(I'm stealing the photoblog today to do a post for my gild.)
Jill mentioned that working from a pattern book that doesn't lay flat is awkward, and I agree. Even books designed to lay flat are a nuisance because I have to stop working to lean over and read the next step in the pattern.
The way I solved the problem with both types is to use a cookbook stand.
It's sturdy, displays two pages at once and has a clear plastic front I can mark with a grease pencil so I know what I've finished and how much more I have to do. This comes in very handy when I have to leave my workspace for an extended period of time but don't want to put away the project.
Thinking outside the box and coming up with our own fixes is always better than relying on the shops to provide us with some high-priced widget. Like skein holders -- I hate the cheap plastic yarn barns the shops sell because they're made of cheap plastic and if you drop them or sit on them they crack. The new tupperware holders are like fifteen bucks a pop.
I save old containers, and this Godiva pretzel tin is exactly the right height and weight to hold a standard skein. I also use the lid to keep balled yarn from running away from me. When I'm finished for the day I put my hook in the tin with the skein so I don't have to look for that, close it with the top and park it on the PIP shelf.