|Organized Expressions: Software for All
3.5" Floppy Disks, for Windows
Retail $24.95, Available at a Discount
LNS Software publishes a variety of useful software programs for needleworkers, including quilters, to help them organize their stuff.
This doesn't mean that the software puts your fabric away for you in neat color-coded stacks, which is too bad. Then we'd really have a killer application! What it does do, though, is provide you a neatly tied up package in which to enter an inventory of all your quilt-related materials, including thread, fabric, batting, tools, stencils, patterns, magazines, books, your quilting friends and contacts, and even your quilts themselves.
The program provides you a series of screens from which to select the type of quilting asset you'd like to inventory. On each screen is a series of dropdown boxes from which to choose the item, the manufacturer, color if appropriate, and other attributes. You can enter the price you paid for the item and its location, as well as a description, or snide remarks about its condition! (As in: one Olfa cutting matt, 10 years old, fuzzy in the middle. Owner too cheap to buy a new one!)
There are separate inventory screens for thread, fabric, tools, patterns/books/magazines, classes taken, addresses (including e-mail and web information), and a quilt diary. The thread inventory page is impressive for the amount of information it contains about a wide variety of manufacturers' lines. You can inventory thread by virtually every manufacturer and the program will provide you the official color name and number, along with a description of the thread's qualities, including its colorfastness. There isn't quite as much information in the fabric inventory portion of the program, probably because fabric is a bit harder to characterize. But the major manufacturers and the basic fabric types are there, and you can add your own in accordance with your own stash.
If you're not the type to want to makes lists of the spools of thread that are scattered on tables and in drawers all over your sewing room (and why not?!), the class and quilt diaries may have more appeal. While you may think you'll never forget that baby quilt you slaved over to finish last week, in 10 years it will be a blur among the hundreds of others you've struggled with since. It will be nice to look back with satisfaction on a growing list of quilts and remember the occasions for which you made them. Likewise with classes -- you can recall which teachers you really liked (or really didn't!), and you can keep a convenient list of quilting contacts you've made at shows and guild meetings in your quilt travels. This would, in fact, be an excellent program for a guild to use to track its membership and its assets such as the guild library or stencil collection.
Once you have the data entered, you can view and sort your list on any field, and print out a report to study later at your leisure. My only gripe is that the program will print reports only on individual modules, and has no provision for a roll-up of all categories. Now that would be impressive! One notable omission from the tools category is the sewing machine. Perhaps other people don't have several old Singers hanging around in various states of disrepair like we do, but this is also easily repaired, as you can add any new category you wish to the program.
If you decide you don't like the way the program is laid out in any area, or if there are categories you don't find useful, you can modify the data fields until you have it exactly the way you want it.
This is a handy little program at a reasonable price to help you get control of your sewing life!
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