Roostiken theme going…  Unfortunately for her she now has more Roostikens than she can keep track of and they end up everywhere — tucked into any nook and cranny…

So it goes for any knitter once they begin knitting.  I have received knitting books for Christmas, my birthday, because there were knitting books for sale on the local library cart, as magazine door prizes at meetings, auctions, and, of course, lots of random patterns people have printed out because they “thought I’d like them” — read “please make this for me” — and all in addition to those I have bought / printed for myself…

  Now I’m not complaining about receiving these gifts — they were given to me out of love and with good intentions — but over time one ends up with loose leaf patterns, magazines, and books everywhere.  They’re scattered throughout the house.  Some are in the craft room on their shelf, some are piled beside the bed, lots and lots of them are loose and walking about the house.  I even found some the other day in my cookbook bookcase…

So there comes a time when a knitter has to say, “Enough.  I own knitting patterns, they do not own me…”.

Here’s my advice on how to turn your disorganized pattern pilings into a proper Pattern Library:

Step 1 – Gather all of them together in one place.  As usual, you must make a mess before you make progress.  Search everywhere — under couch cushions, in piles of other paper, on the finished tray of your printer, in the bathroom, on the fridge, and obviously in your cookbook library…  Also, don’t forget those on your computer as pdf’s and ebooks.

Once you have them gathered together sort them into one of four categories:

  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Loose Leaf Patterns
  • E-books

Step 2 – Sort through each pile.  Identify those books/magazines/pattern pages/ebooks that you will never use.  As before with needles and yarn stash — be honest with yourself.  Do you really need that Cast On magazine from 1983?!  Discard any that you no longer love or need.  If they’re books or magazines, either throw them out or donate them to your local Guild, LYS, or Library.

Step 3 – Enter those patterns, books, and magazines that you want to keep into your personal Ravelry library.  The Ravelry library database has half a million patterns in its system and when you add what you own to your personal library, Ravelry will identify a match and keep track of the individual patterns that you own.

That last bit is important so let’s review that point again — If I enter a book with 128 patterns in it in my Ravelry library, and then I later decide I want to make a pattern I found through the pattern search tool that exists in that book, Ravelry will tell me that it is in my library already.  This means that I am not responsible for knowing every pattern in every book and magazine I own.

I can’t count the number of times I have settled down for a good Ravelry pattern browsing session and by the end I’ve picked out a pattern I want to make and when I go to purchase the pattern, I get a notification that it already exists in my library.  I cannot speak for you — but I think that is really, really cool.

For this reason alone, it is worth it to avail yourself of this feature.  It prevents you from re-purchasing patterns you already own.

So let’s look at this process in depth:

Here is my Ravelry library:

Now, let’s say I buy a book called Knitting Scarves from Around the World by Kari Cornell and I want to add it to my queue.  Go to your Ravelry Library and click the “+ add items to my library” button:

Enter the title of the book in the search box on the following screen and notice that Ravelry tries to find a match as you type the title of the book.  You can click one of the match results which appear below the search box or you can click the Search button:

Your search results/match will be displayed:

Select the “add to library” button:

Notice the book has now been added to your library.  Your book count on the left is up by 1 and it can now be seen in your library:

Now, if I forgot about this book and through the Ravelry pattern search, decided I wanted to make the Icelandic Yoke Scarf , Ravelry would tell me that the pattern is in my library as it does here:

This is a very useful feature and it works just as well for magazines, booklets, and single patterns!

Once you are done, store your pattern library in a single place convenient to your crafting space.  For me, that would be in a bookcase in our office/craft room.  Add the books as they are and the magazines in a magazine holder.  But the single patterns are best stored in three ring binders.  I like to place mine in plastic sheet protectors and then put them in the binder.  You can then organize them any way you want — by yarn weight, by item type, by queue, etc…  This binder then sits neatly on the bookcase with the rest of your physical patterns.

Step 4 – Repeat this process with your digital library.  Organize them in a single folder on your computer however you like.  I prefer to organize mine by [Last Name, First Name M.I. – Title].

And there you have it — you have de-stashed your pattern library and whipped the rest of it into shape.  Congratulate yourself on a job well done!

Next up we will beat down those WIPs!

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Joining Steph@Woolythyme and Linda@Natural Suburbia for Creative Friday!
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