Friday, April 22, 2005

Let's get organized, shall we?

A while ago, Jody kindly shared with us how she organized her yarn stash. While I still refuse to admit I have a yarn stash problem, I have no way to deny the fact that the knitting magazines in the house are taking up precious space. Sometimes I even think that magazine stash might even be the greater evil: yarn stash can be reduced theoretically while magazine stash will just get bigger and bigger! So, I took a look at the template I downloaded from Jody's blog and I thought ... I could use that for my magazines!

If you are like me who don't have MS Office, MS Works (which I think comes with your Widnows XP) will work just fine. Open a new Spreadsheet using MS Works. Then organize the columns like this:

Unlike Jody, I am not able to let you download the Spreadsheet file itself as Blogger doesn't allow this. I tried my GeoCities account too ... but in vain. But you can click on the picture to have a larger image which you can see more clearly. I organize the patterns in the following categories:
1. Sweaters/Cardigans
2. Socks/Hats/Mittens
3. Scarves/Wraps
4. Bags
5. Afghans/Dishcloths etc
This is indeed highly personal. I'm just showing you the way I did it as an example. I went through the magazines one by one, chose the patterns that I like and put them into the appropriate categories. Different magazines have different ways of presenting their patterns. Interweave Knits presents the photos with the patterns side by side, so I just put down the page references for the appropriate patterns. Vogue Knitting numbers the patterns and puts all the details at the last section of the magazines, so I just put down the numbers of the patterns. Again, this is personal choice. If you like, you can even grade your liking for the patterns, say, one star, two stars and etc, for later reference.

Besides project ideas, magazines are also valuable sources for techniques. Therefore, I have a column for this:

In this way, I have an inventory list of all the magazines I have and the project ideas they contain. You can do the same thing with your knitting books too. (Actually, I am going to use this for my cooking magazines too!) Now, do you feel that something is missing? Something which is very important to almost all of us knitters ... yeah, the visual elements. We are attracted to a particular pattern because of the way it looks. So, I tried to see if I could import image files into MS Works Spreadsheet. Disappointed. If you are using MS Office Excel, you should see if you can do so. Excel seems to me to be more versatile and powerful. I had to find a solution. This is what I came up with:

Until now, I didn't know MS Works Portfolio even existed. This is a very useful database tool. I started by taking pictures of the patterns I like. Since it is only for my own reference, the resolution doesn't have to be very high. Then I put all the pictures into one folder. Open MS Works Portfolio, click on "Tasks" and then "New Collection". You can name the collection the way you do in your Spreadsheet inventory. Then just drag the pictues in the folder into the Portfolio workspace. In the Comments box, you can put down the name of the pattern and where it is located. Voila! Now you can pack your magazines away in boxes and browse your Portfolio Collections for inspiration instead.


Laura.Y said...

whoossh that is way cool..:P I've been looking for something like that! Thanks for the tip!

Lynette said...

wow! i'm very impressed. i have microsoft works and haven't even looked at it before now.