Friday, June 17, 2016

A Paperless Sewing Room?

Is it possible to have a paperless sewing room?

With so many patterns available as PDF downloads, including the avalanche of e-books, is it possible (or desirable) to have a sewing room without a bookshelf?

When I moved to NYC from Boston in September 2014 I spent an afternoon prior to the move scanning in about 25 or 30 paper patterns I'd clipped from magazines and had stored in a messy, overflowing binder. And breathed a huge sigh of relief, because who really needs big messy binders? Not I. And then I got to recycle a bunch of stuff and feel virtuous.

Now I'm moving again, to New Jersey, and I'm going through this process once more except now I'm scanning paper patterns that come in those plastic envelopes. I've been able to get rid of about 1/3 of them; some of them have large pattern pieces that don't fit an 8 1/2 by 11 page, and some embroidery patterns are worth keeping in paper form (in my opinion) but honestly a 1/3 reduction doesn't even seem like it's worth the effort.

And then there are the books. I have a fairly large collection of quilting books, covering subjects like embroidery, applique and various styles of quilting. I also have a few coffee-table books for inspiration and perusing. The coffee-table books aren't going anywhere, but how essential are the rest?

I have a couple of quilt books in e-form; I think for paper piecing especially, e-books are almost a necessity. So much easier to print out the pattern pieces I need, with same distortion, than to cart books a photocopier or (God help me) trace them by hand.) So much easier and more practical. Nowadays I just won't buy a paper pattern if we're talking about paper/foundation piecing. You?

So this leads me to wonder if I should invest in e-copies of some of my more traditional quilting books. I don't need the full size copies to refer to as I sew; my Kobo tablet reader is fine, and at under $20 a volume I could replace one book a month, buy new copies electronically and use the shelf space for something else.

What do you think? What are the pros and cons of e- versus paper books when it comes to sewing?

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