my digital life

double-screen action!

One of the things I've been looking forward to is having more time to organize the various bits of my creative life. KonMari-ing my yarn stash, re-folding and revisiting my fabric stash, creating a spreadsheet for my sewing patterns ... I've done a bit already, but today felt like a good day to tackle a biggie: my digital pattern library.

Like many modern knitters, my pattern stash is mighty (can't blame a designer for loving designs!). I've been on Ravelry since they were in beta and required invitations, so it should surprise no-one that I have six pages of patterns in my library there. ... And given the newfound obsession with garment sewing, the digital pattern library now extends over to Seamwork magazine, Colette, Grainline and other fabulous indie design houses.

Up until now, I've been happy to host my pattern PDFs on my iPad in the iBooks app. It was always a nice one-two punch to save them there, and open and read them there as I worked.


My iPad 2 won't last forever... and the iBooks app is starting to 'burp' when I launch it, which tells me that the end may be nigh. That, and recent vagaries of iCloud (where the h*ll are all those old photos, anyway?) have started to make me nervous. What would happen if my iPad failed to boot up one day? Where on earth did I buy that download of the Verb for Keeping Warm Endless Summer Tunic that I keep wanting to make more and more and more of?


So today I faced the inevitable - time to get those precious PDFs backed up into a safe location and revisit what apps I use to access them.

Unfortunately, it's not as easy as "grab them out of iBooks and export them into _______" - because the only apparent way to get them out of there is to export them individually with email. *le sigh*

In case any of you are in the same boat out there, here's how I've chosen to move forward with this:

1) Storage and access: DROPBOX. I've used Dropbox for work the last few years, and Boyhood and I enjoy how it gives us access to files from different computers without moving and managing mutiple copies. I started today by creating "Knitting Patterns" and "Sewing Patterns" folders in my Dropbox (which I have access to from my computer desktop, as well as on the web).

[I have many friends who love to use Evernote instead of Dropbox - I have accounts in both places, but for some reason I use Evernote for screenshots and receipts and such, more than files. But that could change!]

2) Migration: I started with the most precious sewing patterns, sending them as individual e-mails to my gmail account, then downloading them from there on my laptop into the proper folder in Dropbox. Right now, I own far more knitting than sewing patterns, so the knitting patterns have subfolders like "Cardigans," "Pullovers," "For the Neck" and so on, so I can find them again easily.

3) More Migration: I quickly realized that it would be quicker to download directly from my Ravelry library those patterns I bought through Ravelry (which is the lion's share, anyway). Oh, and added bonus: checking for updates and getting the latest and greatest versions into Dropbox!

4) Access: I carry my iPad with me from room to room and tuck it into my bag/purse when out and about, so I'm always sure that the pattern I might need to reference is right there (without having to look it up on my teeny tiny iPhone4 screen!). But from here on out, I think I'll save iBooks for actual books and reading material ... so where to look up my patterns?

Dropbox has a great iPad app, and an 'offline' function for those PDFs you'll want to open and read even when you're not connected via wifi. So I'll download and have ready for offline viewing those PDFs I'm currently working on.

And then I think I would like to use some of my free time now to learn KnitCompanion! I have friends who rave about the tracking functions, pattern-reading highlighter lines, etc. that make this such a good aid to knitters. I'm off to YouTube to look up some tutorials and get started!