January 17th, 2013

31 Days to Get Organized: Organizing Your Single Knitting and Crochet Patterns

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Yesterday’s task of going through all of your knitting and crochet books, pattern books and magazines was a big one. Some of you were overwhelmed by it or didn’t have the time to work on it. No worries. We’ll continue working on our our patterns through the weekend. And remember, don’t feel like you have to keep up with each task every day. Do the tasks you feel like you need to work on. And come up with your own schedule. I suggested to someone yesterday that instead of 31 Days to Get Organized, make it 31 Weeks to Get Organized, one task each week. This blog series will be waiting for you when you’re ready.

Now moving onto today’s task of organizing our single patterns. First step is to go through all of them and figure out what to keep and what to get rid of. Some things to consider while you’re sorting through your patterns:

  • Is this a duplicate copy of a pattern? Do I have this in a book or magazine?
  • Do I have an electronic version of this pattern that can take the place of the hard copy?
  • Do you not like the pattern anymore?
  • Did you start the pattern, got stuck, too hard to follow, or lost interest?
  • Have you already made the pattern and won’t make it again?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, the pattern might belong in the get rid of pile.

Next step is to figure out how you want to sort your patterns.

  • By date, newest in front or newest in back
  • By designer or company
  • By craft – knitting and crochet
  • By completion – finished but will make again in one section, haven’t started yet in another section
  • By type of garment – sweaters, blankets, hats, etc.

Once you have an idea how you want to sort your patterns, you’ll have a better idea how you want to store them. I used to store mine in 3-ring binders. Now I’ve switched to hanging files. Here are some examples of ways people organize their patterns.

  • Hanging Files – easy to put away patterns, but files can get messed up more easily
  • 3-Ring Binders (with patterns in plastic sleeves so you don’t have to punch holes in your patterns) – keeps your patterns well sorted, but takes more time to pull out a pattern and put it back
  • Magazine Files – basically a vertical pile, but if you don’t have many patterns, very easy to set up
  • Expanding Files – a lot like hanging files but more portable, but also more difficult to change your categories
  • 2 Pocket Folders – could work well stored in magazine files
  • Digital copies – scan your patterns to create digital copies (more on organizing digital patterns this weekend), then store your hard copies in a box out of the way

When deciding on a method to sort and store your single patterns, consider the size of your collection, if space is an issue, how easy you want retrieval to be, and the ease of keeping your system up to date and organized.

What’s your favorite way to organize your knitting and crochet patterns?

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16 Responses to “31 Days to Get Organized: Organizing Your Single Knitting and Crochet Patterns”

  1. Kim LeRose Says:

    My knit and crochet books are on a dedicated shelving unit organized by shelf (each shelf dedicated to either knit or crochet and then a combined shelf for Plastic Canvas, Donna Dewberry, Beading, etc. I have a “go to” loose leaf where individual patterns are placed in plastic sleeves. All the rest of my single patterns are in hanging file folders categorized by type…..shawls, scarves, accessories, baby, afghans, etc.

  2. Michelle Says:

    I print off patterns to knit from, slip them into three-ring-binder sheet-protectors, and when I am finished I put them in my pattern binder.

  3. Lisa Says:

    I have a display folder for my single patterns, each plastic sleeve identifies what is in there “cardigans – made”, “cardigans – new”, “baby – made”, “baby – new”, “accessories” – etc. It’s quite full (!) so occassionally I go through and cull patterns that I’m never going to make.
    I have all my pattern books and magazines along with this folder in a bookshelf in our study – organised into shelves by knitting, crochet, sewing and “other crafts”. Knitting is by far the biggest collection!!

  4. Jan Derry Says:

    Ravelry! I have over 4000 patterns in books, magazines and single copies indexed through the ‘library’ function on Ravelry. I store the singles in accordian folders by type of project. Very accessible!

  5. Marina Says:

    The Beauty of PDF patterns is that you can read them on your phone, iPad or computer. You don’t have to print them or waste space storing them. You just have to create folders for them. I’m even doing this with books now. There is no need to buy or find storage for paper anymore…

  6. Louise Knight Says:

    Ditto, but I also keep pdf files on my computer until I am ready to use them

  7. Bonnie Strickland Cocuzza Says:

    I love the PDF method of storing on my computer and IPad but I’ve been knitting for a long time and I have many more that I place in plastic sleeves and then in large binders. Each Binder is 3″ and is designated by category on the outside. I have binders for Baby, Toddler, Socks, Home Items, Scarves and Hats, Shawls and Sweaters. Then the binders are placed on bookshelves that are designated as “Knitting”. I also have cardboard decorative Binders that hold all old knitting magazines by individual name. It may be too cumbersome for some people but works for me.

  8. Melissa Kelley Chiappone Says:

    I have a small report style type folder I keep the ones I’m currently working on in. Its very light & portable. Has clear pages so they don’t get wet or crumpled up. After I’m done w/it I store it in a 4 inch 3 ring binder w/tabs labeling the sections. I haven’t been doing this very long so for now this works for me. Probably after years of doing this, it will be a different story!

  9. chrisknitz Says:

    The hardest part of my storage system is, it’s a flight of stairs away. LOL! I have to go upstairs to look for the pattern I want. Of course, my yarn is there also, so it’s all good.

  10. Rowena Says:

    I like the idea of not using paper but how do you mark them up? You can’t put a stickie on the screen to mark your place in a chart when you take a break. Nor can you make corrections or other essential notes on the pattern. I am also not sure that I could squint at a tiny pattern on my phone screen & you have to keep tapping screens when they go to sleep. If you have a practical method of knitting from PDFs without printing hard copies, I’d love to hear it, as my collection is staggering.

  11. Dena Says:

    There are a number of apps for the iPad where you can mark up (add notes, annotation) to a PDF. I also make notes and tick marks on my pattern as I work through it. I haven’t used any of these apps before, but it’s nice to know that function is available.

  12. Marina Says:

    I got used to mark where I am in my knitting piece, not in the pattern, using row markers, colour coded. I also use the vogue knitting app to write notes about where I am in the pattern, and how many rows I did in the back, so I know what to do in the front, for example. I have a two hours commute and take my knitting on the bus, so for me, using my phone is much better than carry a book, or a piece of paper.

  13. Barbara Ford-Tatusko Says:

    We all pick up the free patterns from craft stores. They do not fit or look right in my 3 ring binders. I put them in decorative boxes. They come in all sizes. and look nice on a book case. I use $ store divider cards with tabs, to separate. ex. Knit from crochet, etc. I have even made my own dividers from old folders (cut to fit boxes) and stickers for tabs. You would be surprised (maybe not) how fast free patterns grow.

  14. Jana Says:

    I use knit companion which stores your PDF’s and your scans and you create a project to work on it. It has row counters and sticky notes, lines go across to keep track on a chart and allows annotations. I’ve used it for years and love it!

  15. Margo L MacDougall Says:

    Love.Love.Love. this series!! Thank-you, soooo much! So very practical by dividing the bounty of our treasures into manageable steps. I return to this list every year to revamp my fibre cache. Thank-you for all the lovely work/fun you do!

    M <.

  16. Margo Says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this series!! Thank-you so very much!…hahaha! I just saw that I posted the same thing in February 2017! Hilarious! M <.

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