You’re looking, let’s say, for a sweater pattern. You sit down at your computer, find your pattern online, pay your money, and presto! – you’re ready to start knitting. Or better yet, you find a free pattern that meets your needs, and copy or download it onto your computer. As long as you have a printer, just how easy can it possibly get?
Now let’s say you’ve downloaded a few more patterns,
then some more…
and then still more…
and suddenly you can’t seem to find that particular pattern you distinctly remember downloading a few weeks ago.
Who wants to hunt through titles for half an hour to find what they’re looking for? And sometimes titles don’t really describe what the pattern actually is anyway.
What to do?
It’s probably safe to say that I have several hundred knitting patterns filed on my computer (as opposed to maybe three that I actually ordered and then waited for a hard copy to arrive by snail mail – and not counting knitting mags, of course). So you could definitely call me a big fan of downloadable patterns!
Once I discovered downloadable patterns, it didn’t take me very long to realize that I had to have some way of organizing them so that I could eventually find them again! So here, for what it’s worth, is my system for filing my many patterns.
First of all, although I have a number of sub-file folders under the main topic of “KNITTING,” the two most important are “PATTERN FILE” and “PICTURE FILE.” Here’s what the sub-file folders look like on my computer:
The PATTERN FILE contains all my patterns, sorted by gauge (number of stitches in a 4″ swatch, or ns4i) into file folders entitled “10s4i and Under,” “11s4i,” “12s4i,” and so on, right through to “37s and Over.”
Here’s a snip of some of the file folders in my PATTERN FILE:
Each time I copy or download a pattern, I give the document a name and gauge.
For instance, the pdf for the Arwen cardigan pictured above is named “Arwen Cardigan 18s4i” and is filed in my “18s4i” PATTERN FILE folder.
However, this is still no guarantee that I’m ever going to find my lovely pattern again without having to check each file to see if it’s the right one. And remember, I’ve got stacks of patterns tucked away in these folders.
The secret to organizing them? Pictures, of course!
In order to keep track of what all these downloaded patterns look like, I need to save pictures of them.
Here’s a snip of the file folders in my PICTURE FILE:
Using my handy-dandy little Windows 7 Snipping Tool, I snip one or two views of the design that show it off best, name each pic (including the stitch gauge in the name so that I know which of my PATTERN FILE folders to search in), and then save each one in my PICTURE FILE, which is sorted alphabetically.
So my “Arwen Cardigan 18s” pics would go into my “Sweaters – Cardigans and Jackets” file folder.
Again using my Arwen cardi example, here’s a snip of what my “Sweaters – Cardigans and Jackets” file folder looks like, with the pattern photos arranged in alphabetical order and the gauge of each pattern in the document name:
And lastly, I copy and paste these same pics into the proper Pattern File so I can find what I’m looking for without having to read all the pattern titles. This step could probably be eliminated, but I’m lazy and can find patterns faster with pics!
Clear as Mud, right?
Let’s say a while goes by, and you’re thinking of knitting that pretty hooded cardigan with the cables travelling up the front and across the hood. What was the name of it? You can’t quite remember – but you’re not worried, because you’re going to sit down at your computer, open your KNITTING file, and have a look in your PICTURE FILE. You search your “Sweaters – Cardigans and Jackets” file folder, and there it is, “Arwen Cardigan 18s4i” in two views!
Now, quick as a wink, you nip up your PATTERN FILE, click on the file folder marked “18s4i” and right there, in the A’s, is the sweater instruction file you were looking for. You print the file, haul out your yarn and needles, and begin knitting.
Life is good!