General blather

Patterns – paper or digital?

I just recently started a process that I’ve been procrastinating on for a while – sorting through all the patterns I have printed out. It’s not as easy as it seems like it might be – I need to check the patterns and make sure I have them digitally, then the printout can get thrown out.

Why do I have all these paper patterns? Some of them arrived as hardcopy with kits, some I printed out to use while knitting and then kept for some reason. Some were printed out because I was going to knit them up very next thing! Those are mostly pretty dusty. But I really do have to start clearing out some things in the house, and this is where I’m starting for some reason.

How about you – do you use paper patterns or digital when you’re knitting (or crocheting or whatever)? Do you keep them once you’re done? Have any organizing tips to share?

24 thoughts on “Patterns – paper or digital?

  1. I find it easier to print the patterns and scribble notes on them and count rows on them. I also tend to want to re-knit most patterns so yes I do tend to keep them. Annoyingly I had thrown out my Turtle Dove pattern thinking I wasn’t so keen on it after I knit the first. Then I fell in love with the jumper and could have done with those notes. You’ve been crafting longer than me and I don’t see much repetition of knitting the same patterns so you must have loads of patterns in your stash.

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    1. I find it easiest to work off of paper patterns too! And you’re right, I don’t knit things over very often at all. I think that’s really most of the issue – I make notes but then they don’t get used for anything.

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  2. I save all my pdf patterns in Google drive. If I print them off, after I’ve finished knitting, I stuff the paper into a binder. Someday I’ll have to go through that binder. I have another binder full of old patterns I will probably never knit again, except for Shoalwater Shawl. I mainly keep that binder for nostalgia. I still haven’t decided if I prefer to knit and keep notes on paper or digitally. I’d like to move away from paper altogether but I still haven’t done it.

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    1. Saving the pdfs to Google drive is a great idea! I have mine in a folder on my laptop and copied to a thumb drive, but that still doesn’t feel entirely safe enough somehow. There are definitely nostalgia patterns around here too 🙂

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  3. I use a combination. I like having the digital for purposes of storing and sharing. But I invariably mark up my patterns, so I really must print them. I keep print outs in 3 ring binders, sorted with dividers into types: Sweaters and vests; shawls, wraps, and scarves; hats; socks and leggings; and all other.

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  4. I love paper patterns. I find knitting from digital a pain as I am unable to make notes on them. I do have a digital library of patterns but always print them out when I make them. If I will make the pattern more than once (socks) then I keep the printed pattern. If I write notes on the pattern, then I keep it. Otherwise, I trash the printed pattern.

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  5. I have paper originals and many I have printed digitally. It is so easy to find patterns on line, many for free and think ‘one day I shall make that’. Weeks, months, years later you realise there are several you will never do! I don’t often save them just on the laptop, it feels easier to print them off, possibly a bad habit these days, though in the past I’d saved them on old laptops and not backed them up, losing them altogether. I just need to really think about what I will make and not waste my time or money dreaming! When we could all meet up my craft group sometimes swapped patterns and knitting magazines – it’s a lovely idea – occasionally we just ended up with more patterns on a ‘to do’ pile!

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  6. I have both paper and digital patterns.

    When I first started, I mean first started, before I even finished a bookmark. people started giving me books, and old patterns they had. I got crochet and knitting patterns. Mostly crochet.

    It really didn’t do me any good though because I didn’t know how to read any of it. I still have them put away neatly.

    I’ve knit a few things out of there. But mostly what I’ve knit is from my digital collections.
    I usually send patterns to my kindle. If I can’t download them, I use Instapaper. It’s an app I use to download things to my phone, but it also lets me email it to my kindle.

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  7. I purged a bunch of paper copies, stuff I never got around to knitting and things I had already made. But they were not purchased copies, those I donate to guild or craft restore places. I also got rid of a lot of books. Now I need to do that with the quilting, but a lot of that is saved online, so not as much paper gets purged. What I kept is in binders, but at least I am down to only 4 at this point!

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  8. I have printed patterns from pre-digital download days. I save copies of all digital patterns in Dropbox. When I print a pattern for my knitting bag, I discard it when I am done. I would love to organize my digital patterns into sub-folders based on type.

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