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Tips & Techniques

Patterns, Charts & Magazines -- Oh My!

"I only need a few charts," said no stitcher EVER! Let's admit it -- we have charts, charts, charts and more charts. We have books, magazines, leaflets -- patterns, patterns everywhere! We need them to stitch and to admire, but how do we tame this paper beast? Well, here are a few suggestions from my own chart storage and from others:

  1. Books. I'm a sucker for books: novels, pattern books, how-to guides, non-fiction -- it really doesn't matter to me. I collect them all and am always looking for ways to store and display them. For my stitching books, I have two primary ways of handling my collection:
    1. My favorites -- the ones that have interesting spines or pretty covers -- are stacked on the corner of my sewing desk and act as a base for my OttLite®. They serve a dual purpose: they're accessible and organized, and they're a nice addition to my desk.
    2. My other favorites are shelved according to subject and theme. I store them so that the spines are visible. It is easy for me to find them when I need them.
    3. For books that I don't access very often, I store them in a plastic drawer in the back of the closet. They're still accessible if I need them, but they are out of the way and safe.
  2. Magazines.
    1. Binders. This is one of my preferred methods of storing my magazines. I group the magazines together by title and then by year, and I use a fabulous invention called Craft Book Holders. These handy-dandy little guys allow you to slip your magazine through the opening and then into a 3-ring binder. You can order your set here.
    2. Magazine Holders. This is my other favorite method of storing magazines. Again, I organize them by title, and then by year and month. They stack and stand so neatly in the holder. I'm partial to the heavy-duty cardboard kind that can be painted or covered with paper or fabric, but I also love the solid-side plastic versions. If you get the plastic ones with the openings on the sides, be careful when pulling your magazine in and out as the plastic sides can tear your covers.
    3. Boxes. When I moved in the spring, I moved all of my magazines to small boxes to move more easily; if I'm being honest, some of them are still in those boxes. It drives me crazy, so I don't store mine in boxes because of personal preference; however, I know friends and other stitchers who do. That works for them, so it works. A common theme in organization is to do what works for you.
    4. If your storage is limited or you're trying to cut back on papers, the new JCS and SANQ 10-year collection DVDs are available and include every page of every issue from 2001-2010. For more information or to order yours, click here for JCS and here for SANQ.
  3. Leaflets and Patterns. This is the majority of my collection. I have scores -- OK, hundreds. I'm not ashamed; I'll admit it. Admission is the first step, right?
    1. Notebooks. Using the book holders mentioned earlier, it's fairly simple to organize your collection in notebooks by designer, theme, etc.
    2. Clear Plastic Sleeves. This is a very close cousin to the notebook step above, except that each pattern or leaflet is inserted into a clear plastic sleeve (available at office supply stores), which is then inserted into a 3-ring binder. This is actually the way I store the majority of my leaflets because I can see the fronts at a glance, and it's easy to remove them and get to stitching. I organize mine by designer in large 3" D-ring binders.
    3. File Cabinets. I also have a good number of my leaflets and patterns in a file cabinet in my library/sewing room. Most of these came in their own plastic bags so it was super easy to drop them into hanging file folders (color-coded, of course). Again, they're quick to access and get started, so all is well.
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