Friday, January 24, 2014

I am Virgo, watch me organize using OneNote - Part 1

I have a lot of sewing patterns. Oh, you too? Then I probably don't have to tell you how or why I've accumulated so many. They reproduce in the drawers and boxes in the sewing room, right?

Most of my patterns are 6000 miles away from me at the moment, but I have a small stash here - as well as over a year of Burda magazines and a smattering of Ottobre, Knipmode, Diana Moden, La Mia Boutique...etc. I've been increasingly aware that I am actually unaware of the patterns I own. I do have the majority of envelope patterns entered in my pattern catalog on Patternreview, and while it's helped prevent me from buying duplicates,  I haven't found it all that helpful for browsing. Not all of the patterns in there have pictures - especially older patterns, I can't see the yardage requirements or other envelope information, and none of my pattern magazines are entered. For my Burda magazines, I have a notebook with copies of all the line drawings. This is helpful but I still have to look through the many, many pages,  there are no pictures, and I haven't included line drawings from my many other magazines.

Some people have been using a product called Evernote to catalog their patterns. I decided I'd rather use a program I already have on my computer - OneNote. Because OneNote connects in the cloud with OneDrive (free storage!), and I can view it on my Windows Phone, I also use it for grocery lists, info I need to jot down when I'm out and about, and basically any information I want to keep track of. If it seems that I'm very Windows-centric, you are correct. My husband works for Microsoft so I am encouraged to use their products, but honestly I would use them anyway because they are solid, dependable and play very well together.

It did take me quite a bit of time to enter all my pattern information, but only because I have a lot of patterns! And magazines. And I'm a crazy Virgo perfectionist. I created OneNote pages for each pattern, including ones I don't have with me, but I only put in magazines that I have on hand because I scanned some of the pages. For the patterns, I was able to get maybe 99.5% of the pictures and envelope info off the internet - I have a couple patterns that are so old that I will have to scan them when I can.

Here's what OneNote looks like using the OneNote App on my Surface Pro.

There's one library with sections for each pattern company (listed on the far left), although if I only had one or two patterns I put them in the section "Other." I can reorganize this list to be alphabetical or whatever I want. Each section is made up of pages, which are listed in the second column from the left. One pattern page is displayed in the large area with the white background.  I used the screen clipping tool to grab images from the website, and I added a link to reviews on Patternreview. I'll explain how to do all this in a later blog post.
Here's a screen shot of a Burda magazine page entry: 
I scanned the pages that showed small pictures of the garments and the pages that show the line drawings. You can see that not all of the page is visible, but I can just move it around to see everything by using a mouse on the desktop or my finger on a Surface. The page can be quite large and hold lots of information. I can add notes - handwritten or typed in, more pictures, etc. I can even draw on top of the existing images.
The interface is different on the desktop view and provides access to a lot more tools. I use the desktop for editing and the app for browsing.
Here's a shot of what the pattern page looks like on my phone. I scrolled over to show that you can view the contents. The drawback is that downloading the pictures over the cell network takes forever.


Now that (almost) everything is in OneNote, I can browse my collection quite easily and from my phone, Surface, desktop or any computer with internet access to SkyDrive. One huge benefit is that I can search for and find any words that appear on a page. For example, if I was interested in sewing something with velvet and wanted to find patterns that were suitable, I simply search on "velvet" and the term is found whether it's in a title or in a picture I added (as long as the picture is clear and the text legible). In the below example, the word "velvet" is on the back of the pattern envelope for Simplicity 6807.
It's not perfect, but I can improve the search results by adding text to the page to "tag" it with terms. And for magazines,  unless I scan every instruction page from my Burda magazines (not likely) I can't find Burda magazine patterns that recommend velvet, for example. But this is a great start.
I can tell you that this whole exercise has reminded me of the many great looking patterns I have. I've enjoyed looking at them again. Of course I want to sew all the ones I bought and many of the ones in the magazine, but that's like saying I'll sew up every scrap of fabric I have.

Friday, January 03, 2014


Sultan Ahmed Mosque at duskGrand BazaarCat found a comfy pillowRoasted chestnuts and cornTopkapi PalaceAcross the Bosphorus
Topkapi PalaceFit for a SultanTopkapi PalaceGeometric Turkish TilesTiles at the Topkapi PalaceTopkapi Palace Harem
Stained glass in the Topkapi PalaceAaron at Topkapi PalaceImperial Gate at Topkapi PalaceCatCat againAnd more cat...
Hippodrome in IstanbulMinaretsHippodromeIlluminated MinaretsHagia SophiaHagia Sophia
Click here: Istanbul, to see the whole set.
Pictures from our latest trip. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

First day of a new year and a new finished object

Happy New Year to everyone!

The first of the year is a good time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the next. This was my first full year living in Germany and first full year not working. I'd like to think I took advantage of both of these situations.

I did just a little bit of traveling. Here are the countries I visited:
  • Austria
  • France
  • Czech Republic
  • Belgium
  • Hungary
  • Switzerland
  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Estonia
  • Ireland
  • Netherlands
  • Greece
  • Turkey
  • USA
I did a bit of knitting. Here are the projects I finished in 2013:

Twin sweaters BlueTwisty Irish Hat

A weaving project:

I finished this scarf but haven't taken a final picture of it!

I got my sewing mojo back. I didn't do much sewing, but here are the finished projects:

Simple shirt Print block dress
I also made a tree skirt for the Christmas tree:

And finally, the first finished object for 2014!

New socks
Red socks!
Finished socks 

I started these socks in August of 2012 and worked on them a lot initially but then as I got near the end of the second sock they languished in my knitting basket. Either my attention was drawn to new projects or I passed them up as my "project for the plane or car ride" figuring that I'd finish them and then not have a project to work on. Well, I finally finished them and I'm glad I did because they are comfortable and nice on my feet!

Here's the project link on Ravelry and the basic info:

Yarn: Austermann Step
Needle: Size 1 (2.25 mm) double points
Pattern: Hermione's Everyday Socks

So what's in store for next year? More travel. More sewing. More knitting. More weaving. More fun!