How do you manage your electronic archives? I have boxes of photo albums and travel scrapbooks from the good ol’ days of paper, but I risk loosing my electronic archives everytime I change computer. I simply don’t have any sensible system. As I left my current laptop at the office, I dug out the old one (literally from under the sofa…) and found old photos. Including of quilts.  My first-ever quilt, made before I had worked out they might need binding:

This was made in 2009 for a friend who had lent us a Moses basket for our first child. After we had Baby 2, we returned it, as they had baby 3 on the way! I was dead chuffed to find this photo again. This was really scraps, from a Liberty shirt, bits of fabric from my mother’s clothes sewing and so on, but cut out using a cardboard invented square template, with scissors. It was only after making this that I discovered, no doubt to the eternal peril of my immortal soul, the world of online tutorials…

Oh to think that our children fit in this, with space to spare all around! To record this passing of time, and do something with the mountain of clothes that were too stained to pass on or keep, I then made another little quilt, again improvising the technique. I bravely walked into a quilt shop in the centre of Geneva to buy some batting, only to be met with the most unfriendly of shop owners. Although it no doubt was sad for her, and for the quilting community, when the shop shut the following year, I cannot help thinking that her total lack of enthusiasm for a potential new client might have been part of the problem. Or perhaps, to be rather more charitable, she just had really bad toothache that day? When my beloved shop in Nyon shut this autumn I was much more charitable — but the welcome there, and the kind advice given to a novice, was a real understated delight.

After some chopping it became this little pink creation, too small to be useful in any way, but a fun memento both of my daughter’s early months and my quilting learning curve. I could have pretended that the squares were ‘fussy cut’, had I known the term at the time, but really it was just a question of working around the remaining splodges of banana, rice cereal and yellow baby dribble…

I realise on seeing this that it was also my last ‘metric’ quilt, and these were 10cm squares. After that, I bought an inch cutting board and ruler and moved to imperial measurements. It’s odd, because inches never really made sense to me, and still don’t, and I use them in a quasi-decimal system, unsure of what a yard or a foot are in inches. It would be easy to find out, but I seem never to have bothered.

So, other than pasting them here, how should I conserve unprinted photos? I have a hard drive somewhere, maybe under another sofa, but this is probably only a matter of prolonging the soon-to-be obsolescence of my archive. And anyway, aren’t the quilts themselves the archive, wherever they may now be? As to photos of the children, perhaps their changing smiles and bodies are also an archive of sorts, with increasingly secret memories making them into their own people? And as they grow, and I pick up their soon-to-be-too-small clothes, I am reminded of Miss R who, when I told her a pair of trousers looked too small said “Oh please don’t make them into a quilt this time”.  Oh dear, rebellion is starting…

Happy sewing! JJ

About pragmaticpatchwork

Academic and quilter
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3 Responses to Archives

  1. Elita says:

    Another option is to have everything burned on a CD as a “hard-copy” version. This does require a good bit of time & the notion to remember to do it regularly. I change too much & I know I have to trust The Cloud to keep my stuff safe or else do the work to put it on disks. I’ve got quilts to finish, Woman! No time for such drudgery as manual backups! LOL

  2. Elita says:

    I’ve started using a wonderful free online system called “DropBox”. It is lovely because I can have all my files in ONE place and can access them from anywhere I have internet access. A bit like Flickr but for all files. Because I am often working from both home & work, or elsewhere, on different computers, I want to ensure that I have the most current file. This is true whether I’m working on a document or my latest quilt challenge. It also keeps my photos safe from me dropping my computer & potentially rendering my harddrive a useless, inaccessible brick (ask me how I know this can happen). You get loads of storage room for free and can upgrade with small fees to keep more stuff but so far, I haven’t run out of room. And I have a lot of photos. So all good news for the moment.

    • Hello Elita! Yes, I use it too for work purposes, and as a backup system too. But I never really thought of putting personal things in there. Maybe I should? But I don’t think I’d trust my personal precious things to a server that could disappear overnight. But maybe I am just paranoid… Thanks for the idea! X JJ

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