Monday, March 31, 2014

Archiving and recording

This post has been sitting in draft format for a while.  I won't say exactly how long, but it's been a while.

I have a compulsion to organize and archive things. (There are more than a few of you out there that will relate to this)  It's always there, simmering just below the surface, but in the last few years, it's taken on greater importance. When my husband's dearly beloved 99 year old grandmother passed away a while back, my MIL and I pulled together many family photos from a variety of sources for her viewing and funeral. So many of them were unmarked and unlabeled.  Luckily, my MIL is very good with names and faces, so we were able to identify most of the people in the photos. (My FIL has been struggling to identify the photos he inherited in boxes from his parents, and having a bit harder of a time with it.)  It got me thinking about family history being lost in bits and pieces along the way, and I felt a need to do what I could to preserve it.

I keep fairly meticulous records of my own photos, especially digital ones. Everything's labeled and organized in my own files, as well as in the online digital albums I upload. Prints are marked with the date, location and participants when possible so that in 50 years, my son isn't wondering who is smiling down at his cute baby face in a photograph.

I've been borrowing old photos from my ILs and scanning them in as high resolution TIFF files for preservation, touch up and reprinting, and burning the files to CD as well as uploading them online. I've been making sure to have my ILs identify as many people as they can as well.  And we've also been printing and framing some of these photos so that they become part of our daily lives, and more importantly, part of our son's daily life.  We are lucky to have wedding photos of my husband's maternal grandparents and my maternal grandparents.  Both couples were married during the Depression, and the photos are a treasure.  We also have a variety of framed photos of the important people in our lives hanging on our walls so that in some small way, they are always with us.

In the spirit of this archiving and organizing, I've been combing through my own needlework photos, making sure I have designers, pattern names, dates, etc. We have photos of almost every single piece we've ever stitched and it's not entirely impossible to remember the basic details just by looking at the photos. I've had long stretches where I've only finished a piece or two, and my husband tends to take on major projects that take a year or more to complete, so I'm not looking at hundreds of pieces. But I have noticed that my pre-blog record keeping has been spotty. I didn't pay as much attention to designers or fabric or threads or things of that nature as I do now.  However, most of my pre-blog stitching came from kits, so it's not hard to track that information down.  I store everything, including the leftover kit threads, in plastic page protectors in 3-ring binders.  My charts are divided between binders and underbed storage boxes, usually by likelihood that I will stitch it again.  (I do have several charts I've stitched more than once with variations, usually smaller ones for birth records).  Once I started blogging and participating in the stitching community, I started branching out, experimenting and modifying charts for my own needs, changing colors, fabrics, etc.  Having that record in my blog posts has been helpful.

Anyway, I have instituted a way of identifying stitched pieces, at least the framed ones, and providing a bit of archival information down the road. I've started making up labels and sticking them on the back of the frame.

For gifts, this is in addition to a handwritten note. If the backing is black or another dark color, I write a short note to the recipient with a gold or silver scrapbooking marker. And if it's a paper backed piece, I write a note on a sticker and attach it to the back of the piece.  (And if you'd like to see the front of this particular piece, it's here)

What do you do to archive and record your stitching and/or crafting for yourself?  Do you keep a blog or journal?  Photos?  Do you prefer handwritten or digital records?  Do you do anything special to sign your work?


Vickie said...

I keep track of it all on my blog. I have the charts that have been stitched in folders according to date stitched.

Bev said...

You seem a very organised lady, it's something I think about but never get around to!! x

Robin said...

I keep a written journal plus take a picture of the completed piece. During the early 2000's, I scrapbooked by finished projects.

Robin in Virginia

Michele said...

please come and organize me! I try, but don't seem to really commit to it all

Meari said...

I do the same thing with photographs and my framed stitching. I also document each stitched piece with a photograph that has all the pertinent information.

C in DC said...

As an archivist, I'll add that you should include your information on the back, too. "Stitched by Sweet Pea; Framed by Mr. Sweet Pea". Your initials on the front are not enough.