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Tips & Techniques > Digital Fabric Stash "Management"

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Posted by: m1khaela

About m1khaela starstarstar
Member since: 8/19/05
Reviews: 76 (tips: 2)
Skill level:Intermediate
Favored by: 33 people
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Posted on: 3/18/10 6:30 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 2 people   Very Helpful by 20 people   
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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.

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SandiMacD said... (3/24/10 0:20 AM) Reply
And I thought I was the only one to database our books with LOC numbers! Makes it easy to track what friend has borrowed what. I have to look for that iTouch Fabric App. Databases are also fun for those low energy days when you just want to daydream. I think it might also help me when I am out shopping instead of trying to recall what I have at home. Thanks!
Mrs4Him said... (3/21/10 9:22 AM) Reply
m1khaela: The Fabric Organization Chart is kind of hidden, but here's how to find it: Go to 'knowledge base' at the top of the page; Go down the list to 'Organizing (fabric pattern notions etc.); Click on 'REVIEW-Fabric Organization Chart'. You will see Deepika's picture and a review. In that review you will see the words highlighted for the PDF organizational chart. Click on that and you'll go right to it. Hope this makes sense.
Laurie Lou said... (3/19/10 2:18 PM) Reply
Wow! that is should get an awrd for this. Organizing is a key...DO you know how much time I waste going thru all my "stuff" But then how long would it take me to put this togeher!??? I'm not that good with the tech fact I couldn't even download a pix on here. Maybe this would be a good time to get educated. Very nice....and fun blog!
m1khaela said... (3/19/10 8:08 AM) Reply
mrs4him: There is a form on PR for fabric stashes? Where is it? I do have a backup in iPhoto, since I take all the pictures that way. For iPhone users there is actually a $3 fabric stash management app called something like Fabric stash, but although my husband has an iTouch, I don't borrow it very often...
Mrs4Him said... (3/19/10 1:26 AM) Reply
I am so impressed with your review and your organization. I am an organizational freak, but I think it really pays off. What great ideas!!! Do you keep a backup on your own computer in case something happens with the info. on Flickr or elsewhere? Deepika created a form that is available on PR for fabric stashes.
Charrlie said... (3/19/10 0:55 AM) Reply
Great!! I will have to get more familiar with my computer. I am still trying to navigate through PR and find everything there first.
quathy said... (3/19/10 0:41 AM) Reply
You are my new hero of organizing! (And I alphabetize my spice rack for entertainment!) Nice work!
granny geek said... (3/19/10 0:34 AM) Reply
wow...and I thought I was
Patzee said... (3/19/10 0:14 AM) Reply
Amazing. So, that means your stash(s) are available on your iPhone. Guess we could use an app for that!
Olivedog said... (3/18/10 7:43 PM) Reply
Very cool!
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