Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Knitting & Technology

I've been busy!  Between the spring yard work and the prep inside to replace our flooring I've been working on organizing and preserving my knitting patterns.  I had a few 3 ring binders full of patterns as well as patterns scattered throughout my work spaces.  About a year ago I started on a quest to save these patterns electronically and portable! 

I started with the Barnes & Noble Nook.  After having living a nightmare of freezing up and deplorable customer service I bought an Amazon Kindle with free 3G and wifi.  Both were capable of saving my patterns and with the Kindle I had more books available for free and a fee than I did with the Nook.  My Kindle also had a beta of a web-browser that was clunky and difficult to navigate, but I could see where Amazon was going.

So on the day of its release we purchased 2 Kindle Fires (KF) for my husband and myself.  I was able to "side load" the patterns I had on my computer into the KF and I was relatively pleased with the venture.  Unfortunately, in order to purchase a new book I had to be somewhere with wifi, because it's Android driven with apps and a web browser, so no more free 3G.  With Acrobat, I was able to turn any pattern that was a jpg or Word document into a PDF for the KF.  But I still had many patterns in the 3 ring binders that were not on the computer that I had been collecting since about 2005. Enter, the iPad.

Our Android phones and the Kindle Fires were supposed to make it so that we didn't need/want iPads.  It didn't work.  We bit the bullet and invested in iPads, which carries with it additional $$ to our phone bill, but I'm convinced it's worth it.  The husband plans to drop his android phone when its time to "upgrade", that's a year and a half away.  For now I think I'll keep mine.

While we were waiting for our iPads to arrive my printer went belly up.  I'd had it for close to 10 years so I guess I should have not been surprised.  It was still usable for text but any graphics left an inky disaster.  Thankfully, NewEgg had a sale on a nice Canon (I love Canon) for about $70.  We rarely used the color print ability so elected to get this monochrome deal.   It also scans and copies.  Little did I know this was going to become an important feature.

All the patterns on my computer that were already PDFs were moved to my iPad.  I liked this better than the KF because there was an actual color picture of the project displayed on the "book shelf".  On the KF was only a white sheet of paper with the file name.  Workable, but the iPad does it better. 

As I looked through 3 ring binders for patterns that I may be able to find again online I was struck with a thought and asked my graphics artist husband, "Hey, if I scan these can I turn them into PDFs."  The answer was yes I could.  As soon as I hit the "toolbox" icon on my desktop to start scanning a familiar program opened up.  Oh my, I use this program every night at work when I scan patient files into the computer!  Which are scanned immediately into PDFs!  Easy-peasy!  In no time I had all my patterns loaded into my iPad.

If I walk into a yarn store I will have my patterns with me.


  1. But what happens if you have no electricity? (ducking and running) Seriously, though. What was wrong with having all your patterns in your 3-ring binders? Solar flares, EMPs? Oooops, I think we're on diverging paths of saving important information.

  2. Perfectly reasonable question and I even have answers!

    No electricity-if I'm already working on a project, it's been printed out and with the project itself. If we're talking long term outage. *shrug* I have enough knitting books with patterns to keep me busy for a long time.

    What was wrong with 3-ring binders?-Storage. They're bulky and take up space. I usually ended up printing out a pattern again so I wouldn't mess up the pretty color pictures shoving them into the bag, marking on them and folding.

    Since e-readers have come on the scene I have been able to make choices. We have about 15 bookcases that are 6ft tall by 4ft wide. No longer do they have fiction novels taking up space and are full of non-fiction. From history books to surviving the end of the world. From tanning hides to making jerky. My little bookcase of knitting books will continue to grow. The patterns from the internet? They go in the iPad. I'll make that sacrifice should the zombie apocalypse come.