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Thread: Organizing my Downloaded Patterns

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    385

    Organizing my Downloaded Patterns

    Like most of you, I have tons of saved and downloaded patterns on my PC. This is my method for organizing those files, as with any method, there is work to set it up and to maintain it. My method helps me find patterns quicker and let's me browse my saved patterns easily. There are likely other ways to do this, but this method does not need special software, only Microsoft Word. (I am sure that those with Macs can adapt this strategy).

    History: When I started saving patterns, everything was saved into my "Quilting" folder, until it got too unruly, then I created folders under the "Quilting" folder, into categories like "Baby", "BOM", "BucketList". Then each BOM needed its own folder. Then the different category folders got unruly and needed to be divided (for example the "Baby" folder was expanded into "Baby Girl", "Baby Boy", "Baby Generic" etc.) Before long, I had oodles of folders that needed to be searched whenever I wanted a specific pattern or I was looking for a pattern for my next project. Did I save that pattern under "Scrappy", "BucketList" or "Baby"? Within each folder, the filename didn't always reflect the quilt name and the only way to see the pattern was to open each file. Or I remembered what the quilt looked like but not the pattern name. Also my various BOM folders were impossible to search, which month was it for a particular pattern? or worse have I saved this month's block? The ONLY way to search was to open each PDF or Word document within the BOM folder, to check if it was the correct one. Does this sound familiar????

    Solution: In each folder I created a Word document called "00-Index-foldername". Starting the file name with a double zero means this file should be the first file in your folder listing or near the top. This file contains an index or summary of all the patterns in this folder, with a picture and a brief description for each pattern. I included the foldername in my index filename because it minimized confusion which index I was using. Likewise, I added the folder name as the first line of this file.

    Following the folder information in the "00-Index-foldername" file, I inserted a table with two columns and oodles of rows. Each filename or pattern has its own row in this table. I gathered information about the pattern that I wanted to save and copied information like file name, pattern name, quilt size, difficulty level, etc. into my index file. The "00-Index-foldername" looks something like this:

    Index for folder: Baby Quilts

    Filename: abc.pdf
    Pattern: "Amazing ABC Quilt"
    Size: 50" by 60"
    Difficulty: Easy
    Type: Baby Quilt
    Comments: Uses Jellyrolls
    <insert picture of quilt>
    Filename: animals.pdf
    Pattern:
    Size:
    Difficulty:
    Type:
    Comments:
    Filename: azzz.docx
    Pattern:
    Size:
    Difficulty:
    Type:
    Comments:

    In the second column I copy an image of the quilt either from:
    • the pdf using "copy image" or the "snapshot tool'
    • or via Google

    Finding the image can be challenging!! The image needs to be resized to a smaller image to make it fit into the table. I usually get about 4 rows to a page.

    Sometimes, there are multiple files associated with a pattern. I either create a sub-folder for these files or rename the files so they appear alphabetically adjacent. (e.g. ABC.pdf ABC-templates.pdf) I list either the sub-folder name or all the files for a pattern in a single row. It isn't necessary to create an index for this new sub-folder because the information for this pattern is already included in the orginal folder.

    For my BOM (Block of the Month) folders, I use a 3 by 4 table and add the block's image AFTER I copy the new file into the BOM folder. This example shows that I have already copied the June's block into this BOM folder:
    BOM Name: XXXXXX
    BOM Website: www.xxxxx.com/BOM

    January
    <block image>
    February
    <block Image>
    March
    <block Image>
    April
    <block Image>
    May
    <block Image>
    June
    <block Image>
    July August September
    October November December
    This gives a great visual check which month's blocks are saved. I do rename the filenames, starting with "01" for January, so my saved blocks are ordered sequentially by month.

    Steps to Impliment:
    • Initially: I created a "00-Index-foldername" with a skelton format. Adding only the filenames in this folder. For example, this file "00-Index-Baby" would contain all the files in folder "Baby":

    Index for folder: Baby
    Filename: abc.pdf
    Pattern:
    Size:
    Difficulty:
    Type:
    Comments:
    Filename: animals.pdf
    Pattern:
    Size:
    Difficulty:
    Type:
    Comments:
    Filename: azzz.docx
    Pattern:
    Size:
    Difficulty:
    Type:
    Comments:
    I did copy these skelton files as templates into other folder and thus the foldername information became very important.

    • Populating the Index Files: Whenever I have some time, I update the "00-Index-foldername" file for a folder. During this process, I found many duplicate patterns, "why did I save this?" patterns, and incomplete patterns (missing templates or instructions). I deleted these files (remembering to remove them from my Index files too). I merged numerous folders that weren't necessary (e.g. all my different baby and kid-related folders were merged into one folder).
    • Maintenance: When I add new pattern files into a folder, I insert a new row keeping my "00-Index-foldername" in alphabetic order. Add the information for this new quilt pattern into the table. Likewise, if I remove a pattern file, I remove it from my "00-Index-foldername" file. Since all folders had a Index file either skelton or completed this maintenance could be performed.
    • Organized Files: Viola ... you can now view all the patterns with a brief summary, saved in any folder by opening only one file.


    I chose to keep the index information alphabetically by file name instead of by pattern name because my order in the "00-Index-foldername" file matches the directory listing. You could rename each file to its pattern name but this was additional effort that I chose not to do.

    YES - this is work to implement however for me it was worth the effort. My saved patterns went from chaos to being organized. I love seeing each BOM block at a glance. I purged patterns that I would NEVER make and I found patterns that I want to start ASAP. This system is working for me and hope that it can help you too.

  2. #2
    Super Member GEMRM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    South West Ontario
    Posts
    1,843
    Wow, that is a pretty cool organization tool! Thank you for sharing! You must have so many patterns!
    A husband is the perfect confidant to tell your secrets to - he can't reveal them to anyone else because he wasn't really listening when you told him!

  3. #3
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    N.E. England
    Posts
    1,134
    Well my computer is chock full of pictures and patterns so I think I'm going to save this info and hopefully get round to sorting mine. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. #4
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Southern California
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    Interesting. Most of my patterns I have are PDF. I try to file them in folders from where they came from such as Fabric Manufacturers, Craftsy, Annie or quilt magazines.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bneighbor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    NE Ohio
    Posts
    463
    My organization system is similar to yours, except I have everything on a 2T external hard drive. I actually have one for my machine embroidery designs and one for quilting/ sewing/ crafts, etc. I only keep design files on my computer when I am working with them (creating design layouts, etc.) when I need to take the project to my machine, I transfer the information to USB drive. When I am finished with the project, or no longer in need of that particular design, I clear it from my computer and the USB drive. I have a complete copy of those external drives, which I store off site, in case of fire or flood.
    With all my "stuff" on external hard drives, I am not as concerned if my computer decides to take a vacation on me (agh, Windows 10 decided to take over my computer. I had planned on the update, but not in the middle of a project.)
    In conversation with my insurance company, she said my insurance would only cover $1,000. for "data" loss. WHAT??? I have many thousands of dollars in embroidery designs! We put a rider on our insurance for my software, computers, designs, machines (5), and working items such as stabilizers and thread.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    883
    "the filename didn't always reflect the quilt name and the only way to see the pattern was to open each file"

    I have Windows 7 and when I open a document(pdf or .docx) I see the item in the preview pane to the right side. Perhaps yours is shut off? In the upper corner is a circle with a question mark. To the left of that is the icon for the preview pane which you can have on or off.

    Hopes this helps.
    Sally

  7. #7
    Super Member kittenquilts's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Currently,Missouri
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    Great ideas! Thanks for sharing!
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/kittenquilt

  8. #8
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Manteno, IL
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    thanks for sharing....very useful!!

  9. #9
    Super Member
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    Jan 2014
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    Arlington, MN
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    Looks like you have a system going.

  10. #10
    Power Poster
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    Great organization...

  11. #11
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by my-ty View Post
    Like most of you, I have tons of saved and downloaded patterns on my PC. This is my method for organizing those files, as with any method, there is work to set it up and to maintain it. My method helps me find patterns quicker and let's me browse my saved patterns easily. There are likely other ways to do this, but this method does not need special software, only Microsoft Word. (I am sure that those with Macs can adapt this strategy).

    History: When I started saving patterns, everything was saved into my "Quilting" folder, until it got too unruly, then I created folders under the "Quilting" folder, into categories like "Baby", "BOM", "BucketList". Then each BOM needed its own folder. Then the different category folders got unruly and needed to be divided (for example the "Baby" folder was expanded into "Baby Girl", "Baby Boy", "Baby Generic" etc.) Before long, I had oodles of folders that needed to be searched whenever I wanted a specific pattern or I was looking for a pattern for my next project. Did I save that pattern under "Scrappy", "BucketList" or "Baby"? Within each folder, the filename didn't always reflect the quilt name and the only way to see the pattern was to open each file. Or I remembered what the quilt looked like but not the pattern name. Also my various BOM folders were impossible to search, which month was it for a particular pattern? or worse have I saved this month's block? The ONLY way to search was to open each PDF or Word document within the BOM folder, to check if it was the correct one. Does this sound familiar????

    Solution: In each folder I created a Word document called "00-Index-foldername". Starting the file name with a double zero means this file should be the first file in your folder listing or near the top. This file contains an index or summary of all the patterns in this folder, with a picture and a brief description for each pattern. I included the foldername in my index filename because it minimized confusion which index I was using. Likewise, I added the folder name as the first line of this file.

    Following the folder information in the "00-Index-foldername" file, I inserted a table with two columns and oodles of rows. Each filename or pattern has its own row in this table. I gathered information about the pattern that I wanted to save and copied information like file name, pattern name, quilt size, difficulty level, etc. into my index file. The "00-Index-foldername" looks something like this:
    Index for folder: Baby Quilts

    Filename: abc.pdf
    Pattern: "Amazing ABC Quilt"
    Size: 50" by 60"
    Difficulty: Easy
    Type: Baby Quilt
    Comments: Uses Jellyrolls
    <insert picture of quilt>
    Filename: animals.pdf
    Pattern:
    Size:
    Difficulty:
    Type:
    Comments:
    Filename: azzz.docx
    Pattern:
    Size:
    Difficulty:
    Type:
    Comments:

    In the second column I copy an image of the quilt either from:
    • the pdf using "copy image" or the "snapshot tool'
    • or via Google

    Finding the image can be challenging!! The image needs to be resized to a smaller image to make it fit into the table. I usually get about 4 rows to a page.

    Sometimes, there are multiple files associated with a pattern. I either create a sub-folder for these files or rename the files so they appear alphabetically adjacent. (e.g. ABC.pdf ABC-templates.pdf) I list either the sub-folder name or all the files for a pattern in a single row. It isn't necessary to create an index for this new sub-folder because the information for this pattern is already included in the orginal folder.

    For my BOM (Block of the Month) folders, I use a 3 by 4 table and add the block's image AFTER I copy the new file into the BOM folder. This example shows that I have already copied the June's block into this BOM folder:
    BOM Name: XXXXXX
    BOM Website: www.xxxxx.com/BOM

    January
    <block image>
    February
    <block Image>
    March
    <block Image>
    April
    <block Image>
    May
    <block Image>
    June
    <block Image>
    July August September
    October November December
    This gives a great visual check which month's blocks are saved. I do rename the filenames, starting with "01" for January, so my saved blocks are ordered sequentially by month.

    Steps to Impliment:
    • Initially: I created a "00-Index-foldername" with a skelton format. Adding only the filenames in this folder. For example, this file "00-Index-Baby" would contain all the files in folder "Baby":

    Index for folder: Baby
    Filename: abc.pdf
    Pattern:
    Size:
    Difficulty:
    Type:
    Comments:
    Filename: animals.pdf
    Pattern:
    Size:
    Difficulty:
    Type:
    Comments:
    Filename: azzz.docx
    Pattern:
    Size:
    Difficulty:
    Type:
    Comments:
    I did copy these skelton files as templates into other folder and thus the foldername information became very important.

    • Populating the Index Files: Whenever I have some time, I update the "00-Index-foldername" file for a folder. During this process, I found many duplicate patterns, "why did I save this?" patterns, and incomplete patterns (missing templates or instructions). I deleted these files (remembering to remove them from my Index files too). I merged numerous folders that weren't necessary (e.g. all my different baby and kid-related folders were merged into one folder).
    • Maintenance: When I add new pattern files into a folder, I insert a new row keeping my "00-Index-foldername" in alphabetic order. Add the information for this new quilt pattern into the table. Likewise, if I remove a pattern file, I remove it from my "00-Index-foldername" file. Since all folders had a Index file either skelton or completed this maintenance could be performed.
    • Organized Files: Viola ... you can now view all the patterns with a brief summary, saved in any folder by opening only one file.


    I chose to keep the index information alphabetically by file name instead of by pattern name because my order in the "00-Index-foldername" file matches the directory listing. You could rename each file to its pattern name but this was additional effort that I chose not to do.

    YES - this is work to implement however for me it was worth the effort. My saved patterns went from chaos to being organized. I love seeing each BOM block at a glance. I purged patterns that I would NEVER make and I found patterns that I want to start ASAP. This system is working for me and hope that it can help you too.
    thanks so much for all of this! i especially like the Index for folder:
    Nancy in western NY
    before you speak T.H.I.N.K.
    T is it True? H is it Helpful? I is it Inspiring? N is it Necessary? K is it Kind?

    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

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