knitting organization

by | Feb 24, 2021 | Artistic Endeavors, Yarn Crafts | 28 comments

Despite my early frustrations that involved a lot of unraveling, I am getting the hang of knitting and I am really enjoying it!  I find it’s a nice way to be productive while I’m watching TV in the evenings with Jeff and the boys.  (We’ve been watching through old seasons of Survivor together.)  After making several hats, I moved on to socks and I’m almost done with my first pair.  Their slouchy and imperfect, but they are passable socks and I’ve learned so much while working on them.  I’m also getting better at managing my tension and making my stitches neat and even.

knitting socks | organization | miss mustard seed

I have also gained a firsthand understanding of the need for sock darning.  These socks will have taken me about two weeks to make.  If one of them gets a hole, I’m going to mend it! These socks have so many hours of work in them and they are more valuable to me now.  I actually have an appreciation for knits in general.  I watched All Creatures Great & Small on Masterpiece and was in love with all of their knit sweaters and hats.  I wouldn’t mind having a whole wardrobe one day of custom knit pieces to wear.  I’m a very long way away from that point, but everyone starts somewhere with a hat or a scarf or a pair of socks.

Since we’ve been talking about organization this month, I thought I would share how I’m organizing my knitting stuff.

First of all, I have a lot of yarn organizing to do!  I’ve grown out of my little shelf space, but that likely just needs to be reworked.  I have my yarn arranged by color because it looks pretty, but I’m thinking I might want to arrange it by type of yarn, so it’s easier to see what I have for specific projects.  The whole world of yarn is still so overwhelming, but I’m drawn in and end up buying one or two balls of something without any real plans for what I’m going to make!  That is inefficient, so I need to be more disciplined and buy yarn to either test it out or buy enough for a specific project.  For now, I’ll just test these out on smaller projects to see what yarns I like and want to continue to work with.

basket of wool yarn | blue and white | miss mustard seed

I received a beautiful project tote as a gift from Dunn By Designs.  I’ve bought several pouches from her and she has sent me some as gifts as we’ve worked together over the years.

knitting organizing | miss mustard seed

It really is the perfect size for a small project and it has pockets around the inside to tuck in a notebook, pencil, scissors, needles, a tin of bulb pins, etc.

knitting project bag | miss mustard seed

knitting project bag | miss mustard seed

I set my working ball of yarn and project in another little bucket-style bag and I’ll pull that out when I’m knitting…

knitting project bag | miss mustard seed

knitting project bag | miss mustard seed

Susan also made me a pouch for my scissors, which is much better than the one I had made for myself!

grain sack scissors pouch | miss mustard seed

In the notebook, I’ve been writing down patterns (I find it’s easier for me if I “translate” the pattern for myself) and using it to keep track of ball bands and yarn samples…

knitting journal | miss mustard seed

Since I’m testing out which yarns I like for which projects, this will be a way for me to keep track of where I bought the yarn, how to care for something made from it, which needles/hooks to use, etc.

knitting journal | miss mustard seed

knitting journal | miss mustard seed

I’m keeping my knitted swatches on a binder ring along with tags to record what needles I used, the name of the yarn, etc.  I’m going to buy some little white tags for that purpose, but for no-spend February, I used some of my retail tags.

knitting organizing | swatches | miss mustard seed

I’ll also buy a few more binder rings (I found this one in the junk drawer while I was organizing), so I can have a ring for sock yarn, one for worsted-weight, etc.

knitting organizing | swatches | miss mustard seed

I think the swatches are pretty, so I keep them in a little ironstone bowl.

knitting organizing | swatches | miss mustard seed

In fact, I think so much about knitting is pretty…the yarn, the needles, the work itself.  It’s just beautiful and the photographer in me loves it.

knitting vanilla socks | miss mustard seed

For the socks, I’ve been using THIS TUTORIAL on making vanilla socks on DPNs (double-pointed needles.)  THIS is the yarn I’m using.  I would like to find a pattern that tightens around the arch and isn’t as slouchy in the leg, but these were a good place to start and they are nice socks for wearing around the house.  I will probably make another pair just to practice before I move on.

If you’re interested in knitting, HERE are some helpful resources for beginners.

28 Comments

  1. Margaret

    I’ve started knitting again after a gap of almost 25 years, and once I had the wool and needles sorted out I started going through my reference books (Elizabeth Zimmermann forevah!) and found the knitting journal I had kept in the 1980s when I was living in Northern Ireland. It’s very similar to yours, kept in my best Italic hand–I was also into calligraphy then–and it was so much fun to recall my early efforts, and to think that those babies I knitted for are pushing 40 now.
    Do for sure keep your record going. You will be glad,
    And a bonus: I found the back part full of Irish wildflowers I had dried.

    Reply
  2. Lisa P

    Mmmmm, very inspiring to think about organizing yarn and other knitting and crochet supplies. So far, I’ve got everything in a couple of large, pretty bags that I carry with me as I change locations (downstairs while watching a movie or in the living room while hiding from my noisy kids or upstairs at bedtime or in the car while waiting somewhere). But of course it’s silly to carry around more than what I’m working on at any one time. Need to designate a storage spot for everything that is easy to see, pretty enough to encourage me to keep going, but also out of the way. Hmmmm. Your photos spark ideas!

    Reply
    • Sandra

      A suggestion, instead of stapling, use double sided tape and no worries about snagging a finger on a staple

      Reply
  3. Brenda

    I have a great deal of crochet thread. I really struggle with storage options because they take up so much room! But like you I love the colors!

    Reply
  4. Patricia Winn

    I was happy to see your post on Knitting Organization, just what I’ve been struggling with! I love your project tote and the little bucket style bag inside it. How do you store your knitting needles? I bought a roll up case that holds straight and circular needles. It’s too bulky to roll nicely with the circular needles. I’m considering some plastic, zip-loc bags that are hole punched to keep in a binder for the circular needles. I think I spend as much time trying to stay organized as I do knitting. Any suggestions? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Patrice Kistenmacher

      For my non-interchangeable circulars, I use a photo album that has plastic sleeves, 2 to a page for a 4″x6″ photo. The individual sleeve has something like an index card in it, you can use as a label or to be able to put a needle on both sides. When I have the original container from the needle, I have used the (usually) cardstock paper that identifies the needle size & length, trimming it when necessary, to fit in the photo slot. These days, I mainly use interchangeables, but I hold onto my non’s, for emergencies, for a space needle, etc.

      Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      I store my straight needles in ironstone pitchers and crocks like a bouquet. I bought a roll-up case specifically made for circular needles and that keeps those nice and neat.

      Reply
  5. Shannon

    James Herriot is one of my all time favorite writers. The TV series with Christopher Timothy were so well done, I’ve yet to see the newer adaptation, I’ll add it to my list. I only learned to crochet last year just before lockdown (it was a life saver!) but want to learn to knit sometime also. I love the idea for the notebook will have to start that as well. Thanks for all the ideas and inspiration!

    Reply
  6. Heidi

    When I was first married I knitted everyone in the family a jumper/cardigan for Christmas. Took me all year. I still
    Have the Patterns. I also had a book i recorded progress in. This was essential for the Aran. Once I became more proficient I didn’t need to keep so many notes I could look at the pattern and see where I was. I also started to record on the back of the book who had borrowed needles as I kept losing pairs to neighbours, that was useful back in the day when my money was tight and I couldn’t afford to simply buy another pair. I don’t know of anyone who inputs anymore and I bought a whole box of needles at a boot fair a couple of years ago now. Treasure for sure. My latest project is a baby shawl in ready for when I become a G’ma

    Reply
  7. Cindy

    I get the sock darning thing. I have 6 pair of socks I knitted myself and if they get a hole I will learn to darn. I now also sew most of my clothes now from beautiful natural fibers and I appreciate them so much more.

    Reply
  8. Rita

    I’m sure buying yarn is like buying fabric. I see all this pretty fabric and can envision it in something but then it sits unused. I recently went through my fabric and got rid of a lot – donated to a local quilt guild, gave some to friends, and doing a destash on IG. Still have some to unload but at least what I have is organized by color since majority is cotton. Then I have a little specialty fabric separate. I like that bag. I have sewed several bags and organizers as gifts. Lots of good patterns out there for knitting.

    Reply
  9. Carswell

    I haven’t done any knitting in years but every time I see you mention it and show us all your pretty pictures I think about taking it up again. As you say, it is an excellent pastime when one is watching TV.

    I get doubly tempted every time I visit this site – purlsoho.com – which I do every once in a while as well. I think I’m working up to getting started on a project but I will have to get new needles and other accoutrements since I divested myself of them long ago.

    Reply
  10. Irene Kelly

    I just love all the colors you use. I am a blue lover also. My dear friend who is in her mid 90s now has knitted me many pairs of socks using Alpaca yarns. I cherish each pair since she us no longer knitting. I do not knit anymore either. I sew instead much easier for me. And I keep a book of fabric swatches and what Saks I give to each person as gifts.It keeps me more organized. Keep up the good work just love all your posts !

    Reply
  11. Addie

    No knitting for me but LOTS of crochet. Now that my son has moved out, I use his old room and dressers for all my supplies!!! I love that his vintage dresser has two small side by side drawers on top. It is great for hooks, needles and all the rest. Then!!!! All the drawers are filled with yarn!!!! He came for a visit, went to put his clothes away and from across the house I could hear, “Hey!!!!, What the heck is going on here!!! I can see you really missed me!!!”……
    well…. kinda!!!

    Reply
  12. mary m

    I have been knitting for about 35 years taught by a new zealand friend. Being left handed i had to learn right handed and in the continental fashion because i just couldn’t master the English way. Again i ended after all these years with too many orphaned yarns. I bit the bullet and went through and kept absolutely only what i love. A friend of mine crochets endless items for craft fairs and does not need a ton of skeins for her endless projects. I offered them to her and she jumped for joy. I also thinned out my too many patterns from the internet and gave away knitting books that i know i will never use again. The same thing for knitting needles. How many of the same size do you really need. Speaking of did you know that they found a pair of round knitting needles in Pompeii! I knit for the Christmas at
    Sea projects. Items go to merchant marines around the world. Their patterns are free and do not require tons of yarn. They told a story of the oldest “”watch hat” is in a museum in Wales and provide a pattern. It is from sixteen something. I too keep my current project in a separate bag.

    Reply
  13. Cheryl

    Love the knitting notebook. What a great way to go back and see what kind of yarn you use for different projects..I’ll have try that! Thanks…

    Reply
    • Tracy Jackson

      I so appreciate your organizing skills! I especially commend you for knitting swatches; it’s brilliant that you keep them. (I’ll be stealing that idea.) Knitting for me is like fishing is for my husband: I’m being productive while “doing nothing”. I can watch old movies (the dialogue is better) and knit at the same time.

      I’m a self-taught knitter but please allow me to recommend revered knitting icon Elizabeth Zimmerman, especially her video series/book Knitting Workshop. She completely changed knitting for me! If you can knit a sock, you can knit anything. With Elizabeth by my side, my first sweater –and third lifetime project–was a Fair Isle color-worked round yoke with a higher back made with short rows, a longer torso (all my height is there), and a moss stitch hem (because the last thing my hips need is a horizontal line). It came out close to perfect. Elizabeth will make you a knitting boss. I love that you are constantly learning and progressing; at 63 years old, I try to do the same.

      Reply
  14. Carolyn L Dietrich

    Bravo! Socks are the hardest thing to knit! I love your organization. Beautiful to look at while being practical.

    Reply
  15. Nancy Cox

    I love your blog. It is so inspiring. I have always wished I could paint, but could only draw stick people. I read your blogs daily and have loved your artwork. The other day my son sent me a morning text and said have a great day. Choose fun. I thought that was so cool. I went to Hobby Lobby and picked up a sketch book and a small book for beginners to draw farm animals. I have had so much fun. Thanks for the inspiration from you and my son. By the way, I am 70 years old.

    Reply
  16. Connie

    Do you ever look at Paige at Farmhouse Vanacular? She knits beautiful, bright colored sweaters & shares patterns & tips. She & her husband are both engineers who are redoing a Victorian farmhouse. She has a whole different color palette & style than you, but she is very clear & concise – something I would surely need if I tried to knitting again! You don’t need that level of help, obviously, but you might find her knitting patterns interesting!

    Reply
  17. Judy Karlson

    I’m not a knitter but have so enjoyed this post because the photography is so lovely!

    Reply
  18. Margot

    Love so many things about this post! Have already ordered one of the totes you have, admire your swatching (swatching my stash could take the rest of my life!).
    One of the best knitting organization tools I use is the Ravelry app. I’ve inventoried my yarn stash and needles in the app. The patterns I’ve purchased through the app are in my in-app library and I can add the ones I already own, too. They have a great search feature that lets you search patterns (new or your own) to fit the type and quantity of yarn you want to use. It’s kept me from spending money on duplicates and helped me find options to work down my stash. If I have a yarn I don’t want anymore I can sell it through the app also.
    Beyond that my yarn is in elfa drawers organized by stash, projects, and some by weight or type (such as baby yarn I’ve purchased for Project Linus items.) My straight needles are standing in an old Pringle’s can ModPodged with knitting gift wrap, circular needles are in labeled plastic bags standing up like file folders in a plastic CS box sorted by size and length. Patterns are on thumb drives, bookshelves and binders (especially designers I purchase often). Notions are in a Sew Together bag I made – love it! Everything is in one compact space.

    Reply
  19. Mary E

    A note on the acquisition of yarn, I too have so many skeins of one or two lonely skeins. I buy them strictly on impulse and then wonder what to do with them. I mean my family is completely outfitted with hats, scarves, cowls, mittens, socks etc. But I can’t stop buying, they are all so pretty. A piece of advice a knitting goddess gave me was if you’re at a yarn shop (like on vacation) and want to buy some, pick a fingering weight yarn. You can do socks, or even a shawl with fingering weight and is more versatile than say bulky or Aran. I’ve just finished a bunch of small projects and now I’m read for another sweater. I also vote wholeheartedly for Elizabeth Zimmerman.

    Reply
  20. Terry

    Love your notebook. I have kept notes but adding a piece of yarn and label brilliant. Swatches, so smart. I will do a certain crochet stitch for a project and think i will never forget it’s name but…. My mother (likely in the 1930’s) made a little hand stitched notebook out of muslin with embroidery stitches. Likely a school project. I cherish it so, maybe our notebooks will be enjoyed by future generations too.

    Reply
  21. monique

    Busy lady, knitting while watching a film! All creatures great and small was so wonderful, I also noticed what the characters wore. I miss the series so much now. Yorkshire is breath takingly beautiful, we have several friends who are from that part of the UK but live in France now, I do not understand why.
    I never knit, but have done some crochet a long time ago. When I was a girl in Europe, practically all women knitted, I still have some work my mom made. But since I love funny looking socks I want to prolong their life, and keep darning them more than once sometime, it is anachronic in our throw away world but it is a relaxing moment.
    Bravo for the pretty socks in lovely color, and the photos are great too.

    Reply
  22. Rosalind

    Hi I would like to send me your email

    Reply
  23. Elizabeth

    Marian:

    I am impressed! Good for you to be knitting socks so early in the game! And, on DPN’s no less. I didn’t try them until I had been knitting for years and then only did one sock because I ran in to Second Sock Syndrome! (Do I really need to make another one exactly the same?!) Some people solve that by knitting two at once on circular needles. BTW: love your yarn choices.

    Reply
  24. Laura

    Hi, there! I have been knitting for many years and wanted to let you know about the Ravelry website for knitters. It contains a wealth of information and is an easy way to keep a record of your projects and notes, yarn, and needles. There are millions of “Ravelers” from all over the world contributing patterns (many are free) and advice. There is no cost to join and you never receive spam nor is your personal information sold to others. I find it to be an invaluable resource and I just wanted to share this to you as a beginning knitter

    Reply

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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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