Making the Most of Your Knitting Library

First of all, a very heartfelt ‘thank you’ to everyone who took the time to write me a little encouraging note yesterday. I have said it before & I will say it again — my readers are the best! Thank you for being so awesome! Please know that I really do love hearing from you & that you truly are welcome to contact me with general inquiries, specific knitting or spinning questions, topic suggestions, or just to say hi anytime. I am always compiling new post topics, new items to review, projects to write about, etc. and I am happy to find a way to include anything you may be curious about. To contact me, I have a little form on my ‘contact’ page and I do check those messages regularly. Thank you again, for all your encouragement & kind words — they really made my day and I am so glad to be a part of this community!

That being said, on to today’s topic. 20130606-104558.jpg

As you know, I’m in the middle of making some changes in my knitting life. For me much of any transition is finding a way to gain control over the ‘what comes next.’ This tends to trigger stress cleaning which leads to some new insane organization that miraculously allows me to comfortably move forward. Miraculous because the cleaning is always more emotional than calculated so it tends to feel like a surprise when suddenly my next step is easy. Nice how that works. And weird. Nice and weird.

Anyway, part of a recent stress cleaning exploit was that I started to catalog my physical knitting library into my Ravelry libraryย  (yes, I am really going to town using the organizational tools on Ravelry lately). As you know, patterns you purchase on Ravelry are automatically saved in your library, but what about the patterns you’ve purchased as hard copies or those that are contained in book or magazines? They sit on your shelf to be admired and — if you are anything like me — probably kind of forgotten.

What is the point of taking the time to add books & patterns to your Ravelry library? Well, the main benefit is that once added to your library, all those patterns become searchable online.ย  This means you can scroll through or do what is essentially an advanced pattern search of not the entire treasure trove of Ravelry patterns (beautiful rabbit hole that it is), but the patterns you’ve already added to your library. Along with the digital patterns purchased, hard copies of books & magazines can be added to your library as well as patterns or books not yet purchased. I tend to add only those items that are in my possession or individual patterns for which I have specific plans. You can make your own rules for what is added to your library, this is just how I roll.

Once added to my library, whether the criteria I want to meet in a search is a certain type of garment or accessory or a yarn uploaded into my stash I can now specifically search the patterns actually in my possession or bookmarked as patterns I plan to purchase. We’ve all bought or bookmarked patterns we love, patterns we must have right now, and then… totally forgotten about them because a new shiny pattern popped up in the ‘Hot Right Now’ list. Uploading these patterns into my library allows me to keep those favourites easily accessible.

Now you may be thinking, ‘Hey, all those books & magazines are already sitting 10feet from me. Why do I need to be able to search them online?’ Well, not only does adding books to the library automatically add all the patterns within those titles, adding magazines does the same thing. My Jane Austen Knits, knit.wear, Interweave Knits, etc — when I add those titles to my library all the patterns in all them become a part of my library’s database. This is huge for me. Huge. While I have a pretty good memory for which patterns are in my books, I am not as great at remembering those in magazines. Now they are all at my fingertips.


True, the uploading takes a bit of time, but in my opinion the time investment is a good one. It will streamline future searches and allow me to make the most of the fantastic library that I have. Yes, I think the Ravelry library tool is a pretty darn handy one.

Another bonus is that — like my stash & queue — now you, my friends, can see what titles I have in my library, too. I am always interested in what titles fellow knitters are reading & using and figure you might be also.ย  I must also admit that part of the drive for me to do this is the response I got to my review of Alana Dakos’ Botanical Knits. I have a lot of titles that are really excellent and cataloging them has helped me to start to plan further reviews for you. All such fun!

Of course now that I’ve written about how fantastic this next step of organization has been all I can think about is adding all my paper patterns into my online library. Maybe if the kids are playing nicely… and it’s rainy outside I can get that done, too…20130606-104611.jpg

Then again, maybe this is a bit much for a single afternoon…

Are we friends on Ravelry? We should be! Feel free to add me, TheKnittingSarah, so you can easily view my library, queue, FO’s and more!

25 thoughts on “Making the Most of Your Knitting Library”

  1. A big job, but definitely worth it. The only problem is keep it up. I’m ok with my books, but your binders, are reminding me how bad mine has gotten. What started as a well organized binder has degenerated to a number of printed patterns squished in beside magazines and trailiing patterns! You’ve inspired me to tackle it!

    1. I have a pile like that — it’s kind of an on-going project! LOL! I pull things out and then it takes a while for them to find their way back into the correct binder & section. For me, a good foundation is key. Once I had my paper patterns divided and organized into sections, I found that while the upkeep is still necessary and piles still build up over time, it is much quicker to get everything put away.

  2. I discovered how wonderful that feature is in Ravelry last when I did a “free” and “in my library” for something specific and didn’t realise what I was looking for was in some of my books. Well worth the effort.

    1. Absolutely! I found that I rarely use patterns out of the magazines I hang on to, but wow do they have a TON of patterns in them — I never really thought about it until I started adding them to my library. So easy to miss things when they aren’t easily searchable and that’s such a waste!

  3. I have also added all my books and magazines, found it to be so wonderful and life became more stress free to have it all right at my fingertips while at stores. I don’t buy a duplicate. But my question… How do you add an individual pattern you didn’t purchase through Ravelry. When I did my books I could not figure this out… I will have to revisit it. I am behind in my stash collection and unlike you I do not have pictures of each…this then becomes a brain exercise for me. I have never added my FO. Maybe someday. That seems too private for me to add. But I love following you great works. I have flagged so many as favorites that I hope to knit someday.

    1. As long as the pattern is on Ravelry you can add individual patterns to your library. If they are hard copies or you didn’t buy them on Ravelry or you just haven’t purchased them yet, you won’t be able to download them (there won’t be that little download button in the pattern listing in your library), but they will be listed in your library and thus part of that database.

      To add individual patterns, you can do the exact same thing you did to enter books. If you go into your library, click on the ‘add items to my library’ button, then enter the title or author’s name — at this point, I often just search for multiple patterns by name in the ‘add several books/magazines at once’ (it works for individual patterns, too). When the patterns come up just click on the ‘add to library’ button and they will be automatically filed in the ‘Single Patterns’ folder.

      The only bummer is that you can’t open up the pattern and view it because the electronic version doesn’t exist there, but for most purposes — selecting yarn or supplies, etc — you can get the information you need on the pattern’s page on Ravelry. For this reason, for the most part I have stopped buying paper copies of patterns unless they are accompanied by an e-version (some come with a code allowing you to access the PDF also). I do like to be able to access the whole pattern when possible.

      As for the photos — if you have a smartphone or tablet, most likely taking photos of your stash & WIPs/FOs and uploading them to Ravelry can be really quick and easy if you want to do it. If you don’t, that’s totally fine, too, of course, but my ginormous stash of yarn only took a couple hours to organize & photograph. That’s one thing technology actually made really quick & easy.

      I’m glad you enjoy seeing my projects! While it’s true that I like to take pretty pictures of them because they are labors of love, I actually really like being able to look at the notes I take & the photos because every now and then I come back to a project and knit a pattern again. The notes & photos help me streamline the next run at a pattern. Of course, I also like that I can help & inspire others, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. This is a great idea! I’ve already got my stash on there. Well most of it… Well a good half of it! I might do the pattern adding at some point, i think it woud be really helpful. I’ll definitely add you as a friend! ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. Wonderful! I love sharing project ideas so much! If you didn’t know, the Christmas baubles are an ongoing KAL — we welcome (and encourage) new knitters anytime. *wink, wink*

      2. Well, if it makes you feel better, ours is very chill & flexible and the baubles are very quick — we only do one or two a month, so the schedule is very easy to meet. ๐Ÿ™‚

        A couple links to get you set up:

        The original post that started the KAL that tells you what supplies you need (again, it is very flexible and really the book is the only ‘must-have’):

        A link to our Ravelry group — please pop over & say hi and feel free to post photos, questions, and general what-not here. The group is super friendly & generally awesome:

        And the latest announcement for June’s bauble. You can pick whichever you like, but I always post the ‘official’ ball at the start of each month:

        Have fun!

  5. Wow, I am impressed. Can you do mine for me since you have it down pat? ๐Ÿ™‚ Being organized always makes thing easier, only I have to first get my self organized to get organizing, that’s the hard part. LOL I am inspired to try that on my Ravelry Library. Great information!

    1. I’s a total pain to get started, but it kind of snowballs once you get going. I thought my 3 binders of individuals patterns would take forever, it it took me about an hour. Just commit & get it done & you’ll be happy you did!

  6. I too have been organizing… (yarn, shade cards, (which I love to make, geekily) and books. In fact, I was blown out of the water when I realized how the Rav library data base worked . Thanks to Rav for being such an amazing network !

    1. Agreed! I was not expecting it to be so… effective & useful. And yay for organization. I have never made a shade card, it now you have me thinking….

      1. Yup, well, I buy a lot of a couple of favorite yarn companies, and everytime, I add (a generous yard, folded in quarters) a length of it into a clipped hole and label it. I find that this is addictive… (wanting to buy more yarn, to add it to my shades,…lol. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I uploaded my stash recently, too! I am finding that with the tools available on Ravelry, the time investment in uploading all my stash & library is totally paying off! But yes, it is kind of an undertaking!

Comments are closed.