So, at the end of August I was invited to speak at the Evernote Trunk Conference. Despite writing out a full speech and practicing it over and over, I mostly went off script. Evernote has been kind enough to post the video specifically (I’m sure) so I could show my family. You can see all of the presentations as well as mine here (my presentation is under the “Life Series Video” with the title “Hobbyist’s Guide to Evernote.” Yeah, that’s me in the screen grab).
So what to do with my awesome script to be saved on the internet for posterity forever? Ah, through my blog, of course! Without further ado, here is my presentation on Evernote and knitting, as written!
Hello. My name is Jenni and I’m a knitter.
Me, all mic’d up and ready to dazzle! No, really, my shirt had sparkles and those lights were really bright!
I know with that statement, you are all looking at the time without being noticed, trying to figure out how you can covertly pull out your phone and pass the time waiting to hear about Rebecca’s amazing adventures. Chances are you are not knitters and really don’t want to hear someone talk about it.
But give me 10 minutes to share with you how my experience with using Evernote for my knitting has changed the way I use Evernote in every part of my life.
I have been knitting for about 10 years. My mom and I began knitting at about the same time. During that time, a person can collect a lot of needles, yarns, patterns and supplies. It didn’t bother me too much and I really only worked on one project at a time, never purchasing more yarn than I needed for the project at hand. I kept a list of the needles I had in my purse so I had that information when I was shopping for new projects. Well, it wasn’t up to date, but it listed most of the needles I had at home.
When my mom died a few years ago, it didn’t take too long to realize her approach to knitting was different than mine. My mom never met a yarn or pattern she didn’t want to try. When she gathered up the supplies to start a new project, my mom didn’t bother checking to see if she already had the needles at home, she just bought new ones. Her patterns were in binders or folded with projects in plastic bags or maybe bookmarked in one of her pattern books somewhere in the house. I have since found half finished projects, patterns, yarn, needles and supplies in every corner of the house. That left me a lot of stuff to deal with and organize.
I bet you can see where I am going with this by now!
Up until that point, I had used Evernote to gather interesting information and to keep notes on my children’s health, such as their immunization records and allergies.
Evernote proved to be a great place to keep that information organized. It was all in one place, organized and easy to search and I could access it a lot of different ways anywhere I was.
Faced with a box full of dozens of needles of different sizes and types, I needed to find a better way to keep track of her needles and mine.
Do you scrapbook? Is it hard to keep track of your stencils, dye cuts? Have you picked up painting? Do you know what paints you have on hand at a given time? Have you, like me, inherited someone else’s craft supplies and are faced with just trying to remember the plethora of stuff you now have?
In my case, I needed something that would allow me to organize all of my crafting stuff as well as take my knitting information with me when I was out and about. Knitters and crocheters don’t like to sit around with nothing in their hands. We often get antsy and distracted. In fact, I have a project in my purse right now that I keep with me at all times. And of course, we may need to stop at a new yarn store at any time if the opportunity presents itself. It’s good to know what I have on hand at home.
And really, who wants to have to make a million trips to the store to return duplicates or go run again to pick up something you thought you had that you, in fact, were out of?
Can you keep track of all the things you need for your crafting in your head? I can’t! In the past, I would have to make a photocopy of the pattern I was working on, keeping it folded up in my bag … and unfolded to read, and folded to put away and unfolded to read again. Paper doesn’t like to be folded again and again, so the patterns would rip. Any notes I made on the pattern then had to be transferred to the original and I don’t write in my books.
And when I finished a project, I would give it to the person I made it for and never see it again. All that hard work and I wouldn’t even have a good way to remember what it even looked like unless I happened to visit someone and saw it prominently on display in their home.
Ok, so, back to organizing my mom’s needles. I had to do something so I knew what needles I now had. I could create a spreadsheet, but then I wouldn’t have it with me at all times. So I decided to create a note in Evernote with all of the needles including sizes and type in a format that was useful to me (don’t worry, I won’t bore you with the details on how many different kinds of needles there are out there).
I didn’t stop there. I clipped patterns from websites. I scanned in patterns that I had purchased. I began pushing myself with my knitting techniques and created a folder that included videos and tutorials that I have referred to over and over. I have begun to capture inspiration and ideas and photos of my finished projects.
Then, I learned about note links. I won’t lie. At first I thought they were the silliest thing ever. Why on earth would l need a link in a note to another note when the search function is pretty great. And then I had to open a pattern on my phone while I was out.
I’ll admit it: organizing my knitting was my gateway into Evernote organizational domination. All of a sudden, I had a whole world of possibilities open up and I found so many ways I could organize all types of notes for all types of things in my life in Evernote!
I’m pretty type A when it comes to organizing my notes in Evernote. I have notebooks for every category in my life—personal, the house, each kid, knitting, work, blog, graphic design and so on. For most of those notebooks, I have at least one sub notebook, usually more. I keep things organized by titles and location. So if I’m knitting a scarf, the pattern is prefixed, “Scarf” so all of the scarves are located together. But I have almost a hundred patterns in Evernote and almost 40 techniques. So was that scarf I’m working on called, “Lazy River” or “Spring Garden Scarf” or “Westlake?”
Viewing by date modified doesn’t help because I don’t modify the notes as many are PFD files. I only scroll through them. And if I move from my phone to my tablet to my computer to read the pattern, that pattern won’t be the most recently modified on each platform.
With note links, I can create a table of contents with links to the notes I want to get to quickly. Those important table of content notes are named with an exclamation point and a single or double dash, always putting them at the top of my note list when I view by title (that type A in me loves to alphabetize!). And if I want, I can create a note short cut on my phone or tablet to the “current project” note to make it a snap to jump to which ever pattern I need.
I had for a while included photos of each finished project in the same note as the pattern, to keep them connected. But that was clunky if I wanted to include a photo of the yarn label or had multiple projects from the same pattern. So I created a new notebook of finished projects, one note for each project. In the note, I include information about when I knit the item, who it was for, what yarn I used and any notes on what I may have changed for that particular project. I also include photos of the items and a scan of the yarn label (for project care and to remember what I used and when). Then I include a link to the pattern I used. On the pattern, I include a note link to every project I have created using that pattern.
Then I wondered about using note links in other ways. I was working on my Master’s thesis this spring and used a lot of reference books. Instead of spending 10 cents for every photocopy of each citation I wanted to use, I snapped an image of the quote I wanted to use and copyright page for each citation. I created a new note for each reference book with all of the quotes and then highlighted them using Skitch. There were a lot of books I cited though, as well as my other thesis notes. So I created a table of contents of each note in that notebook. While I was writing my paper, it was so easy to jump back and forth from my notes to the photos.
Recently, I started using note links at work. I’m a graphic designer and I design for several departments with two people supervising the different jobs. I’ve convinced my supervisors to start using shared notebooks. Each supervisor will fill in a blank note with information for that particular design. Each job note also has space for me to keep track of my notes and proof dates. I created a master note with a note link for each job (divided by department). On this main note, I keep track of the basic status of the job (waiting for copy, out for proof, in process). Since I have a premium account, each supervisor has editing permissions so they can go in and out of the notes in this folder to edit. This has done wonders for everyone in the department knowing what work I have and the status of each job. I also copy the final PDF or art file for each job as it’s approved and move it to a different folder. This gives me access to the most recent version as well as giving me a high quality version for my portfolio.
By using Evernote for my knitting—and finding the best way to organize the notes to be as useful as possible for crafting on the go—I have been able to find the best ways to use Evernote in my life.