Getting organized in 2013

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.  Now, I know it’s January, and I titled this post “Getting organized in 2013.”  But really, this is just a convenient time.  Remember that yarn sale I mentioned?  The one where I had a coupon so I got my purchases for 50% off?  Oh, girl (or “guy”)!  Did I ever load up!   Aaaaand in my wallet I found a gift card I had for another shop that was nearing expiration (when did gift cards start expiring?!), so I did the only sensible thing one can do.  I bought more yarn.  But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

I had a lovely holiday season, starting with Halloween on through New Year’s Day.   For the gift-giving days I received a handful of crochet pattern books that I am THRILLED to have.  As I flipped through them, grinning, I realized that over just the past year-and-a-half I’ve collected several hundred patterns, and they are scattered amongst books, printed magazines, Kindle magazines, magazines in PDF form, and individual patterns I’ve downloaded.

So here’s how I decided to remedy that:  in the last few days of last year I opened up my handy database app on my mobile and started a new database for the patterns, which came in truly handy when I was planning all that yarn shopping.

me holding up my mobile showing the database I created

why is my thumb Cheeto-orange??

Yeah, I keep the cats’ medical records, too.  Anyway, the app you use doesn’t matter, but if you want to look up the one I like, it’s called Memento.  It syncs with Google Docs, so I always have current information at my fingertips from all the records I keep.  Memento just has a much cleaner interface for entering your data than looking at a spreadsheet, and I really like drop-down boxes when having to enter data.  Yaaa, multiple choice!

I ended up deciding to break up my collection into two databases so it would run faster: patterns for items and patterns for motifs; you can see them both in that photo above.  Otherwise there would be a shitton (technical term) of records to try slugging through.  Because none of the available templates were applicable to this pattern database I wanted, I designed my own.  Trust me, if I can do it, you can, too.  So opening one of those records in the CroPat Collection, here’s what I first see:

look at all those nice books

Here the records are sorted by where they came from.  When I’m entering data from tons of patterns, that option works well for me.  Let’s click on one:

showing a record

I put the picture up top, because when I’m looking for a project to make, I want to see what it looks like right away.  Below that is a lot of info, basically I add anything I would need to know were I out shopping for yarn and remembered a pattern that would work with materials I happen across.  Scrolling down the record, here’s what I see:

information in a pattern's record, sch as yards of yarn required

Yardage required, grams required, the suggested yarn and what it’s made of, and any extra notes.  Scrolling down further reveals this:

even more pattern info

What the item is, the designer, where the pattern came from, where the pattern lives, who it was designed for, and a checkbox for whether or not I have made it.  Why did I make so many blanks to fill in?  Because I’m neurotic!  No, really, it’s because each of those blanks are sortable,  thus I could easily find all my patterns for skirts, or all patterns made from a certain yarn, or all those created by a certain designer.

This idea could be used for any collection, really, from sewing patterns to CDs to books… whatever you come up with that has information you want handy.  I keep certain bits of my medical records in a database so it’s easy to find answers at doc appointments, such as which meds I’ve taken and what happened when I did – but I realize most people don’t need to do that.

My goal was to have the crochet databases done by the end of January.  I’m still slugging away at it but with being at the middle of the month, I don’t think I’m at the half-way mark of my collection of patterns.   And it’s not a job, it’s an adventure… um, it’s not a job, it’s just something I’d really like to get done.  Amongst all the other things I’d also really like to get done.  And I just don’t want to spend every last moment I’m able to do things each day doing data entry, even if it does include lots of pretty pictures.  So I’m also working on this:

ribbing made in back-post crochet

This is from one of the patterns I’ve been meaning to work for a few months now.  This portion is a ribbed neck, onto which a ruffle cascades down, like a teenie, tiny cape that ends at the edges of the shoulders.  It’s not one I designed, although I have already come up with a whole new design for another one.  This time, I wanted to actually make it how the original person designed it, which is rare for me.  Given any opportunity for customization, I’m all over it, so it’s actually a challenge to NOT change it.  The ribbing was accomplished by a super-easy back-post-single-crochet, done over many rows.  What’s taking me so long is that it was written for a very loose gauge, and I normally work a very tight gauge, so I keep ripping it out and starting over with a larger hook.  I think I’m on Incarnation Number Four at this point, but this time, knock on wood, it’s coming out the right size.

I really like that about crochet.  If you sew something and it’s way too small, there usually isn’t anything you can do besides toss it in the scrap box.  But if something’s too small in crochet, just rip the stitches out and start over, with no ruin to the materials.

So that’s how I’m spending a lot of my time, working on this database that only I will use.  If anyone is interested and wants to use the same app, I find out how to share the template.  Or you can just copy what I did.

Next up in the Organizational List:  fixing the art and crafting supplies before we have a crapalanche!

Given unlimited means and opportunity, how would you organize your patterns?

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2 thoughts on “Getting organized in 2013

  1. Pingback: Freedom of choice, or what happens when there are too many options « madwhimsy

  2. Pingback: The one where I just ramble on | madwhimsy

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