After our knitting organization chat last week, I was ready to tackle my yarn stash over the weekend. I have to say that I was dreading the process, though! So many decisions to make and categorizing the yarn by type seemed a little overwhelming. But, I started pulling all of the balls and skeins off of the shelf, emptied baskets and made a big mess that I would be forced to deal with. Sometimes that’s how I have to coax myself into organizing – force the issue.
Of course, the kitties loved it. They took turns laying among the mess, finding sunny spots and loose strands of yarn to play with.
The first thing I had to do was start a bag of yarns to donate. I’ve bought a lot of yarn over the past year, mostly to test out what I like. I also bought some yarn without any real plan for how I’ll use it. I just liked the color or texture, but as I do more knitting and crochet, I’m refining what I like to work with. I think the process will continue for years, but I’m slowly learning.
Any yarns that I think I’ll pass over in favor of yarns I like I better ended up in the donate bags. If there’s always something I like more, will I really use it? Probably not. I think a big part of purging and organizing is taking a realistic look at myself and how I operate. I was trying to really pay attention to that and not talk myself into keeping a yarn simply because it’s pretty or because I already spent money on it. I can donate it and let someone use it for a project instead of letting it take up space on my shelf.
I then divided the yarns I wanted to keep by weight and brand. I must admit that I stalled several times during this stage of the process. I would literally sit in a chair and just stare at the piles and the yarn I had yet to sort for a few solid minutes. It was an eye-opening process because it showed me how many skeins/balls/hanks I’ve purchased without any real idea of their best application. Would these be good for scarves, gloves, hats, or a sweater? I also have so many single skeins that I bought to make a swatch and see if I like it. And I forget why I bought four hanks of something else! Clearly for a project, but which one??
I had to admit that I had been disorganized in my yarn purchasing and this organizing process was going to help me keep track of what I have and be more intentional about what I buy in the future. And I have a lot of swatching to do! The good news is that I discovered I have a bunch of yarn for making Nordic mittens and wool socks, something I’m really excited about.
I also learned that I have tons and tons of one particular type of Yarn Bee cream cotton yarn. I started making a chunky granny square blanket and abandoned the project when I admitted to myself that I really wouldn’t love the end result! It would probably look cute, but it had so many holes in it that it wouldn’t be warm and comfy and it would be ridiculously heavy!
I was hesitant to get rid of all of this yarn, though, sensing that some good ideas would come out of it. I decided to keep it in a plastic bin to possibly use for a bauble garland, finger knitting, chunky tassels or pom-poms, and snowflakes for Christmas. It seems well-suited for those sorts of projects. If I don’t put it to use this coming Christmas, then I’ll donate it.
Once the yarn was sorted, I organized the shelf. I put the cotton/linen yarn I use for dishcloths, pot holders, and glass cozies together…
And I put all of the sock yarn in a little French market basket.
The rest was arranged by weight and type, and then color.
I tuck pieces of cedar and lavender sachets all through the yarn to protect them from bugs.
I think it’s visually prettier to have the yarn organized by color, but this is so much more practical! I can actually see how much I have of each weight, so it will be easier to plan projects and future purchases.
I also moved all of my embroidery stuff to the sewing room. I don’t need to have that out on this shelf, since I don’t do it as often. That gave me a bit more room.
I organized the bottom shelf while I was at it.
Now, it’s onto the rest of the studio! I’ve started cleaning out this cart and I’m hoping to empty it out altogether. I don’t need so many supplies sitting out all of the time. I just need the ones I use most and the rest can be neatly at the ready in a drawer.
I have a feeling I’m going to have a lot of supplies to sell or donate. I buy a lot of products to test them out. Sometimes they become a supply I used regularly, but there are a bunch that I never revisit. I’ll see what I have and, if I have enough good stuff, I’ll have a gently used art supply sale. If I do, they’re all professional-quality supplies in like-new condition and I’ll make the prices very inexpensive. Any interest?
Do any knitting/crochet experts have any advice to share on purchasing/organizing yarn? Some of you already shared your tricks on the post last week, but it’s always nice to get more tips!