Wednesday, March 30, 2011
How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised? It seems like an easy to answer question at first, but in fact organisation exists on many levels. Maybe you are truly not organised at all, in which case I am personally daring you to try and photograph your stash in whatever locations you can find the individual skeins. However, if you are organised, blog about an aspect of that organisation process, whether that be a particularly neat and tidy knitting bag, a decorative display of your crochet hooks, your organised stash or your project and stash pages on Ravelry.
For as much of an organization nut as I am, my yarn wrangling is not nearly as organized as it could/should be. Most of my stash is stored in the office closet in bins: wool & wool blends, cotton & cotton blends, nice synthetics, less nice synthetics (I should just give that whole box away 'cause I'm never going to knit it up), and two small bins of fancy sock yarn. The super fancy sock yarn (Fresh From the Cauldron, Sunshine, Knitting Asylum, etc.) lives in a basket on display in the living room, so it can be admired as it waits its turn to be knit up. (I feel like this is a trick to get knitters worldwide to tell where their stash is, so that scores of yarn burglars can make a bunch of efficient hits in the upcoming weeks.) I go through my stash about once per year to see if that organization system still makes sense and remind myself of what I have. I'd love to add another level or two to the system (yarn weight, color, washability, etc.), but I can't quite figure out a good way to implement that without buying some new bins or shelving, and I'd rather spend any extra money I have on yarn.
If I haven't raved about it enough so far this week, another great organizational tool is Ravelry. I am not dedicated enough to have input my entire stash (although I do keep a mostly-up-to-date spreadsheet of my stash for insurance purposes), but I have input most of my hand-dyed yarns and essentially all of my projects. Since projects are linked to their source patterns (if a pattern was used) and component yarns, it is relatively easy to look up details after the fact, especially things like the care instructions for the yarn. I also try to note any modifications that I made or things I would do differently in the project notes section so I have a reference for later. I think that if it weren't for Rav I would have one of those wonderful project journals with a page for each project, a sample of the yarn used, etc., but it's so much more useful to keep everything online. I have whipped out my phone many a time in a yarn store to check on something or other. (And I am very impatiently awaiting the launch of the Rav mobile site.)
The one "analog" organizing tool I have is a binder filled with most of the labels of yarns I have used. Again they are organized by fiber content, and provide a reference for information like care instructions when the Rav database is incomplete (or, Heaven forbid, down!). The plastic sheets that store the labels are actually designed for baseball cards, but are conveniently the perfect size for yarn labels as well. This is a crummy webcam shot from awhile ago, but you can get the idea:
There are a few yarns I have used so often (and which have big labels instead of small tags) that they have their own separate baggies: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride & Cotton Fleece, Bernat Cotton Tots, and Caron Simply Soft.
So that's my organizational scheme. How do you keep your fiber crafting sorted?