Friday, April 14, 2006

Propellor head

I love databases. I love being able to go to a database and find the information I'm looking for by typing in a work or phrase. If I want to organize information or script a process with lots of data, I turn to FileMaker, my database application of choice since its very beginnings in the early Macintosh days.

I guess that comes from 25 years in the computer industry. In retrospect, I also attribute it to my very organized father, though I didn't realize it at the time.

I mention this because I'm preparing to use the embroidery function of my machine for the first time and realized that my thread was all over the place. So I bought a Sulky case for my Sulky thread and found out I really need one and a half, but they don't make half cases, so a second one is on order. Or would I need more because there are other threads from other companies on the same type of spool? And what colors do I really have? And then there are the Madeira threads I seem to have accumulated, even when I wasn't sewing; what do I do with those and how many do I have?

That's where the small propellor starts spinning on my head. Did you know that Sulky actually provides an Excel spreadsheet of their threads with number and color? How cool is that for a database junkie like me? Through surfing and a little data manipulation, i found other lists of numbers and colors and now have a handy-dandy database with my embroidery threads. Of course normal people would just count the spools and look at their pretty collection of threads, but they don't have a small propellor on their head.

Some years ago I started a database to organize my sewing patterns and actually scanned in most of the envelopes. Yes, I could thumb through them in the file cabinet, but what's the fun in that? So i've resurrected the database (2 software versions later) and can now search for a garment, page through the pattern images, pick out a pattern and go to my organized cabinet to retrieve it.

And then there are all the knitting patterns I've downloaded or found that I like ( and are great for this). Do I really want to print them out? Not till I want to knit them. My little database has pictures and links to the original pattern online or the file that I can reference to decide if I have the yarn I have will really work.

Combining my fiberly endeavors and database goes way back. In the early days of the internet, on my website, I had a searchable database of the Threads magazine tables of content. It was only after Taunton Press finally posted their indexes and made them searchable that I retired the database; it had served its purpose well.

Okay enough of this internet stuff. There's knitting and sewing to be done.