on notes and notebooks

This morning I read Take Care of Your Little Notebook, an article on NYRB. Clara Parkes tweeted about it and I’ve been mulling over it all day.

I will not deny that I struggle to take advantage of all the digital tools now available. I keep a small notebook with me at all times and scribble daily notes in it. But I live a hybrid digital analog life. For many, given one hat I wear, that might not make sense. But it does.

Simic wrote:

No question, one can use a smart phone as an aid to memory, and I do use one myself for that purpose. But I don’t find them a congenial repository for anything more complicated than reminding myself to pick up a pair of pants from the cleaners or make an appointment with the cat doctor.

I use Evernote for those notes that are already electronic. Notes on web pages I want to return to and snippets of code I want to reuse. I use RTM sometimes to keep track of todo items. We all know that I am an avid user of Ravelry to track my various projects and my stash and I queue patterns I might someday want to knit. When I first started knitting seriously I kept a notebook and pasted in ball bands and sewed in swatches. Then I stopped because Ravelry came into being. I let flickr and Rav be my notebook. Something was missing.

Remember this past January when I took my first knitting class with Meg Swansen and Amy Detjen? Meg mentioned how they were combing through her mother’s notebooks to put together Knit One Knit All. It hit me. I realized that while Rav was serving a great purpose I was missing quite a bit by not keeping a record in a manner which worked best for me. Years from now will I really care what that sweater looked like? No. I will most likely want to know the process I took to get there. The next day I cracked open another moleskine and started my knitting journal. I think it was what I needed to go from being just a knitter to a Knitter. I’ve seen my knitting improve by leaps and bounds this year. Things I didn’t really care about, even though I knew were important in design, I’m now quite picky about. I will rip and reknit things I used to let slide. I finally bought blocking wires so blocking isn’t such a royal pain in the arse. My knitting confidence has exploded. I have several design proposals out in the world and have knitted a few here and there. There are more good things happening and when I can divulge them, I will. So I leave you, not just with a link to some of the notebooks I’ve filled over the years but with a glimpse inside this year’s knitting notebook.

Do you keep a notebook? What do you write in it?

7 thoughts on “on notes and notebooks

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  2. Yvonne Root

    Penny,

    Your notebooks are simply priceless! I love what you have done and what you are creating.

    Your description of your thought process is very enlightening. I will pass on this post to my daughter who crochets and is teaching herself to knit. I do neither but appreciate both.

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  6. Teri Pittman

    Notebooks are incredibly useful. I still have design ideas I worked up back in the 80s (and some of them I still like!) I don’t think digital works well for everything. Have you heard of the Commonplace book? It’s basically a scrapbook, full of pictures and whatever inspires you. Those can be really helpful when designing.

    I’ve been using Moleskines for a long time, but have fallen for Field Notes lately. I think I’m going to work up a small notebook with some basic designs and stitches, just to tuck in with my knitting.

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