So about that yarn storage conundrum …

So about that yarn storage conundrum ...

Back in June, when we were just on the brink of looking for a house, I brought up the question of yarn storage — as in, what’s the safest thing for the yarn as opposed to the prettiest method of display. This weekend, I got to unpack the ridiculous amounts of stuff that go into my lovely but small new workroom — aka the third bedroom in our new house. Or at least I made a big dent in it: I still have plenty to do — including one very large box of mishmash that has to somehow fit into this storage wall — and perhaps when it’s “done” I’ll do my own Our Tools, Ourselves interview, but meanwhile I wanted to follow up about the yarn.

It was my hope with that Q for You that you’d sort of give me permission to stop storing yarn in plastic bags and bins, but the opposite wound up being true. In organizing these shelves, I’ve got one narrow row (below the large patterns-and-tools shelf) that’s designated for sweater quantities and upcoming projects — things that are on the brink of being used. And all the rest of the yarn is (in theory) in those four plastic bins along the bottom shelf. Those bins are mostly single skeins, many of which I bought long ago before I really knew what I liked, so that’s a project right there. Then there’s still a lot of actual beloved yarn in that big basket, which will move into these bins once I’ve separated out the chaff. So I guess those plastic bins are staying. I’m trying to talk myself into taking the on-deck yarns — the ones on the about-to-be-used shelf — out of their ziplocs. It would look a million times nicer, and possibly also ensure they do get used up efficiently, since they’d be right there staring at me in all their splendor. But I just can’t bring myself to do it! Yet.

So far, my favorite part of all this is my WIP shelf — the row of four folding rice baskets and two Field Bags. (One early prototype and one from the launch batch coming Weds!) I’m aiming to limit myself to what fits in this shelf: roughly two larger/garment/knitting projects, two sewing projects, plus two smaller or partial knitting projects in the Field Bags. And the same goes for the fabric stash — what fits on this shelf is plenty! It’s like portion control for the craft room.

25 thoughts on “So about that yarn storage conundrum …

  1. Karen, I’d say a great start. Really, when you think about it…. I too love your rice baskets and field bags. Wonderfully organized.

    For me, 2015 has served as a way to begin putting my knitting life onto Ravelry and I too have far to go, but have made a massive amount of progress. At first the thought of adding all my stash was overwhelming so I put it off for a while. Now, I don’t know how I ever lived without it. I love just going there and seeing everything fit into their categories.

    I so love your blog so even though you had to take some time off to move, welcome back and keep writing. :) A good Monday to all.

  2. I also had this big amount of yarn from when I was a beginner and did not know what I liked. Last month I decided to be honest with myself, I was not going to knit anything with it. So I ended up giving the entire bag to Oxfam charity shop. and now I have space in the plastic bin (and in my mind) for the yarn that now I know I actually like.

  3. It looks wonderful and seems very logical! This really inspires me to go up stairs and get to work! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Pat
    Congrats on your new home, and all you’ve got done! I have my yarn in a beautiful little three chest of drawers. It has all the yarn I love, with projects planned. I still have some yarn in boxes I bought long ago, but my knitting projects and yarn taste have changed over the years. I’m in the process of sharing this yarn with other knitters or donating it to church knitting groups. No one mentions cats! I need project bags with zippers, and closed drawers. I love my cats and yarn, but have to keep them apart. It’s a big part of my yarn storage.

  5. This looks great! I love the way you organized your patterns. I need to do some serious organization….this is good inspiration!

  6. I once stored my stash in public in beautiful baskets…it was perfect eye candy! However, we had an infestation of moths that ate through more things than I can even begin to count…yarn, WIPs, clothing (only the expensive professional wool suits – mine and my husband’s -plus anything merino or cashmere). The results were huge Swiss cheese like holes all over the garments – no tiny little random holes for these moths! I spent days trying to repair over 30 sweaters in total – some more successfully than others. And when I saw huge holes in a lace shawl that I was knitting for a friend I could have cried – it was totally ruined beyond repair! After hiring the services of an exterminator 3 times, they are hopefully gone but the yarn has been placed in plastic bins by weight, and all of our woolens are now in a new walk-in cedar closet in our basement. I’m sharing this experience in the hopes of preventing the same thing happening to others. And no – we never saw these pests until it was far too late!

  7. While all my wool is visible on open shelves it’s safely zippered in large plastic bags. Even my yarn in baskets and the wool in queue to be knit are in plastic bags inside tote bags. Mothphobia! All my fleeces are washed before storage in fleece bags or sheets.

    The pictures of your new studio are magazine worthy! Isn’t it fun to arrange and then re-arrange all our stuff?!!

  8. This is a perfect storage wall, you have everything there. And I’m quite happy to see that your four plastic bins are larger than mine. Controlling and significantly reducing my stash is one of my key goals this year, so looking forward to see how you manage yours.

  9. Recently found half of an argyle vest, from a German pattern, unharmed, nicely packed in a plastic bag, in an old dresser. It survived decades!
    Is that your ball winder on the shelf? It’s beautiful!

  10. It looks beautiful! Are you starting to feel settled and like it is ‘home’ there?

    What is that amazing contraption with the hub? Is that your swift?

    I love space limits for things that could become unchecked. I’m pretty new to knitting and currently on a kick to use up those early single skeins before they become, as they say, deep stash. Hopefully the next hatalong will make a dent!

  11. I love this “look” – everything so visible and beautiful and full of possibility! And it also means you’re settling into your new home, so YAHOO! And its giving me some great ideas for storage options. Visibility is the bane of my storage issues. “Out of sight” and things quite literally disappear from my mind, so I’m constantly looking for ways to make my art supplies visible. In fact, I’ve created a rule that I’m not allowed to buy more yarn unless I’ve looked threw my stash. The yarns I want hanging outside of their plastic tubes for immediate use are ending up in plastic bags, especially after seeing a moth fly out of one of my wip yarn baskets! I almost had heart failure. (All was fine, in the long run – whew!)

  12. Karen, your room is awesome! I love the light, your open storage system, and baskets (I am still a basket freak!).

    Maureen is so correct about yarn storage. Maureen, if you come back to read again; I am so sorry to hear your heartbreaking news! Though my experience was not as devastating as yours, I had to learn the hard way, too.

    HEADS UP! Plastic bins and pillow cases (or some kind of wrap) is mandatory. If not for wool moths, then dust and spiders.

    Being a multiple-creative (design, sew, knit, weave, stained glass, sculpture, multiple artist), I learned that as long as it is organized and tidy, it is good with me. Even ugly boxes can be made beautiful with paper (wall paper is strong), paint, fabric… anything that suits your decor style.

    Since I am unable to have ‘visible’ storage any longer (living on the road, seeing our great nation), I keep a list of my yarn stash, complete with a snip, so I know exactly all the particulars (weight, yards per skein, wash-ability, etc). I also keep a list of WIP’s needles. It became very frustrating not to be able to find needles I was looking for. Yes, I am one of those with multiple projects going at the same time. No wonder it seems to take eternity to produce one piece!!!


    MJ, the SKEINdinavian

  13. I love your display. You could put projects to be knit on colorful (washed) pillowcases. Or make muslin bags with a plastic window.

    However, I agree with the comment about pests. Mine were mice! Unfortunately, I discovered that they were in part of my stash just before we were leaving on vacation, so I fretted about it the whole vacation. Fortunately for me, they preferred pure cotton yarn in dark colors…not the hand-dyed lace yarn.

  14. Storing yarn has been a huge topic of discussion in our household as well. I have a lovely studio, but it is in my barn. The studio is a finished space inside of our old dairy barn with lovely windows that open up onto the pasture overlooking the sheep. Sounds perfect right? Well, the only issue I have is that in the summer, when the windows are open, I get a lot of dust coming in off the paddock right behind the barn. I had a friend build a wall of shelving, but I still feel I need to keep the yarn in clear plastic to protect it from the dust, especially if it is in long storage mode. My goal is to have one little rack where I hang one skein of each of my yarns along with a knitted sample that is not under plastic. Then, I can walk over and feel it whenever I want and our farmstay guests can easily fondle it too as they shop.

    Your shelf looks quite inviting and very organized! I think I better go out to my barn now and make my shelving look like yours!

  15. I need to get my yarn and fabric stash out of drawers and closets and out in the open where I can see what I have and be inspired.

  16. I’m so jealous that you have a room all for crafting! I was supposed to have that in my new apartment, but that ended up not working out and now I just have a one-bedroom. I guess technically the whole place could be my craft room if I wanted it to be. :P

    I’m paranoid about bugs and always keep my yarn in plastic bags, even when inside plastic bins. Sometimes I’ll let new yarn sit out and look pretty for a few days, but then into a bag it goes for its safety.

  17. It still looks beautiful. I need to re-bag all of my yarn I guess! I took it out and put them into canvas type square totes that fit into a storage cube, and now I’m PARANOID because there is a lotta money invested in that stash! did you just use 2 gallon ziplocks?

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