Saturday, 28 April 2012

Super-Amazing Organisational Tool - The answer to pattern and project management?!

OK, I'll start this off with a disclaimer: I'm excited and therefore this post is likely to contain many exclamation marks.

Remember my Excel spreadsheet of fabric and pattern management? 

Yeah, it isn't exactly sexy, is it?  Well, it's definitely flawed.  I have kept up the system, but its main failings are:
  • I can only view it from my phone if I convert it to PDF, which I therefore have to do each time I update it ... and I'm not saying that I buy a lot of vintage patterns, but it gets updated a lot.
  • It's a spreadsheet.  Spreadsheets are, well, boring.  (Sorry to anyone who finds spreadsheets thrilling ... though you might need specialist help!)
  • The pictures are quite small and there's only really room for one.
  • The inclusion of pictures at all makes for quite a big file.
  • Did I mention that it's a spreadsheet?
The first one is perhaps the most annoying, and so I've been looking for a good organisational system, programme or app that I can use equally well on my laptop and my phone.  My criteria weren't exactly demanding:
  • Combining and organising text and images with notes on patterns.
  • Being able to sort patterns according to how much fabric they require.
  • Aesthetically pleasing.
  • Being able to group patterns, pictures of fabric and inspiration images by project.
At least, I didn't think it was too demanding, but everything I've tried just wasn't quite right.  I thought of Pinterest, but that seems more focused on the image side of things ... plus I can see myself getting addicted to it and I need to save my time for actually doing things!

But then my stepmother posted this article about Springpad.  The article explains it better than I can, but, in short, Springpad does all those things ... and more!  You create 'notebooks' for each project, which you can use to organise and collect images, notes, to do lists, calendar reminders, alarms, products (with links to places to buy them), videos, bookmarks, recipes, music and more. 

I've only had a quick play around, but already I'm hooked.  I've started knitting my first jumper/sweater (eek!) and I've collected video tutorials for certain sections, pictures of the finished top, as well as a link to the pattern's Ravelry page.  Instead of bookmarking these things and having to search through folders, I've got all that information in one place.  It's simple, but perfect.

And you can share your notebooks or keep them private.  For instance, say you've got a group project - you can all work on it and receive alerts when someone else updates it.

Or if you've got a grocery list, you can share that with your partner or housemate, you can both update it and when one of you goes to the shop, you've got access to it there on your smartphone.  Or, even more bonkers, you can put recipes in your notebooks and Springpad will create a shopping list for you!

I'm still experimenting at the moment with the best way to arrange it all, but I can see myself having notebooks for each of my projects with mood board images, pattern details and pictures, as well as pictures of the fabric and links to tutorials for features I want to try out (like bound buttonholes).  I'll also be looking at how to record all my patterns, but the great thing is that I can tag them with the yardage, so they can be sorted by amount of fabric required.

Is it sad that I'm super excited about this?  Yeah, I thought so.


  1. That sounds interesting ...I have started to use Evernote, but have not invested lots of time in it, using it more for dumping finds & coming back to them later ...

    1. Yeah, that's the thing I love about Springpad: you can add a button on your link bar that will add whatever page you're on to one of your notebooks. Really, I'm a little obsessed with this thing, haha!


I really do love reading your comments, so thanks for leaving them! x