Happy Stitches

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Life used to be so simple April 23, 2011

Filed under: General Musings — happystitches @ 12:10

When I started writing patterns, they were numbered 1, 2, 3 etc. You get the idea. Then the patterns proliferated. Soon after, for sanity’s sake, it became necessary to segregate them into family groups: hats, mittens, socks, etc.

Thus, in this organic evolution, the good old Poinsettia Shawl, pattern #1, became pattern #401. The 400’s were all shawls and scarves.

That is still the system as it stands today. However, we are approaching our own personal millennium issue. (Remember when we wondered if the sky would fall at midnight?) For us it is more of a century thing, as the pattern I’m currently writing is #898, the Lighthouse Bag.

Should we just carry on as before, so that a new sock would be #3101?
But then files will line up strangely in the computer and be hard to sort. Not a Good Thing.

Or do we add a ‘0’ to all the patterns?  So, now good old #401 becomes #4001?
This would work but we’d have to revise every file and price list, and heaven only knows what it would do to the website!

Or, I could stop writing patterns, I suppose!
Assuming that I will live long enough to write a few more patterns, good suggestions towards solving this puzzle are welcome. Have you had to deal with this in your organisation? Does mayhem ensue?


14 Responses to “Life used to be so simple”

  1. DataGoddess Says:

    It would require renaming and be a PITA, but what I would suggest is putting letters on the front of the names (s-sock, ss-shawles & scarves, h-hats) and then the file names won’t risk overlap and you’ll never run out of numbers.

    Data management is a PITA no matter how you look at it!

  2. Anita Says:

    We accountants use a “Chart of Accounts” to organize out financial records and a very important attribute is room for growth. I had a loverly system with all of 6 digits available to slice, dice, and categorize, but the powers-that-be deemed that I should switch to a new system that uses 3 digit segments to do the job that used to use 6 digits. I am eagerly awaiting the howls from my counterparts when they run out of room. I’ve already expressed my misgivings and presentiments of doom.

    Being as you surely have a lot of designs ahead, it might be worthwhile to adopt a new system that allows you room to grow. I’d use 5 or 6 digits rather than 4 so that you will never have to do it again! In other words, I’d add 2 or 3 zeros rather than just 1 per your second idea.

  3. Cheryl Waters Says:

    Well, being a lawyer, I hate using digits for file names. When I save a pattern to my computer, I have instituted a similar system that I use for lawyering. I hate having to open files to see exactly what they are. First in the file name is the designer or company. Then the category. Then the name of the pattern. And if the company has given numbers to the file name, then the number. If I’m doing my own pattern at the end of it I put the date in yyyy.mm.dd. This way you don’t have all the Januarys falling together, or all the days of the months falling together. They will fall together by year, month, day. So my revisions are in date order and I know which is the most recent. Here are some examples for your patterns [Note I separate categories by periods and names by using caps and small letters. This makes the file name easy to read.]:

    By doing my files in this manner. I know immediately who the designer is, what type of pattern it is, and all the patterns are alphabetized.

    No matter what system you decide to go with and you want them in an organized fashion, it will definitely be renaming all your files. Yes, I agree with DataGodness it is a PITA no matter which system you go with. If sticking with numbers, I strongly suggest as Anita does and go with at least a 6 digit number. Better to have a numbering system that is much larger than you will ever use rather than having to rename files again. Believe me, I know from experience.

    • What an excellent system you have – thanks for your thoughts so neatly presented!

      • Cheryl Waters Says:

        There were several times over the last 17 years that I had to change file names. It was a pain before I found a method that really worked for me. Best of luck in whatever way you change your system. It needs to be one that works for you.

  4. Alicia Howard Says:

    Whatever you do … don’t stop designing!!! I’m with Anita, go with 6 digits and rename them all. If you need help, let me know!! Goodness knows, you’ve helped me enough.

  5. MerryKarma Says:

    I don’t envy you this job.

  6. Kris Says:

    Keep the numbers, add letters for the years! So all the scarves and shawls from 2001 and before would be 401A, the socks from 2011K…..would that work? Or some variation?

  7. Karen Frisa Says:

    If the 400’s are all shawls and scarves, and you’ve used up numbers 401-499, you could just pick the next open “hundred” (e.g. eleven-hundred, 1100) and number your next shawl or scarf 1101. Then 400’s are all shawls and scarves and 1100’s are also all shawls and scarves. It would save you from having to renumber your existing patterns; that’s tedious and error-prone.

  8. Diane Dininsky Says:

    In data modeling terms you have an Intelligent Key – meaning you have imbedded data (the type of pattern) in the identifier you use for that pattern. Human Nature, everyone is tempted to do it. The problems happen when the data changed (not the case here) or you need to restructure the key. Since you have to do something here I see two possibilities. The cleanest in SOME ways would be to add a field that is the pattern type. You would use it for sorting by type and the pattern number for sorting withing the type. You would not have to change any existing numbers – and could even keep the convention of repeating that value as the first digit in the pattern number. Another possibility that accomplishes the same thing (right now) is to change any sorting to sort on 2 things – first use the first position of the pattern number and secondly the remaining positions. In tech terms you are using a substring of the pattern number. This is probably the simpler answer to execute.

  9. Mairi Says:

    As a ‘quick and dirty’ fix, move to a decimal notation for newer patterns. Once you hit 99 in any family, stick in a decimal point and keep counting. So you’d get 498, 499, 4.100, 4.101, etc.

    The problem with this is that the so-called ‘natural sort order’ used for most filesystems will sort the 4.xxx numbers *before* the 4xx numbers. So your filesystem will see 4.100, 4.101, … , 401, 402, 403, … 499. That’s not ideal, but at least all the 4-series patterns would group together, the number sequence is otherwise intuitive, and you could continue indefinitely.

    You could update the old files to use the decimal notation when time permits, and you might even be able to sneak in updates to your files/website and pricelists/published info asynchronously – if it’s obvious that 4.01 (in a filename) is the same as 401 (in a pricelist), you wouldn’t have to do everything all at once.

  10. We use an 8 digit sku hecate that is what barcode label printer requires. We add a numerical prefix to each segment, 40000401 or 20000298 would continue your flow.

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