Organizing Your Pattern Stash

It’s one thing to have an out-of-control yarn stash. It’s a whole other thing when you lose control of your pattern stash.

What makes up your pattern stash? Mine includes:

  • Patterns from yarn wrappers
  • Free patterns, usually from stores like Michael’s or Jo-Ann Fabrics
  • Knitting books
  • Knitting magazines
  • Patterns bought at local yarn stores, the ones you keep nice in their page protectors
  • Printouts of free patterns published on yarn company websites or knitting magazines
  • The small handful of patterns that I’ve attempted to design myself (available here!)
  • Patterns from other designers on Ravelry
  • The ever-growing list of favorites on Ravelry

Now what are you going to do the next time you want to make something, or someone asks you if you have any patterns for a nice scarf? Wouldn’t it be easier to keep all your patterns in one place?

I usually start my search by going straight to the Ravelry database. Before I discovered this amazing site, I would go to yarn company websites or online knitting magazines to look at their free patterns. Most times, I would forget to look through my physical pattern stash. But can you blame me?

At the start of this week, my pattern stash was best described as an organized chaos. There were manila folders of free patterns and yarn wrappers organized by type of pattern and a few magazine boxes holding the books and magazines and booklets. This is an decent pattern stash, but I felt like I could do better.

Since I like to start my pattern search on Ravelry, I started by entering my physical stash into my Ravelry library. This is a slow-going chore made more enjoyable by opening up Pandora or putting iTunes on shuffle. A good soundtrack makes most chores a little more fun! Set aside any duplicate patterns you find. These things will happen! Keep the best copy of the pattern. You can then share the copies with your knitting friends or add them to the recycling. It’s up to you.

The process:

  1. Log in to Ravelry
  2. Click the pattern tab
  3. Search the title of your pattern
  4. Click the correct pattern
  5. Click the Add to Library button

You may need to search for a specific designer or brand studio to find the right pattern. A lot of my patterns were on Lion Brand yarn labels, so I searched for their design studio first.

Chances are that some of your patterns aren’t listed on Ravelry yet, or they are listed under a different name. I still have a stack of handwritten patterns and yarn wrappers with patterns that I haven’t found yet on Ravelry. That will be a research project for another week. Grandma sometimes indicated which book or magazine issue she found the pattern in, which will help. In the meantime, I can focus on organizing the patterns I was able to find, both in my physical pattern stash and in my Ravelry library.

These are the materials I used to organize my pattern stash:

  • A binder big enough to hold the current pattern stash, plus room to add more
  • As many page protectors as I could find
  • Several tabbed dividers

I put each pattern into its own page protector, including full-page patterns, half-page sheets, and yarn wrappers. Whenever possible, I displayed a picture of the finished project in the front. I think the page protectors give the pattern library a little more polished look. Then, I put everything into piles according to the type of project – blankets, scarves and cowls, plushies, etc. In each pile, I sorted the patterns into alphabetical order. Finally, I filled up the binder, separating each

My crafting hobby is not limited to knitting and crocheting. I also enjoy cross-stitching and trying out other crafts like quilting and basket-weaving. My pattern stash for these crafts is much smaller, but still needs to be organized, so I used a smaller binder for all the cross-stitching, latch hook, and sewing projects.

It’s so nice to have all those patterns organized in one place. Plus, the binders will now fit nicely on the bookshelf along with all the magazines and pattern books. I hope this will be a useful organization trick for your own pattern stash!


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