Q for You: How do you store your patterns?

Q for You: How do you store your patterns?

My friend and former wonder-helper Anie proposed this Q awhile back, and it came to mind as I was packing my desk for the move. Most of my knitting patterns are downloads. The moment a PDF comes into my possession, I drop it immediately into Evernote and add some helpful tags so I’ve always got them available. In that regard they are all neatly stored and organized. But when I’m ready to actually knit from a pattern, I almost always print it out. I’m still a pencil-and-paper girl when it comes to annotating things, so I mark it all up before I start, and I leave myself notes about my mods at the end, so that I can (in theory) refer back to it if I ever need to. The prints have just been stacking up on my desk over the last couple of years, along with any paper patterns that come into my possession, which does happen from time to time. They’re not in any particular order or anything. And right now they’re in a giant ziploc bag in the back of the car, headed east. I like the idea of organizing them in some fashion in a binder, along with the ball band from the yarn, maybe a swatch? (ha!) But this is sure to get some interesting answers, so here’s my Q for You: How do you store/organize your patterns?


37 thoughts on “Q for You: How do you store your patterns?

  1. I, too find lots of print outs scattered around my bedside table, bureau and such. I do have some system to my knitting madness, though. Hot projects or ones “on deck” may be secured on a clipboard I keep near my WIPs. I have an extensive grouping of PDFs that are stored both in Ravelry and on my iPad. Patterns I have knit, and those I have printed out are stored in binders in sleeve protectors. I have a binder for patterns I have knit, and another for those I just have not gotten to yet. I, too am a paper and pencil gal. I feel most secure when I can write down, scratch out, highlight and otherwise fold up and take to the beach any pattern I am working on. can’t do that to a tablet!

  2. I put mine in a display folder (I think they are also called presentation folders). It’s just a booklet with clear pockets which I can flick through more easily when I am looking for something. They are good because you can add any patterns from magazines and any proper printed patterns (I have a few inherited ones)! I keep the bands of the yarn in the same pocket (assuming I’ve started the pattern!). I like to add notes too, mostly about how much yarn I used/ translate hook sizes and balls into yardage etc. I hadn’t thought of keeping swatches in there but they would fit, but it may eventually make for a bulky folder!

    For my writing my own patterns, I have a gridded notebook which helps me sketch up any charts and schematics. I put my ideas in there too so there’s quite a lot in it which haven’t yet made it onto the hooks!

  3. I do both, have lots in Ravelry & in binders. Every new year’s I go thru the binders & get rid of those I am not interested in any more. I like to work with a paper pattern so I can make notes, then transfer to the project on Ravelry.

  4. Really like the idea of attaching a sample of the yarn to the pattern but like you can not see myself that organized. I have a binder with many of my patterns . It seems many get put in my knitting basket and never make it to the binder. Ravelry helps. I keep as many as I can there and print them when needed. I really need a clean printed pattern for each project since I write all over it. Looking forward to reading how others organize their knitting.

  5. Similar to you, Karen, I save mine to my library on Ravelry and also download the PDFs to Dropbox in folders by type (hats, gloves/mitts, scarves, cowls, baby/kid things, etc.). When the file names aren’t clear, I rename them. And when I’m ready to knit something, I print it out so I can write on it. When I first started knitting, I printed out a TON of patterns, and I put them all in a binder, also organized by type. It’s kinda messy, though, because I haven’t punched holes in all the pages, so some are stuffed in the front.

  6. I’m pretty much all digital. Even print patterns I end up scanning. I store mine in a Dropbox folder and I have categories (baby, blankets, sweaters, tees, gloves) so I label them by category – yarn weight – pattern name, Example: baby – worsted – pattern name.pdf and that makes them easy to search. When I’m knitting I open the PDF pattern in the JKnitHDLite app on my iPad so I can highlight line by line as I’m going through the pattern.

  7. Evernote is the BEST!!! I copy almost everything into there so I can have it on my phone as well as my laptop. When I am ready to knit I often print out charts and longer patterns. I save them in a binder in plastic sleeves (I found the binder AND sleeves in the “free box” at my work).

  8. I print patterns from PDFs but usually end up throwing them away when I’m done. Otherwise they just pile up on my desk. I used to try to put them in a binder but it quickly filled up and I decided it was redundant since they are all available in my ravelry library. I buy a lot of pattern books and magazines (that I really will knit from some day!) and I store them on all my bookshelf.

  9. I wish I were more organized/set in my ways with how I did this. If I’m honest, it really comes down to whether or not I’m in close proximity to a printer. If I am, then I’ll likely print it out and eventually store it in this report binder I salvaged from work (filled with page protectors). If I’m feeling industrious and tidy, I’ll put the pattern in the binder to begin with and use sticky notes to make any notations, tallies, quick calculations, etc. Sometimes, I go completely digital, keeping notes in the actual pdf. If the pattern has a bunch of options to pick from, I like to go through the pdf and mark out which size instructions I don’t need and highlight the ones I do need.
    I have made it a point to keep notes and thoughts about a project on my Ravelry project page. I like that I can take a picture of a swatch with all the details and log it somewhere, that way I don’t need to hold onto the swatch.
    I also have my ‘knitting library’ close by, one spot for my magazines and another for my books. I took some time earlier this year and cataloged my library with Ravelry (along with my stash!), which helps tremendously when I want to browse.

  10. I have a binder containing the patterns of only completed knitting/crochet projects, since I also use printed patterns to work from. The binder has dividers for different categories. I also have various lists in email drafts (so that I can access them from home or work) with lists of projects for home decor, gifts, my baby niece, myself, etc. That way, when I’m daydreaming about what to do next or trying to come up with a gift for someone, I know exactly where to look. I need to start using more of Ravelry’s features–that would get me way more organized!

  11. I recently printed out all of the PDF patterns I’ve bought (sorry trees/environment) for safekeeping. I do tend to do computer purges often and have been known to delete lots of things I didn’t mean to. I don’t ever want that to happen with my patterns! I also try to buy many of my patterns via Ravelry so that they’ll be there also for double the safety.

  12. I use the binder system. I also like to print my single patterns, so I decided to organize them: the favorite designers from which I bought several patterns have their own section, as well as patterns that came with yarn subscriptions. Most of the other Ravelry single patterns, free or not, are in one section in alphabetical order, so quick to find. And I’ve created separate sections for baby, men and home patterns, as well as a section for brands that provide beautiful free patterns on a regular basis, such as Rowan or Berrocco. I can then easily add a new binder if the existing three overflow and simply move sections.

  13. Printouts, photocopies, and tearouts from magazines are stored in categorized/labeled manila folders which then go in hanging files in two file storage boxes. Patterns I’m currently working on are usually with the project in the project bag/bin, and I also have a wall folder for patterns for UFOs that have somehow separated from the projects themselves. I rarely knit a pattern twice, but recycle them when I’m done. I’m a tactile “thinker” and regularly go through the files of patterns to purge as well as refresh my memory. I’m slowly getting rid of pattern books by photocopying the patterns in them that I really truly plan to knit, filing those, and donating the books themselves. I haven’t yet converted to using digital patterns, though it is handy to have the ones purchased through Ravelry there as a backup.

  14. Oh, a clipboard I like that! I have binders by category and love the Ravelry library feature where you can search books and store favorites. What’s important to me is a printout of what I am working on that I can enlarge on the copy machine and mark (a lot). I often forget about all the patterns I’ve stored and categorized and fall in love with something new and knit it immediately.

  15. All of my PDFs go into my iBooks on my phone. If they’re not there, I know they’re in my Ravelry library. But I love having them on my phone because I don’t have to think, “Did I remember my pattern?” when I throw my knitting into my bag. I can also give them a once-over when I’m not with my knitting.

    I hardly ever knit from books because I hate having paper patterns around (I usually photocopy them so I can fold it up in my project bag and write all over it). But I do have a big shelf full of pattern books and stitch libraries.

  16. I too am a pencil and paper gal. Nothing on my computer. Of importance that is. Most of my patterns are in binders. I got that from my husband, the “binder king”. His office before retirement was shelves with binders. Very organized. Me not so. But my sock binder is filled with all my sock patterns. Book on my shelf. The problem with that is when I want a special patten, oh where is it??????

  17. I’m strictly pencil and paper. Any pattern I want to make, now or in the future, gets printed out and filed in my file cabinet. I don’t keep anything on my computer. I don’t trust digital stuff. I guess I’m too much of a neo-Luddite.

  18. Now I’m curious how many people ever knit a pattern more than once. I try to buy everything on Ravelry so I can print as often as needed. If I have bought the yarn ahead for a project, I store the pattern book,etc. with the yarn in a plastic storage drawer unit. That saves a lot of hunting and guessing later on. I also have printed patterns in sleeves in binders by project type and my magazines are in those cardboard holders they sell by Brands. I need to find out what Dropbox is all about. It sounds helpful.

  19. I have never knitted a pattern more than once until recently. I found a really cute pattern for a baby girl. It is quick but does not look it. I am on no. 3 of that one..

  20. After I’ve knit a pattern, if I’ve written notes on it (which I usually have), I scan that and create a new pdf. I give it the same filename with _knit_annotated on the end. I do have a knitting patterns folder in my file drawers and may keep the hard copy of something I think I will knit again.

  21. I shove printed patterns haphazardly into a bookshelf and pray that I have a digital copy stored properly on my computer. :) I’m too lazy to print most of them, so often they are on my computer with notes typed up on them.

  22. I printed the pattern out when I start knitting. I tried to knit only by looking at PDF, but as you written, I need pencil to write some note on. (sometimes numbers that I stitched and all.)
    As Printed-out papers organize, I put them in the clear binder folders. I always take pictures during the project, and once I finished my project, I put “digital paper sticker” on the top of the paper, so that whenever you want to see the finished project and how you made it through, all you have to do is open the app, put iphone (ipad) on the marker, the pictures of the project shows up on the phone which is really good to use.

  23. I have large 3 ring binders, then the projects I’m working on or will be soon are on a clipboard. And then of course there are tons on my computer that I have not printed out yet :) I’m trying to be organized…

  24. That’s a very good question! As you, i like to have pdf pattern on my ipad, it’s so easy to use, but when I start the projet, I print out the pattern! Actually, it depend on the difficulty of the project, for instance, I’ve just finish to knit Juniper, a very simple sweater for which ipad was enough to follow instructions, I did not need to write down some instructions. But as I’d like to better organise myself regarding my knitting projects, I’m still looking for the right balance between pdf and print versions ! It’s so difficult to be a knitter ;-)

  25. I use Evernote to keep track of pattern notes too! It’s a great research organization/storage tool for designers and writers, too–I hadn’t thought about putting all my pattern PDFs in there for storage…I mostly rely on my Ravelry library for pattern storage–I do keep copies of PDFs saved on a hard drive and in a cloud–where I back up all my nonknitty stuff, too but only ever use it when I need to access patterns I bought pre-Rav.

    For knitting notes on projects that I’ve knit I use Ravelry/projects–I know I’ve relied on other knitters’ project notes for everything from errata that wasn’t captured by a publisher, to sizing, to thoughts on yarn substitutions/working with handspun and I like contributing to that base of knowledge.

    I usually work off a PDF on my phone/kindle if it’s an uncharted or simple pattern. If the pattern has a lot going on or charts that aren’t easy to memorize, I’ll print out the pattern so I can make notes on the fly more easily–I use plastic sleeves and painters tape to keep track of my place on a chart, and usually just keep the pattern with the knitting in a project bag.

    My supply of older, printed patterns and vintage stuff gets stored in magazine storage boxes with tabs for organization–I went this route rather than binders because of all the odd sized items I have–ballbands with patterns on the inside, little booklets, A4 and letter sized paper.

    I’ve knit a few patterns more than once-mostly basic stuff like David’s Toe Up Sock Cookbook, which I pretty much have memorized.

  26. Gosh! Now that I think about it I use a lot if different methods! I recently discovered that having a digital copy doesn’t mean you’ll always have a digital copy.BUT I have folders for knitting and crochet with categorized files. I have a Ravelry library. I always print out what I’m working on and impending projects (stored with the yarn in an individual project bag. I use page protectors that hold my needle packaging and ball bands while I’m working on a project. Quite often I leave the ball band with the pattern when the project is complete. I have (2) 4″ binders that should be split into 3 that I love to peruse when I’m looking for a project (and more frequently when someone wants me to knit something for them). I love my binders and I don’t always have access to our family computer.

  27. Purchased PDF patterns are printed out when I knit the pattern and the printed pattern goes into a binder. Same with purchased printed patterns…in the binder. While I like my iPad and have patterns that I am knitting in my ipad library, I still prefer paper patterns to scribble on and fold up in my project bag. I even purchased the Knitting Companion app…but it just hasn’t clicked with me yet.

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  29. I save all patterns (either PDF, word doc) in a file for category – children, womens, mens, home, saved with sts per inch, rows per inch description of pattern and pattern yarn; sometimes needle size, as following example:
    17sts x 22rows_5mm_Scarlet simple good cardigan_DROPS_POEMS
    (Scarlet being the pattern name; DROPS being the original source and POEMS the yarn I might consider using from my stash or insert original yarn used in pattern).
    Rarely in a binder. I only print if I’m going to make it now. If any adjustments maybe printed copy with notes on it into the binder but usually scanned and filed as
    17sts x 22rows_5mm_Scarlet simple good cardigan_DROPS_POEMS_adj080714
    (adjusted 8th July 2014) A ball band (details of pattern and date) and small sample of yarn used is also saved.
    Makes it so easy to search for a pattern using sts per inch, yarn, needle size, pattern type, original pattern from source.
    I also use Ravelry backup but not all my patterns come from Ravelry.

  30. I put mine in the sheet protector sleeves and then put them in a binder. Then you can put all the stuff pertaining to the pattern in the sleeve. Plus sleeves protect the pages from possible accidents.

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  32. Since I still new to knitting and crochet,I download patterns on usb drive, [honey got me one that holds a lot] then when ready to try i write in notebook, they are done by categories. When printer decides to work I print them put in plastic file and into proper binder. Also slow making a list.

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