I've left my knitting days behind me (mainly) thanks to carpal tunnel, but one thing I really miss about knitting is Ravelry's yarn stash management function. For example, here's my neglected yarn stash, with photos and details of remaining yardage, weight, color, fiber, etc. Every time I acquired a new yarn, I'd photograph it:
I've been spending much more time here at PatternReview these days. As you know, PR does have a fabulous pattern catalog function that lets you directly link to all the reviews of the patterns in your stash and see how other sewists have made out with those patterns (similar to Ravelry's "projects" feature). Here's a peek at mine:
But how to manage the fabric stash?
Well, I'm a digital girl, with a digital camera, and I like being able to use fabric images for my digital sketches. I have only a few small cramped drawers in which to hold my modest apartment-dweller-sized stash (which is why half my fabrics are in my "sock" drawer), and it's hard for me to see or remember what I have or dig it out.
So before I started sewing again, I took an evening to photograph, measure and catalog EVERYTHING in the stash using Flickr, and as I acquire new fabrics (or use up existing ones) I've been updating my digital fabric catalog fastidiously. I note yardage, fabric type and content, where I purchased it and for how much (if I remember), any descriptive or fabric care details I have available, and if I get a sudden idea, what I might use it for. Here's a sample individual page from the stash:
For now I've split it into four categories, but I'm thinking of giving the quilting cottons a separate area away from the apparel fabrics:
I've mainly shoved the blacks, whites and grays in the "cool" category, and when a fabric has both warm and cool colors I've sometimes put it in both places.
I find all this organization bizarrely satisfying, but then again, I'm the same girl who once decided to make Library of Congress catalog labels for all my books (though I had to give up, since I have well over 1,000 books). And I find watching slideshows of my stash very inspirational (and guilt-inducing)! So while I'd like to call this digital stash management, I fear it may be more like digital stash self-enable-ment.
Oh, and although I love the PR catalog feature, I do also catalog my patterns in Flickr, mainly so I can also see the back views and flats. These are just split by woven vs. knit, but I think I might break out children's patterns into their own area:
This is what works for me--hope it might be useful to others!
P.S. This tip also appears on my blog, Polka Dot Overload.