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New Pal

14 Posts

Posted - 01/02/2010 :  10:33:11 AM  Show Profile Send cottonblossom a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I desperately need help in figuring out how to organize my yarn stash. Do I sort by yarn weight? Or by type of yarn? I have an old entertainment center in the room I can use for storage. It has the opening where the television is supposed to go and a glass door covering the shelves where the stereo components would go. It's a wonderful room for knitting and sewing. I also have my two embroidery sewing machines in there, too. They're on a 6-ft folding table that's on one wall. I also have a small 3-shelf bookcase for knitting books and magazines. I have plastic bins and plastic crates I can use.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Happy New Year's! Take care.

Gabber Extraordinaire

582 Posts

Posted - 01/02/2010 :  10:59:58 AM  Show Profile Send Consuelo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I tend to organize mine by color within weight. Then I have a separate spot for leftovers: anything less than a half skein or so. I do keep synthetics separate from wool. All my "major" storage is wool so the synthetics are stored wherever I can.

I live in a motorhome so it's not all in one place except for the wool. I built a small set of cubbies and bought boxes that fit the cubbies. I can store about 100 skeins this way - a total luxury in a motorhome. I have a lot of Lamb's Pride worsted, a sort of tall skein, and they stand up nicely in the boxes - I can see the colors quite readily this way. You could do the same for regular size skein with a shallower box. Look for boxes that have sides straight up and down, many plastic boxes are not this way and they waste a lot of space. I got mine at Michael's in the basket area.

I think your entertainment cabinet would work well - the boxes can lay on their side in the big opening, one stacked on top of the other... or add shelves to that area, might make it easier to get at things.

Hanks are a different story, harder to store neatly. I keep them in a suitcase stashed deep in the bowels of the motorhome until I'm ready to wind them up Once they are flat balls, then I can put them in a box, making stacks of the same color so I can see what's in the stack.

Best of luck

"Travel is fatal to prejudice" Mark Twain
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Permanent Resident

New Zealand
2969 Posts

Posted - 01/02/2010 :  1:45:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit KathyR's Homepage Send KathyR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Think about how the skeins are set out in your favourite LYS and try and do something similar at home. Usually yarn is organised by type (wool, alpaca, cotton, blends, etc), then weight, then colour within that - but that is entirely up to you.


If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.
My Blog (Roselea Fibres)
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Seriously Hooked

774 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2010 :  11:51:36 AM  Show Profile Send AuntyNin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The first thing to is think about how you go looking for things in your stash - do you look for color, fiber or yarn weight first? Using that as your first sorting criterion will help you get your yarns grouped in a way that makes sense to you, rather than establishing an artificial grouping that will hinder you instead of helping.

Since I tend to go to the stash knowing what weight of yarn I need, my yarns are grouped by weight for storage. There's a four-drawer dresser with one drawer crammed with laceweight, another packed with sock yarns, the third holding a bit of sport/dk, and the fourth nearly empty, as I seldom work with worsted weight yarn. This works for me, but for someone who looks for color first, it wouldn't be helpful at all.

Remember, your storage system doesn't have to make sense to anyone but you!


Everything happens for a reason, except possibly football. --- Terry Pratchett
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New Pal

4 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2010 :  03:28:24 AM  Show Profile  Visit Pischi's Homepage Send Pischi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I tend to sort by weight. I have all my lace weight, fingering weight in separate bins. Then I've kept sweater quantities together. My leftovers are also stored separately. I have wound the prettiest leftovers into balls and have then stored, bonbon fashion, in a tall pedestal jar with a lid so that its not only decorative but practical. The greatest boon to my fiber organization and oversight was taking pictures of what I owned and taking the time to put it into the Ravelry database. Not only do I have a record of what I own, I can virtually sort by color, yardage, or weight and import into Excel.
Happy sorting!

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Chatty Knitter

193 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2010 :  05:24:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit scarfitup's Homepage Send scarfitup a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Your ideas are indeed helpful to ME! I will look forward to returning to this thread (no pun intended) later to view ALL the responses. Because in spite of having had storage built in for my stash, it now seems to be out of control. Or perhaps it's me who's out of control! I've outgrown the built-ins in my studio and am spilling over into the storage bins I originally had used for stash.

I tend to sort by type and then color. Perhaps one of my resolutions for '10 should be to resolve the storage issue, stop buying yarn (I received some in the mail yesterday that is very disappointing - sigh!), and only even look for yarn if there is something specific I need!

So....thanks for getting me thinking!

Scarf It Up!
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New Pal

6 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2010 :  06:33:09 AM  Show Profile Send purlie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I keep my stash in those nice plastic bags that sheets/bedding are packaged in, they tend to stack well. I organize by color not weight and have one bag for the true oddballs. I find that the color organization works well for dreaming up projects. As a suggestion Knit One Below by Elise Duvekot and Styles by Sally Melville are great stashbusters, great ideas that don't scream handmade.
I like to make teddy bears, hand puppets and raggedy dolls for kids gifts which tend to use up those stray yarns. When knitting a baby sweater make a little knitted doll of the same fiber. It is a cute combo.
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New Pal

25 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2010 :  06:48:42 AM  Show Profile  Visit flickerknitter's Homepage Send flickerknitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
After using no system whatsoever for years, I began sorting by fiber type just last year. It has worked well and each time I go to look for yarn I give myself a pat on the back for even trying to organize!

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Carol Metzger
New Pal

27 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2010 :  06:50:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit Carol Metzger's Homepage  Send Carol Metzger a Yahoo! Message Send Carol Metzger a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have a LOT of yarn. I sort first by fiber, then by weight, then by color. I use large translucent stacking bins from The Container Store, and have what used to be a closet as a place to stack them.
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New Pal

8 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2010 :  07:25:50 AM  Show Profile Send lmarshal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I sort by fiber, then by weight, then even by brand sometimes. I keep everything in kitty litter buckets which can be stacked four high. One closet is the "hiding place" for all this. lkm
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Elaine in NJ
Gabber Extraordinaire

584 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2010 :  07:41:04 AM  Show Profile Send Elaine in NJ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I also have a lot of yarn, and I am very lucky to have a dedicated walk-in closet (a cedar closet, no less) to store it in. The closet was here when we moved in--destiny. I have hung sweater holders from the closet rods--each one has five or six large bins. I sort mostly by project, because most of my yarn purchases consist of a sweater's worth. So each bin holds a potential sweater. The yarn may be of any weight, fiber, or color (or mix of colors), but it's a sweater's worth. I may ultimately use it for something else, but that's how I organize it.

I have smaller amounts of yarn, intended for scarves and shawls, grouped together generally by weight. This yarn fills five or six bins. Sock yarn, sorted by color, occupies two bins--socks for me and socks for my husband and sons (the former has much more yarn). Leftovers are in shopping bags on the floor, sorted by weight, and odds and ends--larger amounts of leftovers, sale yarn intended for items for sale, good-quality freebies--are in plastic bins on the closet's upper shelf.

So I guess the answer to the original question is "I organize all different ways, because I use my yarn all different ways." See how you use or admire your yarn. You'll find your own way.

Life is too short to waste it on acrylic.
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New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2010 :  07:48:28 AM  Show Profile Send ddhockey a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hello all...

So interesting to read all the different ideas here - and the reasons behind why each idea works for the poster! To answer the organizational question...

i too have a good amount of yarn (she says quickly, looking around to make sure no one is looking over her shoulder) - i tend to use the clear tubs, with either the clear zipper bedding bags or 2 gallon zip bags inside to keep similar stash together. I've taken some scrapbooking paper and used a color code for the different weights - and left a "key" hanging on the wall for quick recognition. So, even if a particular yarn gets into the wrong bin, that little scrap of "orange" paper in with it tells me it is Worsted Weight.
I also try to organize subsets according to fiber within the larger weight classes, but over a year those get a little rifled through as i search for yarn for a particular project.

hope everyone has a happy new year of handcraft!
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Gabber Extraordinaire

510 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2010 :  07:59:00 AM  Show Profile  Visit stephcat's Homepage Send stephcat a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I tend to be more in the initially sort by weight then by color. (This makes sense to me b/c I generally go stash digging with a project in mind -- 'I want to knit socks' as opposed to thinking, 'I want to knit something blue'.)

I have 2 cedar chests that are my primary yarn storage containers.

I keep all my sock yarn (organized in large ziplock bags by color) on the left hand side of one chest. My shetland jumper weight/fingering weight yarn occupies the right hand side of the chest.

I have sweater quantities in the other chest.

I do have some yarn in a glass-fronted bookcase -- yarn that's from small producers/farms/mini mills.

It makes sense to me, I know how to find things :)

Any spillover/misc yarn is in ziplocks in a large basket.

StephCat on Ravelry!
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New Pal

47 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2010 :  08:53:25 AM  Show Profile  Visit knitonepurltoo's Homepage Send knitonepurltoo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm another in the "mostly sort by weight" camp, because I rarely browse my stash; I usually go in looking for a specific type of yarn for a type of project.

In addition to my plastic bins, though (which can be hard to get into on short notice when I want to start a project *right now*), I have a medium-sized decorative box with a lid (I think it came from a Christmas present a few years ago and was too nice to toss) which sits right on top. I use it for what I call my "quick-release" stash (the next pair of socks, a wound ball of yarn for swatching for a sweater) - it's also the "marination chamber" for projects which are hibernating. So I have some selection without having to root through/unpack my stash every time I want something new.

Knit One, Purl Too: A Knitlog
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New Pal

32 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2010 :  09:05:33 AM  Show Profile Send kcknitnut a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My stash has become an afghan for my Grandaughter. She picked out a pattern Years ago made with diamond squares. For that part I'll use Dk weight. The side trim will be completer with lengths of a new stitching I learned last month. It's ENTRELAC design. That's one that looks like weaving. That design will use sock yarn.

The part I like the most is color planning isn't necessary. Just pick up and KNIT

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Seriously Hooked

864 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2010 :  09:17:58 AM  Show Profile  Visit calicokitty6's Homepage Send calicokitty6 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi. I try to organize by weight, then by brand/vendor/dyer. I use clear bins so I can see what is in them. I store my fiber by using the same method. If I have more than a bin full from one person, then I try to organize by color.

=^..^= Debbie
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Seriously Hooked

878 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2010 :  09:54:08 AM  Show Profile Send metromaples a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There is the sock yarn bin. Where most of the sock yarn lives, but it seems it won't all fit?

The rest of yarn is separated like this:
Cotton vs. wool
Bigger project quantities vs. one-sie two-sies
Good stuff vs. not-so-good
Sock yarn leftovers

If any category overfills a bin, it get's divided based on one of the other categories.

-- Jeri
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New Pal

2 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2010 :  10:04:21 AM  Show Profile Send sealed4ever a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sounds like you have a great space and plenty of room (I live in a teensy apartment & have to take my sewing machine on & off the kitchen table.)

Personally, my stash isn't that gigantic, so I sort by fiber content & then if I have a lot of something I sub sort, like sock yarn, because that is single-purpose for me.

Have fun organizing!

Love Never Fails
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New Pal

40 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2010 :  10:22:28 AM  Show Profile Send materavis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I sort by natural or synthetic, then by weight,then by color. Odd balls and scraps are in their own bag, sorted only by natural or synthetic. A separate bag contains small balls for mending existing sweaters. Most important is the section of my cabinet that contains waiting projects. As I sort my stash, I often develop ideas for what to do with various batches of yarn. When that happens, I package it in a ziplock bag (They come in extra large at the hardware store.)with the pattern, so it's ready to go when I need a project quickly. I don't usually put the needles with it, as I have 2 sets of interchangeables (Boye Needlemaster and Knit Picks) and usually grab the whole set so I can swatch in different sizes first.
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New Pal

3 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2010 :  10:27:08 AM  Show Profile Send jmberube a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I just re-organized my stash by type of project - mittens, hats, scarves and shawls, socks, sweaters, charity, and wool left-overís that can potentially used for stranded knitting projects. Any left-over non-wool yarn goes into the charity bin which is donated to a local church that quilts and very small amounts of yarn are stored with my gift wrapping supplies. I used clear plastic containers that I purchased at COSTCO that stack on top of each other. For my sweater stash I needed two bins and I labeled them cool colors and warm vivid colors.This isn't a perfect system I have used sock yarn to knit a shawl. When I was going through my stash if I only had 50 grams of yarn then it went into the mitten bin instead of the scarf bin.

My rationale is that if I want to knit a pair of mittens that I just saw in a knitting magazine I can easily figure out what I have in my stash. I have a notebook in each bin with tried and true patterns. I also organized my supplies in plastic containers and labeled the outside of the container.

However, if yarn inspires the project you work on next this might not be the best way to organize your stash. You would be better off sorting by color.

Happy Organizing - you will feel wonderful once everything is organized
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Permanent Resident

1356 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2010 :  10:35:03 AM  Show Profile  Send jaymeKnits a Yahoo! Message Send jaymeKnits a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wow, I thought my stash was relatively large until I started reading this thread. There is no way I have enough to sort by manufacturer. I have an Ikea Expedit bookcase with 25 cubbyholes (each is 14" square) that holds almost all of my stash.

Bottom 2 rows (10 cubbyholes)is fabric, spinning fiber and one of knitting bags. One cubbyhole is sock yarn, 2 have canvas zippered sweater bags with full sweaters worth of yarn, another has all my hand spun, 2 have coned yarn, and one has odd balls and leftovers. I have one each for all my needles, all my spindles bobbins and other spinning stuff, one for sewing stuff and another for ribbon and buttons. I have one (overflowing now) with books and I hate to admit that 2 are full of UFOs(I have a plan for that) Across the top are more baskets with random things that I stuffed up there and need to be sorted and handled including all of the stuff I brought back from the KRR and a basket full of spindles and some samples for teaching.

Anything that doesn't fit in a cubbyhole (my swift and winder, sewing machine, blocking wires etc) is either on top or next to it.

It's sounds a lot more organized than it is and I hope to make it as organized as it sounds before this summer.

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