January 19th, 2013

31 Days to Get Organized: Digital Patterns

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In the last few years there has been an enormous increase in the number of patterns, magazines and books available in digital format. There are a lot of advantages of digital patterns over paper patterns.

  • They take up less physical storage space.
  • Some digital versions are cheaper than the paper version.
  • Some patterns are only available digitally.
  • You can download them instantly. No waiting.
  • If a pattern has errata (errors or updates), it’s much easier for the designer to update the pattern.
  • If you own an iPad, eReader, or tablet, you can carry your digital library wherever you go.
  • If you prefer to work from a hard copy, you can print out a copy of a digital pattern as many times as you need to, taking notes on the copy as you work through the pattern.
  • You may find that a digital pattern will have additional content such as extra notes from the designer and quick links to relevant websites, tutorials, and instruction videos.

With the increase in availability of digital knitting and crochet patterns (WEBS carries over 16,000 downloadable knitting and crochet patterns and eBooks!) and the ease of purchasing and downloading them, you may have discovered you suddenly have a lot of files floating around your computer.

First thing I would suggest if you haven’t done so already, is to have all of your files live in one place on your hard drive. You might have some in folders, but there might be others sitting on your desktop or downloads folder. Once you’ve moved them into one parent folder such as Knitting, Crochet, or Crafts, start creating subfolders if you have more than a few pattern files. Create similar sub-categories that you use for organizing your single patterns. I mostly like to organize my digital patterns by designer, but it might make more sense for you to sort by type of project. It depends on what’s in your digital pattern library.

In addition to patterns, I store other files related to knitting and crochet here such as tips, files I need for my blog, and customized graph paper.

If you have an iPad, eReader, or tablet, there are apps available (Adobe PDF Reader, Goodreader, iBook) that let you view your pattern PDFs on your device. There are even some apps (Remarks) that allow you to annotate PDFs, perfect for making notes or tick marks as you work through a pattern.

If you don’t want to store your PDF files on your device and want access to all of your pattern files on any of your devices, consider using a cloud-based solution such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

Many of you also purchase digital patterns and eBooks through Ravelry. This is a good option since you don’t need to download purchased patterns until you’re ready to use them. Ravelry does a nice job of incorporating these patterns into your Ravalery pattern library.

Share some of your favorite tips and solutions for managing your digital knitting and crochet patterns. 

– Dena

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Dena

Ecommerce Marketing Manager at WEBS - America’s Yarn Store
Dena started working at WEBS in 2006, shortly after she learned to knit. She also dabbles in crochet and weaving. She finds knitting complements her marathon and triathlon training really well.
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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1608446976 Sarah Prince

    I save downloaded pattern files with names that indicate something to me, as well as keeping the number with which they are usually identified.

  • Danna Schneider

    For me, it’s all about Ravelry! I love to be able to tag patterns saved to my favorites. I often tag the kind of project, the yarn weight, and all sorts of other things making my big collection of favorites easily sortable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/celeste.denier Celeste Denier

    I started knitting a little over a year ago after I found Ravelry. I have all my patterns and books and magazines in my Ravelry Library.I can search through all my patterns with a few clicks. LOVE!! I recently got a Dropbox account to access my patterns from my new tablet also. Working on getting my stash in my Rav account. Ravelry Rocks!!

  • JudyAnn

    Ravelry! Everything in one place.

  • http://twitter.com/SpicyKnitter SpicyKnitter

    A tip: if you set up folders on your computer to organize your patterns, don’t be afraid to duplicate the file and save it in multiple folders if the pattern could belong in more than one group. (i.e. a baby blanket pattern could go in the “baby” folder or the “afghan” folder… so I just hit “copy” and “paste” and save two copies of the pattern – one in each folder.)

  • Ardosa Carboni

    personally, i store all by first what it is (shawl, cowl, hat, sweater)
    then i subdivide the folder from there – (by style or yarn weight (hats are by weight) and so on down… so i have hats under:
    Hats
    worsted weight
    entrelac
    fair isle

    etc.

    works lovely

    as much as I LOVE Ravelry – it is harder for me to have the patterns in 2 places (local and Ravelry) and i haven’t figured out how to upload my purchased patterns and not have them ‘unlocked’ for the world to use… so i don’t do it. So instead, i download my Ravelry ones and store them in the same tree structure.

  • Leebeloola

    You should try Evernote. Every note can have multiple tags so you could store it in a notebook called “patterns” but give it the tags “Afghan” and “baby”. Notes can contain text, pictures, PDFs.

    Then when you are looking for all your baby patterns you just go to your notebook and search for “baby”.

    I’m currently transferring all the patterns from my hard drive and all my bookmarks into Evernote. I can access it from any device as long as I can get online. Everything is so much easier to browse through!