How to organize your yarn

Every knitter has this problem – more yarn than they could knit in a lifetime. We can’t help it. We all know what it’s like to wander into our favorite yarn store, caress all those beautiful skeins until, finally, we find one that just has to come home with us. Do we have a pattern? No. Do we have any idea when or how we’ll use it? No. Do we just have to have it? YES!

When we get home we realize we have once again made, if not a mistake, then a not too well thought out decision because there is yarn everywhere. On the end tables, the bookshelves, hidden in closets and under beds. When we finally do want to knit a specific pattern do we ever use the yarn we have stashed around the house? No. Why? Because we don’t know what or how much we have. So what do we do? That’s right – buy more yarn! It’s a vicious circle. But with a little bit of brainstorming and determination, the yarn stash can be tamed.

First –

Pull out all your yarn, horrifying though that might be. Find all the oddballs and half skeins. Open all those yarn store bags that you don’t even remember buying. Get odds and ends out of your various knitting bags and work areas. Lay everything out on a bed or clean rug and take stock. If you are really ambitious, now would be the time to take an inventory and write it all down.

Second –

Scout out good possible sites for storage. Think about where and how you work. Do you have a knitting/crafts room or den? Do you have an extra bedroom with available closet or bureau space? Is there extra furniture stored in your attic or cellar from a child’s room say that might work for storage but needs to be emptied or refinished?

Third-

Evaluate your stash – how much yarn do you really have? Once you see it all together one of two things will happen. You will sigh with relief when you realize that everything may fit into one plastic crate. Or, you will be horrified to see that you could start your own yarn shop. Whatever your reaction – once you recover match up your yarn mass with what you found while scouting through your house.

Fourth-

Now you need to be creative with your storage ideas.

If you are lucky enough to have your own room for your crafts you can think big. A bookshelf or etagere can be a great place for storing yarns. Everything can be sorted by color and fiber content and put out where you can see it while planning projects. Check your local papers for store closings, many times small stores will sell their fixtures. An old glass-fronted lawyer’s bookcase can not only be storage but a colorful addition to a den or guest room once it’s filled with skeins of yarn in a rainbow of colors. By placing tabletop or door on stacks of sturdy crates you can create storage for your yarn and a worktable at the same time. Put up some brackets for shelves and fill them with your yarn and pattern books then use small candle baskets hanging from them to hold your needles.

When your space is limited or you want to hide your embarrassing wealth of fiber look to closets or bureaus in guest rooms. Yarn can be stored in plastic grocery bags and hung on hangers in a closet. You can store an amazing amount of yarn this way by alternating the bags from side to side on the hangers and be recycling at the same time. You can sort the yarn into the bags by color or by the project. Stacking plastic bins, like the ones used in the kitchen for potatoes, can be stacked in the bottom of a closet allowing you to see what you have in there and allowing you to use the closet for clothing at the same time An old bureau can be utilized for storage with smaller scraps in the upper, usually smaller, drawers and the full skeins in the larger ones.

If you really have no other space except your basement or under your bed simply invest in some plastic containers. Try to get clear ones that allow you to see what you have. Then stack them up or push them out of sight.

Fifth-

Now that your stash is organized – use it and start knitting!

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